‘High expectations’

Eagles will push aggressive offense as team strategy this season

With eight returning varsity players and seven seniors on the roster this season, Hood River Valley High School boys soccer is looking to repeat as Columbia River Conference champions and improve upon last year’s second-round state playoff elimination.

The team, led by third-year varsity head coach Jaime Rivera, is training hard for the start of the season, and especially for its home opener Tuesday against Rex Putnam, which knocked the Eagles out of last year’s state tournament in a double-overtime match that ended in a shootout.

“We have high expectations for this year’s squad, and that’s how we’re moving forward,” Rivera said this week. Last season the team shared the district title with Hermiston; an achievement Rivera says he doesn’t intend on splitting again this year. “We definitely want the title all to ourselves and are aiming to go deeper into the state tournament this year. We’re setting high benchmarks and are going to work hard to accomplish them.”

Rivera said 70 kids were on the pitch two weeks ago for tryouts, which is the highest number he’s seen in eight years of working with the team. Along with a solid group of seniors to provide leadership, the team will look to young talent to step-up to the varsity level and secure the future of the program.

“We’re fortunate to have had so many players to choose from this year,” Rivera said. “We’ve got some hot talent. Obviously senior leadership is going to be very important, but we’ve also got some good younger guys to add to the equation.” Rivera pointed to Giovanni Magana, the only freshman to make the varsity squad, as one such example. “He’s a very high-level player; probably one of the top 30 in the nation for his age.”

Another interesting addition to the team is senior Camile Buursma, a Dutch exchange student who has a solid background with European club soccer. Senior goalkeeper Alonzo Mendiola returns to anchor the defensive line after earning CRC’s Goalkeeper of the Year honors last season. Other seniors are Oscar Bacerra (defender), Jose Muro (defender) Ceasar Romero (midfielder), Sean Lund (midfielder) and Jerry Murillo (midfielder).

About this year’s strategy, Rivera said, “Our focus is going to be a more fast-paced attack up front. It’s a shift from the possession-based approach we’ve had in recent years, but it’s a necessary step.

“What I’ve learned in the last few years is that high school soccer is very different from club soccer. Players are generally not as finely tuned as club teams. We need to take that into consideration, see where there is the most room for improvement and take steps to do it. For us that translates to finding ways to score more goals.”

The team’s schedule opens with Rex Putnam (Sept. 4, 6 p.m. at HRVHS) and is followed by road games at Sandy, Lincoln and David Douglas before returning home Sept. 25 against Wilsonville. League play starts Oct. 2 with a home match against Pendleton.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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