Albany — Hood River Valley made the long trip down from East Central Oregon to face the Lady Bulldogs of West Albany Saturday afternoon. Hood River Valley’s match against the Lady Bulldogs was the season opener for the Eagles, while West Albany fell 6-1 to Wilsonville to open their season on Tuesday. This is an ongoing home and home series for these schools, as Hood River Valley is the alma mater of West Albany Head Coach Erik Ihde.
The first half was a hotly contested one, as both the Eagles and Lady Bulldogs were playing physical in the midfield and defensively, with the possession being fairly even throughout the half. In the 16th minute, Hood River Valley put up their first goal of the 2019 season on a goal by Mira Olson, and the Eagles led 1-0 on the road. In the 18th minute, West Albany’s Jenna Sally had a prime shot opportunity at the Eagles, but her shot went wide and kept it a 1-0 match. Ten minutes later, Bethany Marteeny got West Albany in the net with a shot passed the diving goalkeeper and the Lady Bulldogs tied it 1-1. Now, with less than two minutes to go in the half, Annie Berry gave West Albany the lead with her goal and the Lady Bulldogs led 2-1 off the late half momentum at halftime.
Determined to finish off the Eagles, West Albany grabbed firm control of the match offensively in the second half. In the 49th minute, the Lady Bulldogs hit a bullseye with Lily Ruiz’s netter, extending the lead to 3-1 West Albany. After five more minutes of firing shots at will, Morgan Linde found the back of the net and made it a 4-1 Lady Bulldogs lead, turning a strong defensive battle into potentially a blowout. Hood River Valley would finally counter West Albany in the 60th minute, with Vanesa Preciado scoring to cut the lead to 4-2 Lady Bulldogs, but the hole was simply too much to overcome for the Eagles. Despite fighting hard, the Eagles were unable to take control on offense, and Ruiz made it a brace in the 78th minute with West Albany going on to win 5-2 over Hood River Valley.
After the strong second half performance, West Albany’s Lily Ruiz, Annie Berry, and Bethany Morteeny all discussed the victory in the postgame wrap ups. Marteeny on the strong second half offense, “In the first half we were kind of shook a little bit because they pressured us really hard, but in the second half we did a good job switching the points of attack around and it made it more unpredictable for the other team to do anything to stop it.” Berry on the containing Hood River Valley defensively, “Our defense has been doing a lot better, we have some new players so we’ve had to figure that out a little bit at a time with each game. We’ve been working on communication a lot, our team is a lot quieter than in past years so we’ve been working on that.” Ruiz on picking up a brace performance, “It feels good, but my teammates helped me out a lot with that so I have to give a bunch of thanks to them.”
West Albany visits Sprague on Wednesday, Hood River Valley heads to Hillsboro on Tuesday