Columbia River knocks off Meadowdale again to reach state semifinals

Kawawaki's goal lifts River to 1-0 victory

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EDMONDS — For the second time in four seasons, Columbia River met Meadowdale at Edmonds Stadium in a Class 3A girls soccer state quarterfinal.

And for the second time in four years, River came away with a shutout victory.

Easton Kawawaki's goal in the 67th minute off an assist from Emily Kleier sent the Chieftains back to the state semifinals with a 1-0 win over the Mavericks on Saturday.

Back in 2009, River's win over Meadowdale led to a state championship. Meadowdale coach Wade Foley said the 2012 Chieftains are capable of repeating that feat.

"That was a good team we played today," Foley said.

Columbia River will face Liberty of Renton in the 3A semifinal at 2 p.m. Friday at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.

The Chieftains (16-0-2) had only allowed four goals all season with two of those coming on penalty kicks. Meadowdale had only trailed twice all year and never in the second half.

Columbia River opened in a 4-5-1 formation, with the defensive box packed. First-year coach Filomon Afenegus was focused on stopping Meadowdale forwards Tisha Parsley and Emily Crichlow.

"Their forwards up top are probably the two best forwards that we've played against all year," Afenegus said. "They are very good one-on-one and we knew that coming in so we knew we had to defend in groups."

The Chieftains got a few scary chances in the first half, but Mavs keeper Ashley Routh made save after save, including punching two balls away with one hand in a two minute period during the opening half.

Afenegus made a lineup change that he felt helped his team push the action in the second half and score.

"We just changed our formation," the Chieftains coach said. "We saw that there was space in front of their back line, so we played with two forwards up top instead of one."

The breakthrough happened in the 67th minute in a transition after the Mavs took the ball deep in the Cheiftains end.

Kleier found a sprinting Kawawaki, who beat the Meadowdale back line and her uncontested shot gave Routh no chance at a save.

Kawawaki grabbed her head as if she couldn't believe it. The Mavs had a hard time come to grips with what just happened as well.

"It was just a transition and we got caught up… They beat our last defender," Foley said. "Once you get beat, you are beat. Then when you are behind it's a tough thing to play catch up."

After falling behind, the Mavs threw everything they had at the Chieftains and nearly got the coveted equalizer in the 71st minute.

Co-captain Roslyn Stapleton took a corner kick and delivered it into the goalie box, where Kendall Raecker got a strong head on the ball, but keeper Haley Case absorbed the shot squarely into her upper chest.

"In the last 15 minutes we threw everything at them," Foley said. "We just couldn't put it between the wickets. That's just the way it goes."