Saturday, September 2, 2017
The season finally kicked off for HRV boys soccer as they traveled three hours to McMinnville on Thursday to face the 6A Grizzlies.
Last season McMinnville ended their season with a 17-1-1 record and made it to the 6A championship game where they went up against Lakeridge. Lakeridge would outlast McMinnville in penalties and go on to win the title. In the final standing polls McMinnville was ranked third in the state and in the top 100 nationally.
With that being said, this was a game that was not only a challenge, but an opportunity for the Eagles to take advantage of, but the juggernaut of McMinnville was too much for the Eagle boys to get a handle on Thursday as they lost by a score of 2–4.
Shaken by a powerful start from the Grizzlies, the Eagles were forced to up their intensity in order to compete. HRV goal keeper Adrian Lopez made a handful of incredible saves, but was unable to stop two first half McMinnville goals, both clinically placed to the bottom right side of the goal after dribbling past HRV defenders. Although the Eagles struggled to create chances to score in the first half, there were a few hopeful attempts, one by Jack McCaffrey who nearly beat the opposing team’s keeper after making a run into the box.
In the second half, the Eagles came on to the field with a new-found intensity. They were able to keep the Grizzlies from creating many chances on goal and had a handful of free kicks themselves, only to be stopped by the Grizzlies’ wall from the goal. With 15 minutes left in the game, Robby Running came on to the pitch after previously being sidelined from an ankle injury that left him unable to play. Soon after Running was put in, he was played a through ball up the middle by Angel Sonato and was able to volley the ball over the opposing goal keeper and into the back of the net. Unfortunately, McMinnville struck back minutes later when their star striker dribbled down the side line and placed the ball into the bottom left corner. Not long after, McMinnville scored again when they were awarded a penalty because of a foul inside the goal box. The Eagles fought back, and after two blocked shots on goal from inside the box, Westley Carter was able to power a ball past the Grizzlies’ keeper and into the left side of the goal, but this was the end of scoring for both teams.
Starting the season 0–1 wasn’t the plan for the boys heading into this season, but playing a team with a lot of respect throughout the state for their recent success and playing them well for the most part will go a long way for this team despite the loss.
As Head Coach Jaime Rivera has stressed to me time and time again, “If we don’t make a deep run in the playoffs this year it’s because of our head, not because of our talent.” And this loss is a reminder to the team to not stress an early season loss to a great opponent. There are 13 more games this season with the next being at home against Hillsboro on Sept. 5 at Henderson Stadium at 6:30 p.m.