It hasn’t turned out to be the start the community is used to reading about regarding the Hood River Valley High School soccer programs, as both the boys and girls have had little success early on.
Girls soccer started this season with a substandard performance at home versus West Albany, losing by a final score of 6-0.
Three days later, the girls were back at home for their second game of the season, a matchup that featured the 0-1 Eagles and 1-1 Hillsboro Spartans on Sept. 11.
After struggling in their home opener versus West Albany, the HRV girls were able to put together a much better game in Tuesday’s match versus Hillsboro.
However, the girls were unable to hold on to a 1-0 lead that they had secured early in the second half off a goal from senior forward Jovana DeLaTorre.
In the closing minutes, Hillsboro’s McKenzie Staub scored in both the 18th and final minute of the match to lead the Spartans out of Hood River with a 2-1 victory over the Eagles.
The back-to-back losses to open the season is the first time since 2016-17 that the Eagles have lost consecutive games in an entire season.
It would not be fair to say that you could see the outcome of Tuesday’s game coming, but the Eagles play in the first half hardly indicated any signs that HRV would separate themselves from Hillsboro.
The girls in the first half showed a lot of miscommunication between one another — and it was fairly easy to tell as a spectator, and with the amount of passes down field that rolled to the feet of a Hillsboro defender with no HRV player in sight.
Plenty of through balls were sent up the field, but with nobody on the run for HRV, the possession would often switch right back to Hillsboro.
With that being said, HRV’s defense was a strongpoint in the first half for the Eagles as they were able to hold Hillsboro scoreless despite the Spartans having an edge in time of possession.
After the first half of play, the score was tied 0-0.
HRV raised its level of play right out the gate in the second half and looked like a whole new team compared to the first.
The Eagles came out with an aggressive mindset, forcing Hillsboro to play on their heels as HRV kept the ball on the opposite side of the pitch for the opening five minutes of the second half.
At the 30-minute mark of the second half, HRV’s offense was finally able to get behind the Spartans defense.
A couple of smart decisions with the ball made by the midfielders for HRV led to senior forward DeLaTorre finding space on the right side of the pitch, where she was able to get a touch on the ball before striking a shot within the goalie box for the first score of game.
With 30 minutes remaining, HRV led 1-0.
The minutes following the first score of the season for HRV, the Eagles continued to be in control of possession and were constantly looking for areas up the field to attack.
HRV had a couple of corner opportunities as well as one-on-one scenarios after the score by DeLaTorre, but were unable to finish at the goal.
With under 20 minutes remaining, Hillsboro’s forward Staub answered back and tied the game at 1-1.
That goal changed the entire momentum of the game.
After being on the attack for the majority of the second half, Hillsboro flipped the script on the Eagles and had HRV playing on their heels to close out this game.
HRV rarely threatened to cross midfield in the final 20 minutes of play, while the Spartans were living on the opposite side of the pitch.
Despite continually seeing Hillsboro on the attack, HRV’s defense held strong and didn’t allow a goal until the game clock ticked under one-minute.
Before the final minute, Staub was close to giving Hillsboro a 2-1 lead, but her shot hit the top of the crossbar and went out of bounds with two minutes remaining.
Fast-forward one minute later and Staub, after beating two HRV defenders, found the back of the net in the 79th minute to give Hillsboro a 2-1 lead with only second remaining.
HRV was unable to answer back in the final seconds of the game and loss to the Spartans by a final score of 2-1.
With a 0-2 start to the season, HRV traveled to Franklin on Thursday, Sept. 13 looking for its first win of the season.
Against Franklin the girls were unable to come away with the victory but did end up tying the Quakers 1-1.
With the tie, HRV is now now 0-2-1 ahead of its home matchup versus La Sale Prep on Tuesday, Sept. 18.