After 10 days without any competition for the HRV girls’ soccer team, they finally were back out on the field Tuesday as they traveled to La Salle to play the Falcons.
“The team was happy to finally get the chance to play,” said Head Coach Kevin Haspela. “It was a very exciting game.”
The Eagles headed into this game at 0-1, the loss coming early on in September to West Albany on the road.
With a chance to get to .500 on the season, the Eagles knew that the game against the Falcons wasn’t going to be easy.
“La Salle may not be the same team as they were last year, but they are the defending 5A state champs and a strong program,” said Haspela. “Which is why this was a big win for us.”
The Eagles beat La Salle 1-0 on Tuesday to go to 1-1 on the season.
Against the Falcons, the girls were able to play an effective counter attack strategy, in large part due to their speed on the turf and the consistent play from goalie Claire Oswald, who notched six saves against the Falcons.
“Our speed in the forward wing positions, coupled with Ashlee Ponce's excellent performance at center forward, helped create several good chances for us. Claire Davies did a great job ball winning, attracting attention, and finding outlet passes for us,” Haspela said. “Yaya Chavarria, Lauren Trumbull, and Erin Sutherland made great decisions for us in the back line in terms of when to step, when to provide depth, and when to play tight and high-pressure defense.”
With just 20 minutes left in the game and the score tied at 0, the Eagles were finally able to get on the board after being on the attack for most of the game.
Ponce and Leah Ralph were able to get pressure on a back ball to the La Salle goalkeeper and forced her to make a poor clearance. Ponce capitalized — volleying the ball from about 12-yards out and putting the ball in the goal.
“Our intensity was high and attitudes were positive for the entire 80 minutes. La Salle had us on our heals at times, but the girls weren't phased,” said Haspela. “They maintained composure, positivity, and grit mentality. I was most proud of them for this reason.”
Two days later, the girls would play in their home season opener against Barlow (3-1-1).
With a short delay prior to the start of the game because of referees who arrived late, the Eagle girls weren’t ever able to turn things on against the Bruins.
The Bruins would score once in the first half and twice in the second, beating the Eagles by a score of 3-0.
“Last year in our 2-0 loss against the Bruins, we employed more of a ‘park the bus and wait for the counter attack’ strategy. This year, however, we played less conservative on defense,” said Haspela. “We needed to open up into space more quickly and switch the point of attack quicker. They didn't give us much time in the midfield to create.”
Shots in the 45th and 65th minute by the Bruins would put this game out of reach for the Eagles, but even though the girls weren’t able to get the job done at home, Haspela and his team felt they played a good game against a talented squad.
“Our ball winning improved in the second half and we held them to fewer shots on goal,” said Haspela. “On attack, we unlocked their back line twice to create some good chances later on.”
“Though the score ended 3-0, as opposed to last year's 2-0 loss, our team felt better about the match,” Haspela said. “We gave them a good game and hope to turn the loss into lessons learned.”
The next game for the girls’ is at home against Hillsboro on Sept. 23 at Henderson Stadium. This will be a double header event, with the boys playing against Hillsboro at noon and the girls at 2 p.m.