Photo by Adam Lapierre
Noe Magana drives around a Pendleton defender Tuesday afternoon before crossing the ball for a first-half assist to Alex Gutierrez.
In their ninth straight victory, the Hood River Valley High School varsity boys soccer team continued its heavy-footed quest toward a return trip to the state championship with a 6-0 home win Tuesday against the Pendleton Buckaroos. The Eagles used their notorious mix of aggressive offensive attack, controlling midfield and unyielding defense in the Columbia River Conference opener – their sixth win of the season by at least three goals – and will look to carry the momentum into next week as they hit the road Tuesday to face their toughest conference competitor, the Hermiston Bulldogs.
At 9-0, the Eagles currently hold the best record in the state at the 5A level and are one of just two teams to remain undefeated through five weeks of competition; the other undefeated team is 7-0 Wilsonville of the Northwest Oregon Conference.
In the Eagles’ latest thrashing, goals were divided evenly between the two halves, with Alex Gutierrez scoring first by header off a cross by Noe Magana. Gio Magana (Noe’s older brother) scored a few minutes later off an assist by Gutierrez in a flashy play that deflated any hopes Pendleton had of mounting an upset. Manuel Mozqueda assisted to Andres Baeza for the third goal of the half.
Antonio Bustos, Luiz Perez and Gio Magana each scored in the scond half – with one aasisted by Jaime Frias – while goalies Marco Cuevas and Travis Running split time in the goal for the team’s second shutout of the season; Cuevas had three saves and Running had one.
The boys are on the road next week at Hermiston, followed games Oct. 14 vs. The Dalles at home, Oct. 16 at Pendleton, Oct. 22 at home vs Hermiston (6 p.m. at HRVHS) and the final CRC game Oct. 28 at The Dalles.
After a mediocre start to the season, Hood River Valley High School varsity girls soccer made a statement on the road Tuesday with a 3-0 win against the Pendleton Buckaroos in the Eagles’ Columbia River Conference opener. The win is the second of the season for the HRV girls — now 2-4-3 – and as the CRC opener gives the team a fresh outlook with five more conference games remaining before playoffs.
“The girls will certainly pick up some momentum and confidence with this win,” Coach Kevin Haspela commented after the game. “Some pieces are falling into place for us in terms of defensive shape, attacking formation, and composure in the final third of the field.”
Mona Diaz struck first for the Eagles at the 20-minute mark with a textbook volley off a hard-driving assist by forward Cielo Rivera.
“The girls controlled most of the play throughout the game,” Haspela explained. “In the second half we started off shaky but quickly picked up our level of play and scored two quick goals.”
Kassidy Ellefson found the net next after taking a flick by Collete Zack, beating Pendleton’s defender and striking a solid shot.
“Less than two minutes later, Collete (Zack) intercepted a pass on the left side and dribbled to the end line, crossed the ball and Mona Diaz finished for her second goal,” Hasepla said.
Vanessa Silva and Sophia Marble shared time in the goal for the shutout.
The win was an upset for the No. 27 ranked Eagles over the No. 16 ranked Buckaroos. Going into the season, Haspela said one of the team’s primary goals was to defend its title as four-time CRC champions. Looking elsewhere in the conference, HRV has a legitimate shot at achieving that goal despite having the lowest OSAA ranking, as long as they can continue with the momentum from Tuesday’s win.
The Dalles, who defeated No. 18 Hermiston (4-4-1) 1-0 Tuesday, sits atop CRC standings with a No. 15 ranking and a 5-2-1 record.
OSAA playoff qualifications this season give the top CRC team a spot in the 16-team championship bracket, while the second and third place teams will have a play-in game which they must win to make it to the championships.