THE RACE IS ON That’s Josie Mork chasing the ball and Maddie Munselle behind her, among a galloping gang of girls at the Healdsburg-Santa Rosa soccer game on Feb. 6. (Photo by Michael Lucid)

The Healdsburg High School varsity boys soccer team made it into the first round of the North Coast Section divisional playoffs, overcoming an ending record of 2-4-2 in league play and an overall record of 5-10-2.

Coach Herbert Lemus said that the team made the playoffs based on their winning record against teams in Division 4 as well as the overall strength of schedule. “We play a lot of Division 2 schools,” he pointed out.

They came up short in the first game in the championship playoff, however, losing 5-1 to Lick-Wilmerding of San Francisco on Feb. 14.

Earlier in the month, the final two games in the season included a match with Analy, which finished first in the league with a 6-0-2 record. But one of those two ties came at the hands of Healdsburg on Feb. 7.

Analy had the lead 2-0 at the half, reported coach Lemus. “At the half we decided to press their defensive third to counter their style of play, and it paid off,” he said. “We managed to bring their team to their own half of the field, and we ended up tying the score.”

SENIOR NIGHT Surrounded by family, Ricardo Gomez (7) is recognized for his contribution to the Healdsburg varsity soccer team, Feb. 7, 2024.

Goals were scored by senior Ricardo Gomez from the penalty spot, with senior Edwin Vasquez tying the game after getting a pass from senior Beto Avalos.

All-league selections for both girls and boys soccer players will be announced the week of Feb. 20.

Girls Season

The Healdsburg girls soccer team had a similarly difficult schedule this year, ending with a 5-9-2 record overall, 2-8 in the league. But despite their winning 5-1-2 record against other Division 4 teams, their 2-8 league record put them low in the standing and they were not picked for the playoffs.

The last three games of the girls soccer season were all played in February, starting with a big Feb. 1 win over Elsie Allen, 7-0. Geraldine Nunez made two goals, with Maddie Munselle, Yanet Pacheco, Lucy Behrens, Julia Dolph and Jacqueline Threlfall all contributing as well. Kim Lopez and Liz Aleman split time tending goal for the shutout.

The girls team played the final two games of the season on their home field. On Feb. 6 they faced Santa Rosa for the second time this year in an exciting game that came down to the wire.

Santa Rosa took a 1-0 lead into the half, then Threlfall scored to tie. But two quick goals by Santa Rosa opened up a lead, though Munselle scored for Healdsburg to get the Hounds within one. At the end of time Santa Rosa had won, 3-2.

The last time senior varsity members Virjinia Onate, Yanet Pacheco and Yuridia Hernandez played together was Feb. 8 in the Senior Night game against Piner. Despite Julia Dolph scoring in the second half, the Hounds suffered a 7-1 loss.

“The Hounds just missed the playoffs,” said Peter Mork for the team, citing the team’s success in NCS Division IV. “Their only loss was to Cloverdale who they subsequently beat. St. Helena, who the Hounds played to a 2-2 draw in their first game of the season, got selected [instead].” St. Helena lost their first playoff game on Feb. 14 to University High of San Francisco.

Said girls soccer coach Tomas Morales, “It was a phenomenal season, and we narrowly missed the playoffs. I’m proud of all these players. The seniors will be missed, but with such a young team we can expect great things from this team for years to come.”

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Christian Kallen has called Healdsburg home for over 30 years. A former travel writer and web producer, he has worked with Microsoft, Yahoo, MSNBC and other media companies, usually in an editorial capacity. He started reporting locally in 2008, moving from Patch to the Sonoma Index-Tribune to the Kenwood Press before joining the Healdsburg Tribune in 2022.


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