Photo by RJ Chavez
HRV girls soccer has a lot of gaps that need to be filled this season after seeing 13 seniors graduate, including captains Yaya Chavarria and Claire Davies. One of the five returning varsity players for the girls this season is Mira Olson (pictured), a sophomore midfielder who will need to step into a leadership role this season. Olson is coming off a freshmen season in which she earned second team All-Conference.
As of Friday, August 31, 2018
There are 11 players on the field at the start of a soccer game, and the HRV girls soccer program heads into the 2018 season without 13 of its players from last year’s roster.
“This is a big retooling year for Hood River Valley High School girls soccer,” said HRV girls soccer head coach Kevin Haspela.
“We graduated 13 seniors and that’s a big impact on a team.”
The departure of captains Yaya Chavarria, a first team All-State selection and Columbia River Conference Co-player of the year, and Claire Davies, a second team All-State selection, leaves HRV with holes in the back and center of the field.
“Yaya was the anchor of our defense and Claire ran the show in the midfield,” said Haspela. “We also lost our starting wings, entire back line, and a goalkeeper. So needless to say, we have some individual roles to determine and we also need to assess our strengths to determine our style of play.”
This year the team returns five varsity players from last year’s roster: Mira Olson, Silva Sankari, Abby Mitchell, Jovanna DeLaTorre and Barrett Ihde.
“Despite the losses from last year’s roster, I’m excited for our returners and the new blood,” said Haspela. “We have a large group of seniors, some of whom have played together in our junior varsity program, and also a handful of talented sophomores who should do big things for us.”
Of the talented group of sophomore girls, midfielder/forward Olson leads the pack as she comes off a freshman season in which she earned second team All-Conference. Haspela expects Olson to be one of the most “dominant” players in the Intermountain Conference this season.
Junior midfielder Sankari will also help Olson by filling in the huge gap that Davies’ departure leaves in the midfield. “Sankari’s vision and ball handling skills make her a natural center midfielder,” said Haspela.
Also returning in the midfield is senior Mitchell, who will play either wing or share time at center midfield. The only returning forward from last year’s varsity team is DeLaTorre.
The fifth returning varsity player is senior Ihde. She shared time at goalkeeper last season and “is ready to take charge of organizing the defense and will be a big leader for us,” said Haspela.
Another player to keep an eye out for on the field, who wasn’t on the varsity roster last season, is sophomore midfielder Abby McCormack.
The girls kick off the 2018 season with back-to-back homes games, starting with a matchup versus West Albany on Sept. 8 (start time TBD).
After the opening game of the season for HRV, the girls will host a familiar opponent in Hillsboro on Sept. 11. “This game will be a big early season challenge for us,” said Haspela.
Last season, Hillsboro knocked out HRV in the first round of the 5A OSAA State Playoffs by a final score of 1-0.
After the Hillsboro game, HRV will go on the road and face a tough Franklin team that tied with the Eagles 2-2 in last year’s matchup.
In regard to conference play, “I expect Ridgeview to be the toughest opponent in our Intermountain Conference,” said Haspela. “I also expect a stronger team from The Dalles, so those matches will be exciting.”
With only a week until the start of the 2018 season, “We haven’t set goals yet as a team, but going after the Intermountain Conference title will be the natural goal,” said Haspela. “I like the larger conference we are in. We have 10 league games, a more robust league schedule which we are excited for.”