Photo by Ben Mitchell
THE EAGLES looked to finish their nonconference schedule strong in order to boost their 5A ranking, which was 15th in the state as of press time. However, HRV ran into two tough La Salle and Barlow teams, both of whom beat the Eagles. Above, Cielo Rivera scores HRV’s only goal of the match with La Salle on Tuesday in Hood River.
The end of HRV’s nonleague series (save for a game against Woodburn Sept. 29) didn’t go exactly as planned for the Eagles, who have been trying to rack up as many nonconference wins as possible to help them gain a higher ranking at the end of the season.
The Eagles (4-3) looked good throughout the bulk of the first half of Tuesday’s home match with La Salle (4-0-1), the top-ranked team in 5A girls soccer team (HRV is ranked 15th). And though they had plenty of opportunities, La Salle made the most of theirs, coming away with a 2-1 win.
“Yes, it was a tough loss. Two good teams. It came down to moments and they were able to capitalize on more moments than we were,” said HRV Head Coach Kevin Haspela. “That’s one of the difficult parts of sports. You can dominate possession for a while, but when you don’t take advantage of your opportunities, the score line can change quickly.”
HRV controlled the ball for a large part of the first 40 minutes, letting the pressure off the defense and goalkeeper Vanessa Silva (who had four saves), while the Eagles’ midfield and attackers went to work. After some near misses, forward Cielo Rivera accepted a pass from middie Kiki Hosaka and delivered a perfect strike from the left side of the box to the top left corner of the goal, far out of reach for La Salle’s keeper.
The Eagles nearly went into the half with a 1-0 lead until La Salle stole the ball from HRV’s defense and snuck one on the ground to the left side of the net that a diving Silva couldn’t grasp. That was in the 38th minute, and six minutes into the second half, La Salle scored the game-winner on a 30-yard free kick that plunked off the underside of the crossbar and past the goal line.
“LaSalle won more 50/50 balls and we created a lot of trouble for ourselves by moving the ball into pressure, not linking passes through the midfield, and not attacking as a team,” Haspela said of his team’s play in the second half.
Adding insult to injury, or rather an injury to insult, Rivera had to leave the game with a groin injury in the second half of Tuesday’s game, but was expected to return to action quickly.
The Bruins, won of the best 6A teams in the state, boasting a No. 7 ranking and a 6-0-1 record, held the Eagles scoreless for the first time this season, defeating HRV 2-0. After keeping Barlow scoreless in the first half, the Bruins scored on a corner in the 48th minute and then scored on another corner in the final minute of the competition after Claire Oswald — who played a majority of the game in net for HRV as Silva recovered from a nagging ankle injury — made the initial save. Barlow pummeled HRV with 14 shots (11 on goal), while the Eagles only managed three on goal. Oswald made a season-high eight saves, while Silva managed one within the first 15 minutes of the second half.
“We knew Barlow would be strong and on turf we expected they would be quick. We employed a defensive strategy. Put more numbers back and waited for the counter attack… We wanted to control the middle of the field and limit their chances to crosses from the wings. The team did just that. Just couldn’t quite create the special moment we needed to score,” Haspela explained.
HRV now looks to continue its reign of terror in the CRC, which the girls have won every year for the past six seasons. The Eagles will start Tuesday with a match at Pendleton (0-3).