The training wheels came off and the Hood River Valley girls soccer team broke loose like a freight train in an 8-0 win over The Dalles-Wahtonka Tuesday afternoon at Westside Field.
"First we were working on our defense then we working on our offense," said senior Emily Thompson of the Eagles' season running up to The Dalles game. "Today it all came together."
Thompson and Miga McCurdy both tallied hat tricks for the Eagles as HRV built a 3-0 lead by the half and then demolished the Eagle-Indians with a precision attack over the final 30 minutes.
"We've been waiting for a game like this," said HRV coach Kevin Haspela.
Roxy Gomez scored moments into the game - her second early goal in as many contests - and the Eagles never looked back.
After building a 3-0 lead on goals by Jessica Saldano and Thompson in the first 20 minutes, the Eagles appeared to be cruising for an easy victory as they did not often test the TDW defense, but were not tested either over the next 30 minutes.
The first three goals turned out to be simply the early breakers before a hurricane.
In the 52nd minute Thompson reversed the field with a perfect pass to an oncoming Thompson who headed it off the far post and in.
Less than a minute later McCurdy sprinted past a pair of defenders and fired a shot, which was punched away by the TDW keeper. McCurdy beat her to the rebound though and booted it in.
Even with the Eagles settling into more of a possession game with a big lead, they caught the TDW defense out of position several more times.
In the 60th minute Thompson took a pass from Skye Windsor and one touched into the goal.
McCurdy then got her second and third goals of the game - and of the season - in rapid succession in the closing minutes.
In the 73rd she scored off a header from a Gomez corner kick and in the 74th she took a pass from Katie White which completely crossed up the TDW defense and knocked it in.
McCurdy has been a sparkplug for the Eagles all season, playing defense when needed, but lately moving back up to the striker position she played last year.
After having several attempts go just wide or over the bar earlier this season she didn't know how to react with three goals in one game.
"I'm kind of wordless," she said.
The Eagles had a more difficult time with Pendleton Thursday but still came away with a 1-0 win, setting up a match with Hermiston next Thursday to decide the CRC league title.
"We just need to keep playing the way we have been playing," McCurdy said.
The two wins gave the Eagles five straight after losing their opening six games of the season.
In the first six games HRV was outscored 21-2 while playing some of the top teams in the state. Over the last five games the Eagles have outscored their opposition 18-2.
"This was all built up," Thompson said.
All of the early season frustration and scoring troubles were forgotten in a wave of goals Tuesday and the chance to lock up a league title, vault Hermiston in the rankings and secure a better matchup in the state play-in round with a win next Thursday.