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Girls win to stay alive for first

Undefeated and in third place. That’s where the HRV soccer girls found themselves before Thursday’s home match with fourth-place Bend.

Still undefeated with three critical points in the tightly bunched Intermountain Conference standings. That’s where the Eagles stood after their 2-0 win at Westside.

“It’s nice to finally get three points against a top team,” said senior team captain Becca Meierbachtol, who scored both goals Thursday and another in Tuesday’s 3-3 tie with Redmond, raising her team-leading total to 11.

“All those ties have hurt us because Redmond was able to creep ahead of us into second place even though they’ve lost. We know it won’t be easy, but we need to concentrate on getting ‘threes’ the rest of the way,” she said.

Pending the outcome of Redmond’s Thursday match with last-place Crook County (results not available at press time), the Eagles (5-0-4) reclaimed second place behind Mountain View — a team they tied 1-1 on Sept. 28 and will host next Saturday at 1 p.m.

“We’re pretty confident we can beat them on our home field,” Meierbachtol said. “They didn’t show us that much down in Bend, and we should be able to score more at home.”

The other team the Eagles will have to get past if they are to enter the playoffs as the No. 1 seed is Summit (4-4-0, fifth place). HRV defeated the Storm 4-0 on Sept. 27, but by no means was it an “easy win.”

“That was one of those games that all of our shots were going in,” Meierbachtol said. “We couldn’t do any wrong that game, so I expect Summit to come in here with something to prove.”

Meierbachtol said that when the Eagles get their offense untracked, they can beat anyone in the IMC. But when their shooting is “unpredictable,” as it was in both games this week, they tend to get impatient.

“We need to focus on keeping our head down and staying composed,” she said. “Our attack is strong, we just need to stay consistent from game to game.”

Inconsistency played a role in Thursday’s win and Tuesday’s tie. Although the Eagles dominated play in both halves against Bend, close-range shots were drifting wide and sailing over the bar.

The play was more evenly matched against Redmond, but the Eagles still felt they should have secured the win.

“We weren’t really ourselves on Tuesday,” Meierbachtol said of the game in which the Eagles took a 3-2 lead into the final six minutes before conceding the equalizer. “They were a different team than we saw the first time, but we’ve come a long way, too. No one here was satisfied with the tie.”

Starting Tuesday at seventh-place Hermiston, Meierbachtol and the Eagles will try to finish out the season with only “threes” in an attempt to seize IMC supremacy.

“We’re not looking past anyone, but we believe we can win the rest of our games,” she said.

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Junior striker Acer Lopez scored two of the Eagles’ three goals in Tuesday’s tie at Redmond, raising her season total to nine.

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