For the second year in a row, the HRV girls soccer team had the misfortune of facing the No. 1 5A team in the state tournament’s quarterfinal game.
And for the second year in a row, HRV also had the misfortune of losing that game.
The Eagles ended their season on a sour note Saturday, getting blown out by the Summit Storm, 10-1, as HRV was simply outgunned by the top-ranked team in 5A girls soccer.
Having lost to Summit earlier in the season, 4-0, HRV coach Kevin Haspela knew the deck was stacked against his team, but had expressed confidence in HRV’s abilities on the heels of last week’s thrilling 1-0 win over Ashland in a Round 1 playoff game that was decided by penalty kicks.
“That was a big one,” he said Monday morning. “I was surprised they scored 10, but we expected it was going to be a very special game for us if we were able to get out of there with a win.”
HRV never led the game and found itself down early when Summit scored in the eighth minute and then added an insurance goal five minutes later. The Eagles only goal of the afternoon came from senior Sindy Magana in the 27th minute of the first half. The goal happened off a corner kick from Yahaira “Yaya” Chavarria that found HRV’s Cielo Rivera and Summit’s keeper colliding, allowing Magana to finish.
The energy HRV gained from the goal was quickly sapped when Summit scored in the 29th minute. Haspela said Summit “punished” HRV on 50/50 balls as the Eagles lost mental toughness as the Storm piled on, pushing the score out to 5-1 at the half.
“Half of the goals came from 50/50 balls,” he noted. “There’s no reason why they should have won that many other than we were in a funk.”
HRV was able to get shots off in Summit’s box early in the game, but that eventually faded away. Once again, a team that was already banged up (Halle Campos sustained what was believed to be a concussion in last week’s game against Ashland) suffered even more during Saturday’s game, losing Kara Kiyokawa and Cielo Rivera to injuries.
“They are a fantastic team,” Haspela said of Summit. “It was a hard day and a hard way to end the season.”
Even in a game where so much went wrong for HRV, there were still some bright spots. Eagles keeper Vanessa Silva had one of her most productive games of the season, stopping 13 shots. And although they only scored once, the Eagles’ lone goal was actually a remarkable achievement considering that until Saturday’s game, the Storm had only given up one other goal the entire season.
And finally, for the “strong core” of this year’s juniors and sophomores coming back as seniors and juniors next year, Haspela said the game against Summit taught the team an important lesson.
“They have a sense of what it takes to be the best,” he said, “so that was one of the good things to come out of the game.”