The Hood River Valley girls soccer team has known all along that it belongs among the Intermountain Conference’s top four teams.
But after the Eagles tied three of five games — all in the closing seconds — people were starting to wonder.
Good thing they didn’t question themselves, because with three games remaining, the Eagles are right on the playoff doorstep.
“Tuesday’s win put our confidence through the roof,” senior midfielder Lisa Tedford said of HRV’s 4-1 win over Hermiston. “We finally played a complete game from start to finish, and now we need to finish strong.”
The only caution for Tedford and the Eagles is that Hermiston scored its goal in the game’s final minute — the same scenario that has haunted HRV over the past two weeks against Mountain View and Redmond.
“We just need to finish games,” Tedford said. “We need to be better in the last few minutes of the game so that we don’t give up any more points (in the standings).”
Heading into Friday’s game at fourth-place Summit (results not available at press time), the Eagles stood at 4-3-4 in the IMC. A win over the Storm would give HRV an identical 19 points, with two “gimme” games against Pendleton and Crook County next week.
The Eagles even have a ray of hope to move up to No. 3 in the standings, because the Storm must play first-place Bend again, and No. 3 Mountain View has played two more games than HRV.
If Mountain View lost to Redmond on Friday, they would finish their season with 20 points — just four more than HRV had heading into Friday’s game at Summit.
“We know we’re the better team,” Tedford said in reference to the Storm, which recently lost 2-0 to Hermiston. “They are definitely beatable, and we probably should have gotten a win against them at home.”
The Eagles staked themselves to a 3-0 halftime lead on Tuesday, with goals from Anna Hidle, Tedford and Emily Sager. Sophomore Kaitlin Bauld scored HRV’s fourth goal in the first minute of the second half to put the Eagles in complete control.
For a complete wrap-up of Friday’s game with Summit, see the Oct. 22 edition.