Photo by Ben Mitchell
NOE MAGANA (white jersey) gets in position to block a shot from The Dalles’ Brandon Bustamante during Tuesday night’s game against the Riverhawks at Henderson Community Stadium. Magana scored the first goal for the Eagles, who would go on to beat The Dalles, 3-0. HRV will face a to-be-determined playoff opponent Tuesday, Nov. 3 in Hood River.
The HRV boys soccer team was all business Tuesday night in Hood River, picking apart another opponent with clinical coldness and precision — this time The Dalles Riverhawks, who were shut out by The Eagles for the second time this season, unable to answer the three goals scored by HRV.
It was a game that could have been an emotional one for HRV. Senior night, under the lights at Henderson Community Stadium, the home crowd providing a reception warm enough to combat the chill fall air, the Columbia River Conference hanging in the balance after HRV’s 2-2 tie last week with Hermiston.
But HRV looked cool, calm, and collected… even goal celebrations were to a minimum as the Eagles built a comfortable lead and focused more on aspects of their game they wanted to work on in anticipation of the playoffs.
“We chalked it up as a good preparation game for us,” HRV coach Jaime Rivera explained Wednesday morning. “We worked on some things that we wanted to do post-Hermiston game… obviously, we could have ran up the score if we wanted to, but that wasn’t the point last night.”
As has been the case in pretty much every game this season, HRV struck first and struck quick, with forward Noe Magana scooping a deflected shot and finishing it off in the ninth minute to put HRV up 1-0.
Andres Baeza added another in the 26th minute — a header off a corner kick delivered by Magana that was nearly stopped by The Dalles’ goalie, but trickled across the goal line to make it 2-0.
HRV had other chances in the first half, including a shot that hit the crossbar as well as a penalty kick from Noah Noteboom that was stopped, but didn’t build on its lead until the second half when Jack McCaffrey, pulled up from the JV squad, fired a shot that went to the far post and was tipped in by Alvarro Ramirez for the final score of the evening.
Rivera was pleased with the play of McCaffrey, who had “lots of touches” Tuesday night, as well as the way the final goal developed.
“It’s more proof that guys were following the game plan,” he said. “Their goals are coming off plays, passing combinations that end in goals that are scored with precision… they understand what we want them to do in practice and they make it happen in games.”
Rivera said the team worked on getting set up defensively during set pieces, reversing the ball back to the keeper when a play fails to develop, and making sure as many people are as involved on the field as possible.
HRV’s midfield and defense were stalwart once again, all but completely preventing The Dalles from entering HRV’s end of the pitch. Goalie Marco Cuevas recorded only two saves the entire 80 minutes and earned HRV its ninth shutout of the season. The team ended the regular season with a positive goal differential of 51-6.
“Cuevas has not allowed one goal all season long on his time, which is just outstanding,” Rivera said, adding that Cuevas, a senior, has been named the starting keeper for the playoffs.
HRV, currently ranked No. 2 in 5A boys soccer (ranked one spot behind Wilsonville), will find out this weekend who it will play once the play-in games have concluded. The first round of the playoffs will occur in Hood River, Tuesday, Nov. 3.