It wasn’t their finest effort of the season, but the HRV soccer girls still earned a shutout and guaranteed themselves the Intermountain Conference’s No. 2 playoff seed with a 5-0 win over Pendleton on Tuesday at Westside Field.
The Eagles’ seventh shutout of the season elevated their record to 8-0-5, and made it mathematically impossible for third-place Summit to catch them in the standings. The win also assured HRV of a first-round home playoff game on Nov. 2 against the Metro Conference’s No. 3 seed (still to be determined).
“We have a tendency to play down to our opponent,” said senior forward Ruby Brunk, who scored her first goal of the season. “The game was never in doubt, but we’ll need to play better to win in the playoffs.”
The unbeaten Eagles have one more game to prepare for the playoffs — Friday at sixth-place Crook County (results not available at press time) — and coach Sue Farro has the utmost confidence in her players.
“I know that when it’s on the line, we’ll rise to the occasion,” she said. “Mentally, the girls will be up to the challenge and I’m expecting we’ll play our best game of the year next Saturday.”
Much to Farro’s liking, all the players are on the same page.
“We want to go far this year,” senior sweeper Elie Meierbachtol said. “I think having a home game or two this year will really pump us up. We’ll be ready for sure.”
Senior midfielder Lindsay McClure agreed.
“We don’t really have a set goal, but with most of us being seniors, we want to end on a good note,” she said.
McClure has been coming on at just the right time, too, scoring in each of the past two games — one, a game-winner over Mountain View on Oct. 19.
“It’s been hard playing in the middle without Becca (Meierbactol) the past few games, but I’m feeling a lot more comfortable now,” she said.
McClure and junior Anna Hidle have been sharing the center midfield over the past two weeks in the absence of the team’s second leading scorer, Becca Meierbachtol, who is battling severe tendinitis in her right foot.
But, according to the senior team captain, it will take a lot to keep her out of action next Saturday.
“This is the best we’ve ever done as a program,” Meierbachtol said, “and I just want to do whatever I can to help us advance."