HOOD RIVER — The HRV boys soccer team got its first taste of playoff fever last weekend when two of the Intermountain Conference’s top teams rolled into town for back-to-back showdowns.
Summit and Mountain View made the long haul from Bend to face the Eagles at Westside Field, and after two hard-fought efforts, left with just one point between them. Although the Eagles’ offense wasn’t clicking on all cylinders, it still managed to outlast Summit 1-0 and earn a 1-1 draw with league favorite Mountain View.
“This is the first time we’ve done anything but win on our home field the past two years,” said senior midfielder Matt Dallman, who scored the game-winner versus Summit and assisted Corey Vandlac to put HRV ahead of Mountain View. “We’re a little frustrated because we know we could’ve played better.”
The Eagles (4-0-2) would have liked to have beaten the Cougars at home to create some breathing room in the standings before the two square off again Oct. 19.
“We were disappointed to let them score so late in the second half, especially since we were ahead for so long,” senior center back Andy Holmson said of Cole McCool’s equalizer at the 70-minute mark — only the third goal the Eagles have surrendered over the first six games. “Their attack was strong, but we’ll get ‘em next time.”
HRV dominated play for most of the second half, ripping an endless array of shots toward the Mountain View net. But, as has been the case the past two weeks, the Eagles had trouble sealing the deal.
“It was tough game today,” said senior striker Corey Vandlac, who followed up a difficult Friday game with a powerful go-ahead strike on Saturday — his sixth of the season. “We’ve had a bad streak of not finishing lately, and it’s starting to get a bit frustrating. But we also know that Mountain View was more skilled than some of the other teams, so we’ll take the tie.”
Vandlac and the Eagles were happy to have junior midfielder Alex Ponce back in the lineup Saturday after injuring his knee against Hermiston on Sept. 24. He said he didn’t expect to miss any more games and felt “90 percent” after Saturday’s outing.
“It’s good that he wasn’t out longer because our lineup is so much faster with him in there,” Dallman said.
Dallman, Ponce and the speedy Eagles will try to get the offense rolling again when they take to the field on Thursday at home versus Pendleton.