The boys soccer teams from Hood River Valley and The Dalles High School opened league play March 12, when the host Eagles scored two early goals in a 3-0 win.
Hood River Coach Jaime Rivera said his team set a different tone in the win compared to its 5-2 season-opening loss to defending Class 6A champion Franklin.
“They put us on our heels, so we wanted to come out and make sure we did that to the opponent tonight,” Rivera said.
Hood River senior midfielder Omar Escobedo fired the Eagles’ first goal home in the sixth minute. Halfway through minute 12, junior midfielder Jaden Dubon headed-in a second goal for Hood River.
HRV players yelled, “It’s zero-zero, let’s go,” as they set up for the following kickoff. Rivera said the mantra reflects the team’s focus on keeping its composure after goals, whether they’re scoring or conceding.
The Dalles Coach Matthew Dallman said his team “cleaned things up” after the early goals. He credited Escobedo for an unstoppable shot and Dubon for capitalizing on a mistake by the Riverhawk defense.
“The first goal was just an unbelievable shot. Sometimes you can’t really do much but just put your hand up and say, ‘Great goal’,” Dallman said.
Dallman said he was “very happy” with how his team played most of the game.
The Dalles sent two shots past Eagle senior goalkeeper Andrew Mondragon on either side of halftime but missed the net with both.
A series of Riverhawk chances starting with a hard shot into the crossbar with 11:30 left showed promise until the game’s final minute. Sophomore midfielder Fabian Canchola drew a penalty kick in the 81st minute, but senior defender Omar Torres’ shot went wide right.
With 1:20 left in regulation, The Dalles brought all but one of its players up for a corner kick. HRV defended the corner and was able to beat the lone Riverhawk back for a breakaway with two long passes. Senior goalkeeper Jaime Castro came out to the edge of his box for a charging save. Castro matched the save with a similar one in stoppage time, but Hood River junior midfielder Cody Cornejo chipped in the rebound for the game’s final goal.
The two teams will meet again to conclude league play Thursday April 1 in The Dalles.