With nothing on the line except pride, the Hood River Valley girls soccer team continued to get the lead out against the league’s worst on Friday, defeating Crook County by a score of 7-0.
It was the Eagles’ second consecutive seven-goal victory, and while the players would prefer to continue on to the playoffs, the overriding feeling on the sidelines was one of joy and accomplishment.
“I feel like we played good soccer the entire season, and I’m really proud of our team,” said senior Anna Hidle, who scored a goal and recorded an assist in her final varsity game for HRV (6-4-4, fifth place in the IMC).
“In a way, we exceeded our expectations,” Hidle said. “No one really expected us to be going to the playoffs, but if we had gotten a couple breaks along the way, we would have been going. But we did our best, and we’re all happy with that,” she said.
Hidle’s senior teammates, Acer Lopez and Lisa Tedford, also had impressive showings, scoring two goals each in their final games for HRV. In addition, senior Courtney Smith played her final game for the Eagles, who will return eight starters in 2004.
“This experience was amazing for all the younger players,” said freshman Justine Bryant, who scored a second-half goal off an assist from Tedford. “Playing with the seniors taught the younger players a lot, and I think it will make us stronger next year.”
Bryant was one of three freshmen on the varsity roster this year, along with Jessica Ostler and Jill Chance. They were joined by six sophomores and four juniors — each of whom will play a vital role next season.
“There is a lot of talent on this team,” Hidle said. “This group has a lot of good things to come, and I’m definitely going to miss them.”
But while Hidle, Tedford and Lopez will miss coach Sue Farro and their teammates, they may be missed more than they even realize.
“The seniors kept it all together for us,” Bryant said. “They have all been on varsity for three years, and we learned so much from them. We will be a different team next year without them, but that’s how it is every year, I guess.”
Next year’s team will belong to current juniors Emily Sager, Kristen Hedges, Alicia Friend and Katie Flory, who scored her fourth goal in two games last Friday.
“These girls all play hard every game, and they are going to get back to the playoffs,” Hidle said.
“We didn’t always have the best luck this year, but it wasn’t because of a lack of soccer skills or team unity. We had lots of laughs, lots of smiles ... and unfortunately, lots of ties,” she said.