The high school soccer season is entering the final week of play, as Healdsburg boys and girls teams play out their respective North Bay League schedules.
Ladies competing on league pitch
The HHS varsity girls enter the last stretch of NBL play with a solid 2-6 record, fielding a good mix of 11 returning players on the roster. The varsity team features four seniors, one junior, eight sophomores and five freshmen.
“We’re a young team this year and our freshmen have helped us incredibly,” veteran coach Mark Hays said. “It will be fun to see how they do over the next few years.”
Returning to lead the team is Viola Santana, who missed several games due to injury before returning to score 11 goals in Healdsburg’s last two matches.
“She missed a few weeks but boy has she bounced back,” Hays noted. “She is definitely one of the best players I have coached at Healdsburg.”
Like most teams this spring, Healdsburg has had players involved in multiple sports. Pulling double duty for the Hounds are Ade Waterman and Krista Chelsey.
“This season has been incredibly challenging for the girls with all the COVID guidelines, and trying to fit in practices has been hard,” Hays said. “One of the nice things to happen was that we had two players (Karina Carrillo and Yanet Pacheco) score their first ever high school goals. We also had our first win over Piner in probably eight years. So all in all I have been happy with how we have played especially against the schools I feel we should be competing with,” he added.
The team has had great leadership from senior veterans Fiona Affronti, Koral Aquarian, Claire Conard and Emely Rosillo.
“They are all four-year starters for us,” Hays noted. “They were great at getting girls to come out and they were some of the most positive people I’ve ever been around. In every game they always played their hearts out. I will truly miss not having them around.”
Hounds fall to Wildcats
The varsity boys logged one game last week, dropping a hard-fought, 3-1 decision at Ukiah on May 19.
The teams played on even terms for most of the opening half, but the Wildcats would capitalize on a defensive breakdown by the Greyhounds to take a 2-0 lead.
“The game was even in the first half except for about three minutes, when we faltered,” Hounds coach Herbert Lemus reported. “Losing 2-0 at the half, I told the team that we needed to pressure Ukiah up high (their defensive third of the field) and move up our lines to stay compact to deny them space.”
The strategy worked, as Healdsburg applied constant pressure throughout the second half. Each team scored a goal after intermission en route to a 3-1 Ukiah victory.
The score wasn’t indicative of how well the team played,” Lemus said. “It goes to show you that if you falter and lose your concentration, the end result will be against you.”
The Hounds will close out the season this week with games at Analy (May 27, after press time) and at Maria Carrillo (Friday, May 30). Both games start at 7 p.m.