After beginning the season with a win, The Dalles High Riverhawks (1-1) boys soccer team had hopes of making it two in row in a nonleague matchup Sept. 9 on the road against the No. 7- ranked Parkrose Broncos (1-1-1) in Portland. But the Broncos’ ball movement and more experience lineup were among the factors in Parkrose’s 1-0 win.
The Riverhawks won their season opener at home, 3-2, over the La Grande Tigers (0-1) Sept. 2. Freshman Hulises Najera had the game-winning goal and he also scored on a penalty kick to help lead The Dalles to the victory over the Class 4A Greater Oregon League opponent.
The Dalles first-year Coach Jesus Granados said of Parkrose: “They (Broncos) move the ball very well and they position the ball well from sideline to sideline and just kind of open up play in the center of the field. We were able to contain them a little better in the second half, but they’re a very good team. We were able to create a couple of opportunities near the end of the game, but we couldn’t capitalize on it. Hulises Najera had a nice header in the first half that he was almost able to score on.”
The Hawks’ next chance for a win is Thursday, 7 p.m. at Hillsboro. The Dalles plays its first Intermountain Conference game Sept. 23 at 5 p.m. versus the Crook County Cowboys (0-3) at the Wahtonka campus.
Assistant Coach Matt Dallman, last year’s head coach, said the Riverhawks should be in the thick of the IMC race. “Hood River and Ridgeview are the top contenders in the IMC this year, but I think that we can compete well with all the teams in our league,” he said. “Pendleton has a solid squad. Redmond and Crook County are improving teams and they’re always getting consistently better every time we play them. We have a good, solid and competitive team that is going to do very well in our league. Whenever we put together a good performance and play consistently well anything is possible and you never know what can happen.”
There were spurts of that against Parkrose. The Dalles had a couple of good scoring chances, but Parkrose scored a goal midway through the first half to take a 1-0 halftime advantage.
“I was definitely hoping to score a goal,” said Najera, a freshman. “Parkrose is a very tough team, which was something that we didn’t expect to see, and I think we were surprised about how well they played. They were definitely a stronger opponent than La Grande. We will play better in our next game. I’m hoping to be the leading scorer on our team and that would be cool.”
Parkrose had control of the ball for a majority of the time on offense in the second half. The Broncos were firing shots often at Riverhawk sophomore goalkeeper Luciano Alvarado (seven saves). The Hawks appeared to be lucky to have just one goal scored against them. Alvarado made many leaping and acrobatic type saves while diving onto the grass or jumping high into the air to keep the ball out of the net.
“It was a hard game, and we had some errors that hurt a little, but it wasn’t too bad,” said Alvarado, who did a tremendous job in allowing just one goal. “They (Broncos) are a more experienced team (10 seniors) and we’re much younger with only three seniors and three juniors on our team. We had a pretty good performance, and we played a strong game. Alex Wood, Grey Roetcisoender and Harry Proctor helped us a lot on defense. and they deserve lots of credit for holding Parkrose scoreless in the second half.”
Alvarado and his teammates did a great job of constantly clearing the ball out away from the box to help keep the Hawks within striking distance throughout the game while trailing by just one goal.
“We played pretty good defense, but we still have some things that we need to work on in practice,” said Granados.
The Dalles had an opportunity late in the match when sophomore right wing Jack McAllister delivered an accurate pass into the box to senior Alex Wood, whose shot was deflected by a Parkrose defender with time running out.
The Dalles had just three shots as the Bronco defense played solid defense while preventing the Hawks from having any sustained offensive scoring opportunities near the Parkrose goal area throughout the contest.