PORTLAND—Although hurt about Wednesday’s 5-0 state-opening loss at the hands of No. 1-ranked La Salle Prep, The Dalles head coach Matthew Dallman walked away optimistic about where the program is headed in the future.
“I am extremely proud of my players,” said Dallman, who earned Intermountain Conference Coach of the Year honors the second time in his career. “We showed improvement throughout the year. In the last five games of the season, I think we had only one loss and the way we started out compared to the way we finished, I think you saw the way the whole team grew and matured. I am very proud of how the team grew together this year.”
On the year, TD stumbled out to an 0-4 start, but then won four of their next six matches.
Following a tie with Pendleton, The Dalles lost to Ridgeview, beat Redmond by a 3-0 score and dropped Hood River Valley for the first time in school history, 3-2, on Oct. 31 to solidify their playoff position.
“When I took over, I remember telling this freshman class, now seniors, that before they left high school that they would beat Hood River,” Dallman said. “It took them until their last try, but I am so proud of them. That game, in my eyes, was a good showing of how much the program has grown and where it is headed and the future success that we should have.”
Dallman loses some scoring punch and veteran leadership with the likes of Alberto Gallegos, Andy Lopez, Jorge Gutierrez and Miguel Aguilar, but there are seven sophomores, three freshmen, five juniors and a handful of incoming freshmen ready to reload the roster.
In four years under Dallman, the Hawks have earned a postseason spot in every season, so with the continued growth and development, the expectations are in place.
“You just have to tell them to keep their heads up, keep trying and to not give up,” senior Miguel Aguilar said. “I know this team can win a state championship. We got good players coming up next year. This year, we didn’t get our full team, so I think next year we will have a different group that will be more talented. They just have to give their all.”
As an all-league freshman varsity player, Fabian Canchola is one of many underclassmen, who will carry the torch to continue building upon the foundation.
He knows that there are greater things ahead and spoke on how using focus and preparation are key components for this team, that will further highlight the temperament of this group moving forward.
“I know that we are all hungry for more wins and more goals,” Canchola said. “I hope next year that we can come in and use what the seniors showed us, what we need to do on the field, and play better.
“All this passion that we have inside of us was because of coach Matt and these players, Miguel, Beto (Alberto Gallegos) and Andy. They showed us what it takes and that will help us get to the top.”
After picking up second team league awards as a junior, Lopez caps his varsity career with a spot on the first team. Most of all, Lopez flourished as a playmaker and locker room presence on an inexperienced team.
“I feel like I accomplished what I wanted to in my last year,” Lopez said. “I didn’t start my high school career how I wanted to, but I felt like I ended it pretty well. It is an emotional ending, but I am proud of what we were able to do as a team.”
TD makes history versus HRV
A huge momentum-building victory could be the right recipe for surging The Dalles boys soccer team.
In another historic TD achievement, the Riverhawks defeated Hood River Valley for the first time in program history by a 3-2 score on Halloween night in Intermountain Conference soccer action at Wahtonka.
“Beating Hood River was a big thing for us,” said senior Andy Lopez. “We had been trying to beat them for the past four years, so it was a great feeling to accomplish that.”
In the opening half, TD jumped ahead 2-0 on a goal by Fabian Canchola on an assist by Alberto Gallegos at the 16-minute mark.
Just four minutes later, Lopez assisted on a goal by Miguel Leon to increase the Hawk lead to 2-0.
Hood River Valley inched closer at 2-1 at the 25-minute mark, but TD answered back immediately with an unassisted goal from Miguel Leon in the 26th minute.
“Our first half was our best performance of the year,” TD head coach Matthew Dallman said. “We were all over Hood River’s defense.”
HRV scored eight minutes into the second half, but The Dalles defense held off a late charge and scored the program’s first win against Hood River Valley.
In 2018, the Hawks salvaged a 2-2 tie and a 2-1 loss against the Eagles.
“Our entire team was solid,” Dallman said. “From our defense, midfield, and attack, they showed a lot of heart and a lot of emotion in this game, which is what I feel we have been missing a lot of this season.
“When they play the way they did tonight, and put emotion and passion into their performances, it’s not surprising to me that they just beat the team who won our conference.”