Four local teams were in action at the McKinleyville Invitational Soccer Tournament over the weekend, and if early signs are anything to go by it could be a very exciting season in boys soccer here on the North Coast.
In addition to the host school, Fortuna, Arcata, Eureka and Making Waves Academy were all on hand at the two-day tournament, with numerous thrilling matchups.
“It was the most competitive MIST in at least the five years I’ve been here,” McKinleyville head coach Ryne Deppe said.
And that’s good news for the local contingent of teams, which will benefit from the tough early competition as they each get set for league play in 10 days.
Making Waves, a small charter school out of Richmond, brought a high level of competition to the tournament, as the program gets set to make the leap to Division I in the North Coast Section this year, where many of the H-DNL teams reside.
“They were an incredibly good team,” Deppe said of the visitors. “And I’m sure one of us, whether it’s Fortuna, Eureka, Arcata, or ourselves, will see Making Waves in the NCS tournament at the end of the year.”
Friday’s action saw Arcata defeat McKinleyville 2-1 in a matchup with little separating the two teams, while Fortuna edged the Richmond school 1-0 in a thriller.
“Just an awesome game,” is how Deppe described the latter, with the Huskies scoring the decisive goal on a late penalty kick.
Later on Friday, Fortuna defeated Arcata 5-2, overcoming a 2-0 first-half deficit with a devastating second half display.
“Basically Fortuna came out in the second half with that championship mentality they have and kind of blew them away,” Deppe said.
Also on Friday evening, Making waves made plenty of noise with a 4-0 win over Eureka.
On Saturday, Making Waves closed out an impressive showing with a 1-0 win over McKinleyville, scoring the winning goal on a first-half free kick in a game that was evenly matched throughout.
Fortuna closed out an impressive showing at the tournament with a 2-0 win over Eureka, scoring a pair of late goals to break the deadlock.
The Huskies are now 4-0 on the young season.
In the final tournament game, Dustyn Heneke scored his first career hat trick to lead the host school to a 5-2 win over Eureka in another entertaining clash.
Caleb Coke added his second goal of the tournament and Christian Gajic also scored for the Panthers.
“Each team was in every single game they played, which was great,” Deppe said of the tournament. “All the way around, every game was great.”
As for his own team’s progress, Deppe likes what he’s seen from his players so far.
“I saw what I wanted to see from them,” he said. “We’ve still got heart and we play hard, and we’re going to continue that through the season.”
Cloverdale was also scheduled to compete at the tournament but was forced to withdraw at the last minute.
Ray Hamill writes at humboldtsports.com, where you can read lots more about sports in Humboldt County.