The HRV girls soccer team wrapped up its regular season play with another league win Tuesday night, defeating The Dalles Riverhawks, 3-0, for the second time this year.
The Eagles ended their regular season with a positive goal differential of 25-17. The Eagles overcame a poor end to their nonleague schedule in the middle of the season, a time during which they were simultaneously dealing with injuries to key players and facing some of the best teams in the state. HRV’s shutout in The Dalles Tuesday was the team’s third in a row and fifth overall this season, marking an end to a dominant season in the CRC, during which the team outscored its league opponents, 16-2, and went 5-0-1.
Despite the 3-0 defeat of The Dalles, HRV coach Kevin Haspela said it took some time for this squad to get moving.
“Our team came out flat,” he said. “We possessed the ball well and found the corner space, but then our attack was stalling. We didn’t move the ball quickly enough in the final third of the field. Rather than making short passes on the wing we needed to switch to the opposite side of the field and penetrate quickly.”
The Eagles got on the board in the 23rd minute, when midfielder Cielo Rivera scored on a corner kick after The Dalles’ keeper couldn’t get a grip on the ball, deflecting it into the goal to make it 1-0.
Haspela said the Eagles ratcheted up the intensity in the second half, and it paid dividends as the HRV was able to create numerous scoring chances.
“The girls played much better in the second half and The Dalles seemed to run out of gas,” he said. “They made the right adjustments: quick movements to clear and create space, assertive runs toward the goal, and found passing lanes with well weighted passes.”
In the second half, after pressuring the Riverhawks’ defense, middie Savannah Brentlinger passed square across the top of The Dalles’ box to defender Ami Santillan, who put one in on the far right side of the goal to make it 2-0. Forward Makena Zorza added another off a deflected shot from Kenia Ramirez at the conclusion of a give-and-go play.
HRV’s defense all but completely shut down The Dalles’ attack, breaking through the back line only once in the second half. The Riverhawks were awarded a penalty kick in that instance after keeper Sophia Marble clipped a Riverhawk attacker. The resulting kick from The Dalles’ Hannah Wallasavage rang off the crossbar and HRV avoided having its clean sheet spoiled. The Dalles was only able to muster two shots in the game, while HRV had 13. Marble and Vanessa Silva split time in goal.
With the regular season over, the attention turns fully to the playoffs, although the Eagles have had a chance to focus on the postseason for some time now as they locked up the conference more than two weeks ago. Haspela said the team is “going to be focuses on set plays, corner kicks, penalty kicks, and playing transition — at this point, it’s about staying sharp and staying focused.”
As of press time, HRV’s official opponent hadn’t been decided yet due to play-in games having not been completed. There could be a good chance that No. 8 HRV could face No. 9 Ashland — a team the Eagles haven’t played at all this season and share no similar opponents. What is known is that the game will take place Nov. 4 in Hood River since HRV won its conference title. Check the Hood River News Facebook page for playoff draw updates.