The excitement of the HRV fall sports season typically centers around the football team.
But football isn’t the only game in town anymore. The HRV boys and girls soccer programs have begun to make their mark on the state stage over the past couple years as well.
Both soccer teams will open their seasons Friday against Intermountain Conference bottom-feeder Crook County, with the boys playing at home and the girls traveling to Prineville.
And, while both teams appear much different on paper, the coaching staffs are excited about who they have coming back.
“We’re going to be strong up front and on defense this year,” said boys coach Doug Beveridge, who is returning for his third season with the Eagles.
“Sean (Rawson) and Alvaro (Lara) give us great stability in the middle of the defense, while Alex (Ponce) and Jorge (Hernandez) give us firepower up front.”
Beveridge’s team, which has reached the state quarterfinals in each of the past two seasons, is coping with the graduations of some of its best players, including Matt Dallman, Dereck Ponce, Andy Holmson and Corey VanDlac.
In their absence, the Eagles will turn to younger players such as sophomore Jesus Lara and junior Tony Diaz to keep them in the playoff hunt.
“The Redmond game next week will give us a good idea of how far we have to go,” Beveridge said. “They gave us trouble last year, and I expect them to be good again. But, just like us, they probably lost a couple guys, too.”
For the girls, fifth-year head coach Sue Farro welcomes back only four varsity players from one year ago. But she also has a quality group of sophomores and juniors moving up the ranks that should keep the Eagles in the playoff chase.
Returning starters Acer Lopez, Lisa Tedford and Anna Hidle will be looking for help from sophomore Jessica McMorran, juniors Katie Flory, Kristen Hedges and Rose Brunk, and sophomore Diana Hernandez.
Season previews for both HRV soccer teams will appear in the Sept. 6 edition. After opening the season on Friday, the teams will play in a jamboree Saturday at Aloha High School in Portland.