By BEN MCCARTY
News staff writer
October 25, 2006
Monday was senior day for the Hood River Valley Eagles girls’ soccer team. Before the game the seniors presented their parents with bouquets and balloons.
After the game the realization set in that they had played their final home game.
The Gresham Gophers scored two second-half goals for a 2-0 win that eliminated the Eagles from the playoff chase.
For most of the first half both teams battled around midfield, and neither could break through the opposition’s defense.
However, it was Gresham’s defense that held out the longest.
The Gophers did not allow the Eagles many scoring opportunities, and was constantly able to adjust their defense to stop Hood River’s speedy forwards from breaking away.
In the first half, Hood River’s only real chance to score came when Justine Bryant momentarily got open in the 11th minute, took a pass, and chipped it at the Gresham goal.
The shot missed just wide right.
Hailey Thomas played a solid first half, making several diving stops to keep the game scoreless at the half.
In the second half Hood River went on the attack early and had their last best chance to score in the 42nd minute when Dani Lichty went one-on-one with the Gresham goalkeeper, only to have the ball tipped off the goalkeeper’s fingertips when she shot.
After that play Gresham kept the ball in Hood River territory for long periods of time and was quickly able to take advantage.
Gresham got a corner kick in the 51st minute that the Eagle defense was unable to clear. Gresham’s Cori Young was able to head the ball in for a 1-0 lead.
Just a minute later, a Gresham forward took possession of the ball deep in Hood River territory and quickly booted it past Thomas for a 2-0 lead that the Eagles would not be able to overcome.
The Eagles were not able to mount a significant attack during the final 20 minutes, and Gresham guaranteed themselves a playoff spot while guaranteeing that the Eagles season will end today at Sandy.
“This is why we knew it would be difficult if we left it up to having to win against Gresham,” Hood River coach Joe Kelly said. “Those losses to Centennial and Barlow were hard on us, because Gresham is a good, young team.”
Kelly said that Gresham has the makings to be one of the top teams in the conference because they are both good and young, with over half of their squad consisting of freshman or sophomores.
“In this game we were looking at the future of the league,” Kelly said.
The Eagles season ends today when they play at Sandy at 6 p.m.
It will be the final game for Eagle seniors Justine Bryant, Jill Chance, Kayla Lloyd, Jessica Ostler, and Sara DeSitter.