Hood River Valley's Ava Kitt

Hood River Valley's Ava Kitt, left, and Ridgeview forward Lauren Harding collide as they scramble for the ball in Thursday's game in Hood River. At right is Hood River Valley's Amelia Huxtable.

Redmond is the next Intermountain Conference challenge for Hood River’s girls soccer team, which should be battle tested by now after a tough non-league schedule.

The Eagles (1-3-1 overall, 0-0-1 league) completed their non-conference slate Monday against La Salle (result came after the print deadline). Last week, HRV lost 3-0 on the road at high-scoring Madison of Portland but bounced back two days later at home to play IMC opponent Ridgeview to a 0-0 draw.

Coach Amanda Orand liked what she saw from her team, despite going scoreless in the matches.

“Our defense, Karla Barajas, Ana Juarez, Michelle Graves and Sarah Mata Marquez, played quite well as a unit in the back,” Orand said. “They did a good job recovering for one another when we didn’t win the first ball.

“We denied Ridgeview any good looks on goal. Our keeper, Aly Martinez, was playing with an injury, so we did a great job protecting her.”

HRV came within a few feet of pulling out the match, after drawing a foul on the Ravens. Vanesa Preciado’s free kick just cleared the cross bar. Orand said, “We had a couple of good scoring opportunities, (including) a shot from Mira Olson in the first half that was headed in but got blocked. (We had) quite a few corners in the first and second half that Ridgeview did a good job defending.”

Orand adjusted HRV’s defense at halftime to increase pressure on Ridgeview’s forwards. “Our entire team did a phenomenal job of adjusting formations at halftime to give us more woman-to-woman defensive pressure as opposed to marking space,” she said. “Abby McCormack, Amelia Huxtable, Mira Olson and Nayeli Gutierrez showed a wealth of tactical awareness to be able to adjust formations in such a short period of time.”

The Eagles had a much different defensive challenge against speedy Madison. The Senators played diagonal balls behind the HRV defense, and the Eagles had a tough time matching their speed, Orand said. “They had more speed than we did defensively and offensively which can be tricky to compete against in soccer,” she said. “It was a great game to prepare us for entering league play.”

Orand expects the Redmond match to be physical. The Panthers are coming off a 2-1 win against their crosstown rival, Ridgeview. She said the Eagles will have to play smart, composed soccer. “(We need to) share the ball, move off the ball, transition as a team and work for one another,” Orand said. “We are excited for Thursday.”