Photo by Ben Mitchell
MORGAN TOTTEN, a senior defender on the HRV girls soccer team, cuts off The Dalles’ Emma Weir during Tuesday’s final regular season game in Hood River.
As of Friday, October 28, 2016
Grab 10 wins or more?
Check (make it 11).
Take the Columbia River Conference title… again?
Check (even better, a six-game sweep).
Advance past the quarterfinals in the 5A playoffs?
We shall see.
The HRV girls soccer team has not only met, but exceeded two of Head Coach Kevin Haspela’s three main goals set for the team at the outset of the regular season, which concluded Tuesday night in Hood River with a 7-1 thrashing of The Dalles on Senior Night.
The defeat of the Riverhawks gave the Eagles its first CRC sweep since 2014 and marked the 14th game in a row (that’s seven seasons’ worth) that HRV has beaten The Dalles. The team also finished the regular season with one of the most product offenses in the state (64 goals scored, second only to Summit’s 70) and is tied for 11th place in defense (19 goals allowed) out of the 33 teams in 5A.
HRV will now look ahead to achieve its final goal: advancing past the quarterfinals, or further, in the 5A playoffs — a game that has stymied the Eagles the past couple seasons, as they drew the top-ranked team in the state both those years.
For now, though, Haspela and the team are pleased with what they’ve been able to accomplish so far this season.
“Eleven wins feels nice. The team is confident. We took some important lessons from our three losses this fall,” he said. “Although we didn’t win enough games to break into the top seven in rankings, I am very happy with our record. Playing against some of the top 10 teams in the state — LaSalle, Hillsboro — and knowing that we can absolutely play with them and beat them puts us in a good mindset heading into the playoffs.”
It didn’t take very long for HRV to jump on The Dalles in Tuesday’s game, with Mona Diaz taking a pass from Cielo Rivera and booting it from the left side of The Dalles’ penalty box to score a mere 14 seconds into the game — her first of two goals. Halle Campos followed that up with the game-winner 10 minutes later, as she tore down the field to block a goal kick from The Dalles’ keeper Addison Klindt. The deflection soared over Klindt’s head and into the back of the net to put HRV up by two.
“It was a classic Halle Campos goal,” Haspela said. “She made something happen by shear grit and determination.”
Other scorers included Audrey Marble, Claire Davies, Nina Casey, and Cielo Rivera, who added a team-high three assists. Kiki Hosaka also had an assist Tuesday evening. The Dalles did score a goal in the second half after the contest had gotten out of hand — HRV went into halftime with a 4-0 lead — but the Riverhawks failed to put much pressure on goalkeepers Vanessa Silva (first half) and Claire Oswald (second half), who each only had to make two saves during their 40-minute shifts.
“On attack, we adjusted quicker to break through their back line and found the wing spaces nicely. Our defenders and middies were confident and made several nicely weighted paces through for our wings and forwards to run onto. We were strong and physical. The team scored some nice goals,” Haspela said of HRV’s play.
Though the Eagles were untouchable in league play, their ranking hasn’t changed much the past few weeks. HRV is currently ranked 12th, but since the team won the CRC, the Eagles get bumped up to an eight-seed, and will host a No. 9 team Tuesday, Nov. 1 at Henderson Community Stadium in a first-round 5A playoff game. The girls won’t know who they will face until the 5A play-in games conclude Saturday night.
“We’ve won seven in a row and haven’t budged in the rankings. The CRC teams are not highly ranked this year, so despite winning we weren’t moving up,” Haspela explained. “From what I’ve seen over the years, the top 15 teams in the state are all solid programs and I expect a good, close match next Tuesday.”