BEND — While the HRV football and girls soccer teams solidified their hold on second place last weekend, the boys soccer team inched closer toward first place with road wins over Summit and Mountain View.
Matt Dallman, Alex Ponce and Corey Vandlac accounted for each of the Eagles’ goals in wins of 3-0 over Summit on Friday, and 2-1 over former league front-runner Mountain View on Saturday.
Vandlac scored one goal Friday and two on Saturday to raise his team-leading season total to 12. Meanwhile, HRV extended its win streak to four and put the pressure on first-place Redmond for the Intermountain Conference’s top playoff seed.
“This road trip was a big confidence-builder for us,” said Ponce, a junior midfielder/striker who notched his third goal of the season despite a foot injury he suffered against Redmond on Oct. 8.
“We probably should have beaten Mountain View on our home field, so we knew we needed to step it up even more down there. 2-0 would have sounded a lot better, but it was still a big win either way.”
Ponce and the Eagles felt they should have returned home with two shutouts, but Mountain View’s late freekick goal prevented HRV defense from posting its fourth goose egg of the season.
“We dominated them more on Saturday than we did on our home field,” said sophomore defender Jorge Hernandez. “They were unable to maintain possession, and had to rely on just two guys to get anything going.”
Those two guys, Cole McCool and Cam Sulkosky, couldn’t break down the HRV defense, and the Cougars had to settle for their second straight loss to fall out of the top two (Redmond defeated them 2-0 on Friday).
Mountain View dropped into third place and will now begin the playoffs on the road against the No. 2 team from the Metro Conference — likely Jesuit or Southridge, which are ranked one and three in the latest AP state poll.
Whichever of those two teams emerges on top will play a possible second-round game against the IMC’s No. 1 seed (assuming both teams advance).
If the season ended today, HRV would be the No. 2 seed and would start the playoffs at home on Nov. 2 against the No. 3 team from the Valley Conference, with no sign of the Metro Conference’s top two teams until the quarterfinals.
“Redmond had better not lose on purpose,” Ponce said. “We’re happy with No. 2.”
HRV played at Pendleton Tuesday and will finish the season at home Thursday against last place Crook County.