HOOD RIVER — A complete game would have been enough for HRV to get past North Salem on Saturday.
But instead, the Eagles found a way to completely dominate, as they moved comfortably past the first round of state with a
4-1 victory at Westside Field.
“This was a really good way for us to start the playoffs,” said senior midfielder Matt Dallman, who scored the Eagles’ first goal early in the first half.
“We moved the ball really well and took control of the midfield. That’s what we’ll need to advance further.”
Alex Ponce, Dereck Ponce and Jon Munk also scored on the afternoon, helping HRV secure a second-round ticket to face No. 8-ranked Lincoln (6:30 p.m. Tuesday, results not available at press time).
“Our work isn’t done,” coach Doug Beveridge told his players following the game. “Be happy with the win, but let’s keep in mind that this is just one game.”
Beveridge’s Eagles must consider that, while they were able to control the tempo from the outset on Saturday, the Vikings were still able to make it interesting.
After the Eagles took a 3-0 lead on Munk’s header midway through the second half, Vikings forward Jose Gonzalez dribbled the length of the field and rifled a blast past HRV goalkeeper Julio Loza to put North Salem within two.
“We started to hang our heads a bit after that goal, but it didn’t last,” Dallman said. “We weren’t going to let them win this game.”
Dominating midfield play by the Ponce brothers, Tony Diaz, Obed Garduño and Dallman made it difficult for the Vikings to mount much of a counterattack, while the stifling HRV defense made it impossible for the Vikings to find a rhythm.
Andy Holmson, Alvaro Lara, Joel Santillan and Arnulfo Santillan were a model of efficiency, sending away every ball that entered the area. Loza did the rest, covering up multiple close calls with the tips of his fingers.
“I’m just trying to do my part to help the team,” said Loza, a junior. “The past week has been really positive and everyone is focused on the same thing, which is to go further than we did last year.”
Last year, of course, was the Eagles’ best season ever, as they reached the state quarterfinals before bowing out 2-1 to Lakeridge.
“From here on out, it’s going to be a challenge,” Dallman said. “There are no easy games left. But if we can stay relaxed and play our game, we’re going to be right in there.”
First up is Lincoln, the No. 1 seed from the PIL. Loaded with experience, the Cardinals figure to give the Eagles quite a test as they seek a similar goal.
“We want to do as good or better than last year,” Beveridge said. “And since Lincoln knocked us out in 2000, it would be nice to return the favor.”
For a wrap-up of Tuesday’s game, see the Nov. 9 edition.
The Eagles had two players named to the Intermountain Conference first team and two more to the second team. Senior midfielders Matt Dallman and Dereck Ponce were first-teamers, and Corey VanDlac and Andy Holmson were named to the second team. Arnulfo Santillan, Joel Santillan, Jon Munk and Alex Ponce received honorable mention.