This wasn't the way the senior-heavy group of the Hood River Valley soccer team wanted their last home game to end. Lucky for them, their home careers probably did not end with a 1-0 loss to Hermiston Thursday night.
Despite the loss, the Eagles are still likely to have a home game in the state play-in round Nov. 5.
The Eagles had a chance to lock up the Columbia River Conference championship with a win or a draw against Hermiston Thursday night and although HRV controlled the course of play, it was the Bulldogs who got the win.
Neither team could find much of an advantage in the first half, with both defenses sniffing out any most attacks before they even developed.
The Eagles had a few chances early in the second half but could not capitalize.
The Bulldogs were outshot by HRV by a 13-6 margin in the game, but managed to get a big break on one of their few chances.
In the 49th minute Iris Ruelas put a cross shot through the box which HRV keeper Meagan Winans jumped up to grab. The ball ticked off her outstretched fingertips and landed at the feet of Arielle Handforth, who was open next to the far post and put it in.
The Eagles threatened several more times, with Hermiston goalkeeper Hope Butler making a point-blank stop on a shot by Roxana Gomez in the 53rd minute to preserve the tie.
The Eagles picked up the pressure in the final moments, with several passes just missing and a few shots going just wide, but they could not find the net.
"We just needed five more minutes to get that goal," HRV coach Kevin Haspela said.
The Eagles could still win the league championship, but would need help from Pendleton to do it. An HRV win over TDW, coupled with a Hermiston loss or draw would give the Eagles the title while an HRV loss would give it to Hermiston under any circumstances, as the Bulldogs are the higher-ranked team.
The game was the final regular-season home match for HRV seniors Sarah Clark, Kirra Paulus, Kayla Schurton, Emily Thompson, Katie White, Skye Windsor, Roxana Gomez, Chloe Rocha, Jessica Sedano, Meredith Virk, Megan Winans and Hannah Young.
"They've jelled as a unit from the start," Haspela said. "They didn't take long to come together, and without direction from me they have stepped up and taken on leadership roles."
He also gave them significant credit for helping the team win five straight games before the loss to Hermiston Thursday after they dropped their first six to start the season.
"A lot of teams would have imploded," he said. "This team didn't."
The Eagles close out their regular season at The Dalles Tuesday and then should host a state play-in game next Saturday against a to-be-determined opponent.
Eagle boys draw at Hermiston: In a tight matchup atainst the league's other top team, the varsity boys went on the road against the Bulldogs Thursday evening. Goals came from Sean Lund and Salvador Sosa in the 2-2 math. The draw means HRV?and Hermiston have the same record and are tied for frist place in the conference with just one game left in the regular season.
Winning the conference title is a big goal this season, says Coach Jaime Rivera, so the team's final game against The Dalles (at HRVHS, 6 p.m.,?Nov. 1) will be a must win.
Hawks net playoff win: Horizon Christian School extended its soccer season another week Tuesday, when the Hawks bested Life Christian 3-0 in a United League home playoff match.
Gabe Holste scored two Horizon goals and assisted on the third - lifting a crossing pass which Mason Bloomster headed into the net. The victory puts Horizon (5-6-1) into the league's consolation final 4 p.m. Tuesday at home against Open Door.
In Tuesday's match, Bryce Smith was stellar on the back line along with Austin Requa and Grant Lynn. Requa saved what looked to be a game-tying goal in the first half, when he headed the shot attempt away from the goalmouth. The defense helped keeper Mitch Engel earn the shutout.
-- With Adam Lapierre and Joe Petshow