Photo by RJ Chavez
The Eagles have held opponents scoreless twice this season, including Tuesday’s 1-0 victory over Pendleton. Jairo Ortiz (pictured), a senior midfielder for HRV, helped keep a Buckaroos offense scoreless.
As of Friday, October 5, 2018
Soccer finally feels back in Hood River.
The Hood River Valley boys soccer team has turned a 1-3 start to the season into a 4-3-1 record after beating Pendleton 1-0 at home on Tuesday, Oct. 2.
“We want to meet standards,” said Hood River Valley head coach Jaime Rivera, as he refers to the legacy of dominance and success this program has built over the years. “But not only do we want to meet standards, we want to go above and beyond that standard, and if we want to do that, we’ve got to pick up the level of play now.”
Against the Buckaroos on Tuesday, HRV was able to come away with the 1-0 win off a goal from sophomore forward Ivan Solano in the 25th minute of the first half, but the problem was the boys were only able to “come away” with a victory over Pendleton.
“It’s one of those things where you can certainly be concerned after a game against a team like Pendleton; even though those boys from Pendleton play hard, that should be an opportunity for us to show dominance over another program,” said Rivera. “Every game this season, the biggest challenge for us has been making sure we’re mentally ready, because I believe that we’re talented enough to compete with whoever steps on the opposite side of that field.”
Ahead of the matchup between the two schools, Pendleton was 1-5-1 on the season. In the two matchups last season, HRV outscored Pendleton 19-0.
“Traditionally, this matchup is a game where I have standards and expectations that the group needs to perform at, and we didn’t do a good job of meeting those expectations on Tuesday,” said Rivera. “It’s a game where we have an opportunity to work on things we’ve been training on and the competition tends to drive the quality of play, and against a team like Pendleton, we kind of get stuck in this mindset of going through the motions.”
Before the matchup with Pendleton, one of Rivera’s main points of emphasis heading into the second half of the season was passing and learning how to move off the ball. Both were things his team showed in the win over Pendleton, but another question surrounding this team now looms.
“We have made huge strides since the beginning of the season with our passing and moving off the ball, and against Pendleton, I was happy with what I saw in regard to those things,” said Rivera. “But where we did lack was in the attacking part of the field.”
HRV went into the game versus Pendleton scoring five goals in the previous game versus Redmond and then eight goals in the game before against Crook County, so a one-goal performance against the fifth ranked team in the Intermountain Conference was alarming.
“We generated so many chances at goal, but we couldn’t put any balls in the net and the longer the games go, we begin to panic and have a mental block. This is something we need to work on if we went to move forward and play soccer in November,” said Rivera. “We need to make the other team do what we want them to do. I want us to dictate how the game goes. Along with that, we need to find more excitement and an edge to our game.”
The boys had no choice finding that excitement and edge Rivera was looking for in their next matchup of the season, which was a rivalry game on the road versus The Dalles on Thursday, Oct. 4.
“For our team, this is the biggest game of the season. It’s a playoff atmosphere and rivalry matchup all mixed into one game,” said Rivera. “I know The Dalles boys are going to want to upset us, and I don’t even think it would be an upset with how well they’re playing this year.”
In a battle for the top-spot in the IMC, HRV and The Dalles would tie 2-2, both moving to 3-0-2 in league play.
With the tie, and a Ridgeview victory against Pendelton, there is now a three-way tie for first place in the IMC with five games remaining in league play.