Bring on Woodburn.
The Hood River Valley boys soccer team topped Wilsonville 2-1 Saturday — punching its first ticket to the state semifinals since 2004 — and set up a big rematch with the Woodburn Bulldogs.
Edgar Villegas put HRV on the board in the 14th minute after some nice ball movement and then Jaime Frias scored an important insurance goal in the 61st.
The Eagles figured to need multiple goals to beat a physical Wilsonville team which averaged better than two scores a game this season, including a 3-1 win over HRV in late September.
“If we compared to the last time we played them, we are a totally different team,” said HRV coach Jaime Rivera.
The two Eagle goals wound up being just enough as Wilsonville got on the board on a Nick Pinto header in the 74th minute.
HRV then needed a lunging save from goalkeeper Alonso Mendiola to prevent Wilsonville from finding a late equalizer.
“I just wanted the game to be over,” said Mendiola of what was going through his mind in the waning minutes as Wilsonville attacked again and again.
While Wilsonville was able to mount several late attacks, the Wildcats were frustrated by the HRV defense for most of the game.
The Eagles were aggressive in the attack early as they hunted for a quick strike.
They found one in the 14th minute as defender Jose Muro quickly moved the ball out of the back to midfielder Camiel Buursma, who then found Frias streaking up the left side of the pitch.
Frias raced ahead and then sent a perfect cross to Villegas for the goal.
The emboldened Eagles began pushing for a second score, appealing for a handball in the 19th minute which would have set up a penalty kick, and seeing several other chances go just wide or skip off the post.
Wilsonville finally found its feet late in the first half, and came up with several close-call counterattacks.
The closest shave of the first half for the HRV defense came in the 36th minute when a Wilsonville strike off a corner kick hit the crossbar and came straight down just in front of the goal line before being cleared by an Eagle defender.
Wilsonville continued to push in the early going of the second half, but was foiled by the Eagle defense each time.
About the time it appeared the Eagles were beginning to fade, Frias reinvigorated the home side.
He received a long ball in the 61st minute, got ahead of a pair of Wilsonville defenders, sidestepped a drawn-out keeper and chipped a shot into the open net.
Despite how dominant the Eagles had been for large stretches of the game, the second goal turned out to be critical.
Wilsonville renewed its assault on the HRV defense almost immediately after Frias’ strike and finally broke through in the 74th.
The Eagles conceded a corner kick and Pinto rose to meet it, easily getting above the HRV defense and crossing the ball just inside the far post with a header.
Wilsonville then began a mad scramble for the equalizer as the Eagle defense repeatedly tried to punt the ball deep into the Wildcat half of the field.
The Eagles dodged a final bullet in the 78th minute when a bounding ball in the box fell at the feet of Wildcat forward Rene Hernandez on the left side of the goal box.
With Mendiola on the opposite side of the goal, Hernandez appeared ready to equalize.
However he did not get off a strong shot, and defender Jose Muro was able to get a toe on it to slow the shot’s momentum before Mendiola was able to pounce on it in front of a oncoming Hernandez for the last of his eight saves in the game.
The Eagles were then able to kill the rest of the clock setting off jumps of joy from the Eagle sidelines and an ice water soaking for Rivera.
The current playoff run has been Rivera’s deepest as HRV head coach, and the first time the Eagles have advanced as far as the semifinals since 2004, when they lost 2-0 to South Medford in the round of four as a 4A squad.
“This team is a lot more disciplined and we have a lot more respect,” Muro said of what differentiated this team from previous groups which had seen their playoff run end in first round upsets. “We just go hard.”
The Eagles travel to Woodburn Tuesday for the next stop on their revenge state tour.
The Eagles avenged a 2011 first-round state playoff to Rex Putnam by beating the Kingsmen in the season opener and then again in the opening round of this year’s state tournament, and defeated a Wilsonville team which had beaten them in the regular season.
Next up is the Bulldogs, whom the Eagles have yet to beat since moving down to the 5A level three years ago.
The closest the Eagles have come is rallying from three goals down to draw the Bulldogs 4-4 in Woodburn earlier this season.
Now the Eagles have their sites on knocking down the Bulldogs — the state No. 1 for most of the season — and getting the chance to play for a state title next Saturday.
“Everybody has bought in,” said Rivera. “The kids have been doing everything we have asked.”