Photo by Ben Mitchell
HRV had a physical match with Pendleton on Tuesday, but the Buckaroos were no match for the Eagles, losing 4-0. At right, midfielder/forward Sindy Magana collides with a Pendleton defender.
The HRV girls soccer team has had a rough go of it lately, with injuries and losses hampering a team that had enjoyed a strong start to its season earlier this month.
On Tuesday, however, the Eagles had perfect timing in their return to early-season form, shutting out the Pendleton Buckaroos, 4-0, in their first Columbia River Conference game of the season. After eluding HRV for nearly three weeks, the Eagles had a win once again.
Although it’s only the beginning of league play, the win lifted the Eagles’ spirits, as well as their ranking to a first-place spot in the CRC thanks to the Hermiston/The Dalles game ending in a zero-goal draw the same day.
“It was hugely important… we’re a little bit more aware of the meaning of the game,” said HRV coach Kevin Haspela, commenting on the nature of league games. “We don’t take it lightly.”
In what was a physical, but not a chippy match, HRV struggled to find the back of the net in the first half despite controlling possession and burying the ball in Pendleton’s zone. HRV got on the scoreboard in the 26th minute after a ball from forward/midfielder Sidney Magaña rang off the crossbar and midfielder Savannah Brentlinger positioned herself to get the second-chance shot, which she finished before the Buckaroos could close in.
Up 1-0 to start the second half, the Eagles again struggled to spin their numerous scoring chances — 35 shots, 18 of which were on goal in the game — into goals. Haspela said that the “level of frustration was starting to rise” noticeably in his players and he attempted to keep things positive because “they were doing a lot of good things,” even if they weren’t finding the back of the net.
“Soccer is crazy like that,” he explained. “Just because you’re dominating the game doesn’t mean you’re winning.”
The logjam broke in the final minutes of the game, when HRV teed off on Pendleton, scoring three goals in as many minutes. In the 77th minute, HRV had a short corner that went from Mona Diaz to Halle Campos, who passed to middie/forward Kassidy Davidson for a four-yard touch that put HRV up 2-0. A minute later, Diaz scored on a long shot from 18 yards out after receiving a pass from Cielo Rivera. Less than two minutes later, middie Jade Schumacher “muffled her way by two defenders,” according to Haspela, then drew the goalie out and turned back to pass to Campos, who finished it off for the final score of the afternoon.
Haspela believed HRV’s scoring frenzy drew on that well of frustration, causing the Eagles to put even more pressure on Pendleton with an aggressive attack — and a little bit of luck helped as well.
“I think it’s a little bit the ball bounced our way a couple times… but they wanted the scoreboard to reflect their effort at the end of the game,” he explained.
“It was a full team effort, all the way to the end, which says a lot about their poise and persistence,” Haspela added.
In net, junior Vanessa Silva, who had a handful of saves despite not being tested often in the game, came away with the clean sheet.
This week, Haspela said he planned to work with the team on overall fitness — several players are still a little banged up and convalescing from injuries sustained in previous games — as well as “being focused and thoughtful with what we’re doing with the ball” late in games.
The Eagles next head to Hermiston for a matchup with the Bulldogs on Tuesday at 4 p.m.