An impassioned postgame team meeting following a 3-1 loss to Ridgeview on Tuesday demonstrated the Crescent Valley High boys soccer team still had the desire to be a quality side.
The next task for the Raiders – who fell to 0-2-2 with the home field loss to the visiting Ravens – is turning that heartfelt emotion into positive action, starting with Thursday night’s nonleague game against Marist Catholic in Eugene.
“It’s all mental,” CV coach Kyle Calder said after he and numerous players had said their piece in an attempt to clear the air and get the Raiders back on track for postseason competition.
“It’s not the technical ability, a lack of ability or a desire to win,” all of which he’s seen through the first third of the season.
“I’ve seen moments where we play very well for five or 10 minutes, then we lose it. We’re up and down, and that’s what leads to losing 3-1 instead of winning 3-1.”
CV fell behind early on Tuesday but rallied to tie 1-1 at halftime on a goal by John Sievert. One of six seniors on a young side that graduated numerous starters from a team that lost to eventual state semifinalist Bend in overtime in the opening round of the 5A playoffs, Sievert neatly redirected a cross from senior Marco Sanchez into the net.
But CV couldn’t muster another score, and Ridgeview (2-2) went ahead 2-1 midway through the second half. The Ravens then scored the clincher with about two minutes remaining.
Junior midfielder Mattin Khoshzabar said his teammates know where the road back to playoff contention begins.
“It starts with leadership,” he said. “We have the leadership in practice, now we need to step it up in the games. I believe in us. I think we can get this turned around.”
CV has two nonleague games remaining before starting Mid-Willamette Conference/Special District 3 action against West Albany on Sept. 25. Only the top four teams from the league (based on RPI) will advance to postseason.
CV stands 20th overall and seventh among MWC teams following Tuesday’s loss, so the turnaround must happen soon if the Raiders hope to make the postseason.
“We had a lot of turnover and we have a lot of young guys, that’s part of it,” Calder said. “We are close and we need to turn the switch on to start being a good team.”