HRV girls learn from best in Oregon

Hood River Valley High School girls varsity soccer hosted Tualatin Tuesday afternoon in what was expected to be the team’s toughest opponent of the season. The defending Oregon 6A state champions, the Timberwolves, are atop the state rankings again this season and faced the Eagles fresh off a 2-0 win against the perennial state powerhouse, Jesuit (currently ranked fifth in the state).

The 5-0 shutout was a tough loss for Hood River; but the final result wasn’t all gloom for the girls.

“We had a much improved second half,” Coach Kevin Haspela commented. After allowing four goals in the first, the girls improved their game dramatically and allowed only one goal the rest of the game. “I am proud of their efforts and am confident we are a smarter and quicker responding team after playing a team like Tualatin. We could have folded and left the field frustrated and defeated, but the girls gave it their best and believed in themselves. The team played with a lot of heart and stayed positive.”

The Timberwolves’ first half pounding was due largely to a more physical and aggressive style of play that pushed Hood River off the ball and opened offensive opportunities. The Eagles were on the defensive nearly the entire half and were barraged by shots from all over the field.

“If we gave them any space at all, they were excellent at getting a shot on goal, as we learned quickly in the first half,” Haspela said. “They were a very skilled team who would capitalize on defensive mistakes. We made some adjustments in the second half that forced Tualatin out of the middle. We played smarter one-on-one defense, and we began to generate counter attacks as a result of better passing.”

The Eagles, now 0-3-1 overall, host West Albany today at noon and travel Sept. 25 to Newberg. They return home Sept. 27 against Woodburn before starting league play Oct. 2 at Pendleton.

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