Ridgefield soccer team strikes first for win at state

Two early goals spark Spudders to 3-1 victory

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

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RIDGEFIELD -- A dominating first half and a workmanlike second carried the Ridgefield boys soccer team into the Class 2A state quarterfinals.

Scoring two early goals, the Spudders beat visiting Kingston 3-1 on Wednesday in the first round of the state tournament.

Kyle Morris, Jared Williams and Tanner Konkright scored the goals, and goalkeeper Dalton Reis came up big when he had to for Ridgefield.

The Spudders (17-3-1) advance to face Bellingham in Saturday's state quarterfinals, likely in the afternoon at Battle Ground's District Stadium.

The theme of the day on Wednesday for Ridgefield was: Be first. And the Spudders were that in the first half, winning almost any contested ball and dominating possession on their grass field dampened by showers.

And the home team wasted little time scoring.

Less than four minutes into the game, Morris placed a perfect header into the upper right corner off a Konkright cross. The play started with a corner kick, and the ball ended up back on Konkright's foot on the right wing. His second cross found Morris about eight yards from the far post.

"There was a guy behind me but I got it pretty square," Morris said.

The lead doubled in the 16th minute on a similar play after Kingston failed to clear another Ridgefield corner kick. This time left back Brad Abella collected the ball and sent a return cross that found its way through traffic for Williams to put home.

"It kind of bounced through a couple of people. I took a touch and hit it far post," Williams said. "Right place at the right time."

Kingston looked out of place and didn't have much time on the ball in the first half.

"We talked before the game about being first to the ball, whether it's in the air or on the ground," Ridgefield coach Jason Staley said. "I thought the guys did a great job of that in the first half."

Kingston almost got a goal back four minutes before halftime when Ross Burk broke toward goal from the left wing. But Reis made two quick saves.

The Ridgefield goalkeeper was much busier after halftime as the Buccaneers became more assertive, and moved more players forward.

In the 48th minute, Reis tipped away a free kick by Kingston's top scorer Nick Boles, the first of four his second-half saves.

Konkright, a senior playing in his eighth state tournament game, put away the match with 6:08 remaining. He struck a free kick from 35 yards that seemed to surprise Kingston keeper Alex Worland and sailed under the crossbar for a 3-0 Ridgefield lead.

"I was just trying to bury it to be honest. I was trying to end the game," Konkright said.

Kingston kept coming, and finally broke through when Moises Larios scored. But with 2.7 seconds showing on the clock, it was clear Ridgefield would be the team moving forward in the tournament.