The Class 2A Greater St. Helens League season primed the Columbia River girls soccer team for the state playoffs.
Tuesday, the Chieftains put that preparation into action.
Columbia River beat Olympic of Bremerton 3-1 in a first-round match at Kiggins Bowl.
Katie Lee, Katie Anthony and Ava Greer scored as the Chieftains secured a berth in the quarterfinals. River will host North Kitsap, likely on Saturday.
Columbia River (16-3-1) entered Tuesday on a 13-match winning streak, its last defeat coming to Hockinson on Sept. 20.
The Chieftains have focused on keeping that momentum through districts and into state. Having prevailed in a tough league with Hockinson and Ridgefield gave Columbia River confidence.
“I feel like beating Hockinson and Ridgefield, then coming out in the first seed gave us a lot of motivation to keep going and pushing,” Anthony said. “We know we can do it.”
River, which won a state title in 2012 and placed third in 2014 at the 3A ranks, is hoping for another deep run at state.
“We haven’t accomplished as much as we know we’re capable of,” River coach Filomon Afenegus said. “It would be foolish for us to take our foot off the gas right now. We’re hungry, we’re determined and we’re looking forward to practice tomorrow. That’s our mentality.”
Olympic (16-3-0) of Bremerton went undefeated in the 2A Olympic League, but lost in its district tournament on Saturday to White River.
But Columbia River controlled the pace and possession for much of Tuesday’s match.
“If you keep the ball, they can’t score,” Afenegus said. “Possessing the ball and finding the right time to attack is important.”
Katie Lee opened the scoring with 15:30 left in the first half. She looped a shot over the leaping goalkeeper from 15 yards after Ellie Walker’s pass found Lee open to the left of the goal.
Olympic pressed forward early in the second half, but River had regained control within 10 minutes. With 12:30 to play, the Chieftains got a valuable insurance goal when Anthony corralled a loose ball in front of the goal, then had her shot deflect off a defender into the goal.
Ava Greer put River ahead 3-0 with a low shot from 20-yards went inside the left post. Olympic scored its only goal with three minutes left.