HRV girls remain undefeated

Cohen's two goals lift team to fourth straight win<BR>

The HRV girls soccer team's offense resembled the wind patterns Tuesday: Steady with an occasional gust.

But the Eagles were so busy blowing away the competition they didn't have time to worry about the weather, taking apart the Forest Grove Vikings 3-1 at Westside Elementary.

Junior Jazzy Cohen netted two goals, while fellow center midfielder Becca Meierbachtol converted a penalty kick to give HRV its fourth straight win in nonconference play.

The team's two offensive standouts again combined to control the middle of the field Thursday against Clackamas, but the Eagles weren't able to put the Cavaliers away, settling for a 1-1 tie.

"This team is really coming alive," Cohen said. "We're playing so well as a unit, and the offensive output is much better than last year."

Part of the reason for HRV's early-season success has been an extra year of maturity among the team leaders. Sweeper Elie Meierbachtol, center fullback Lisa Tedford and forward/defender Mickie Halliday have helped stabilize the middle of the field during the team's undefeated start.

"The play in the middle of the field has been really solid," coach Sue Farro said. "Communication is up and the players' individual skills are excellent. Controlling the middle of the field has been the main asset to this team so far."

The versatile Halliday moved up to forward for Tuesday's game, allowing Elie Meierbachtol to resume her natural position of defensive enforcer. She asserted her power with speed and consistent tackles, allowing Forest Grove very few scoring chances -- the lone goal coming on a wind-aided freekick.

But the Eagles took advantage of the wind on a few occasions as well. Cohen's first goal at the 15-minute mark of the first half also appeared to have something extra on it.

"I was waiting for someone to come up and guard me, but no one stepped up so I just shot it," she said. "I was kind of lucky, though. The wind might have helped it go in."

Despite Cohen's modest take on the goal, spectators saw something entirely different.

Tedford corralled the ball right side and touched it outside to defender Jody Gates, who found Cohen 30 yards from the goal. Cohen evaded two defenders and when no one else approached, she struck a towering shot from 25 yards that sailed over the goalie's outstretched arms.

The Eagles continued to press throughout the first half with smart passing and a barrage of shots by Lindsay Benjamin, Jaemi Milward and Anna Hidle, but the score remained 1-0 at half.

Not for long.

Just five minutes into the second half, defender Becki Flory sent a throw-in into the corner that bounced out to Cohen at the top of the box. She diced through the defense and sent a bullet into the left side netting from about 10 feet to make it 2-0.

The Eagles later earned a penalty kick after Becca Meierbachtol received a pass in her own end, dribbled through the entire Forest Grove team and was tripped in the box. She finished what she started with a rocket into the upper right to make it 3-0.

But the real story of the game was the determination and grit of Cohen. She ran from sideline to sideline, endline to endline all game, and consistently set up scoring opportunities with on-the-mark passes to the forwards.

"Jazzy leaves it all on the field," Farro said. "She's quick, has great ball skills and has been a good leader for our team."

HRV hopes to maintain its high level of tenacity when Mt. Hood Conference play begins Thursday at 2000 Oregon state champ, Centennial.

"They're really strong, but we're a very different team than they saw last year," Farro said. "We've come a long way and I think we can surprise them."

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