SUMNER — Among the pictures with teammates, hugs from family and friends, celebratory chants, tears and all the other mayhem that goes on in the moments after winning a program-first state championship, senior Jack Kolosvary tried his best to soak it all up.
The 23-0 season without a tie, or even a forced extra time. The 15 shutouts. And the seven postseason wins that earned Columbia River its best season in the history of its boys soccer program.
Oh, and his brace — two goals — that lifted the Chieftains to a 2-0 win over Burlington-Edison in the 2A state title game at Sunset Chev Stadium on Saturday.
Kolosvary was nearly speechless. So his teammates did all the talking for him.
“This dude has been coming up clutch all season,” goalkeeper Reilly Burke said. “Not only that, but he’s been the best leader. At times when I’ve been down, he’s been there to lift me up and that’s just so inspiring to me and everyone else. [He] deserves the freaking world.”
Kolosvary was not the only River senior who was at a loss for words. Ryan Connop, who along with Kolosvary, Burke and defender Candler Bolte have been teammates on varsity all four years. Back as freshmen, they told each other that a state title was possible, and that they were capable of something special.
Turns out it was a self-fulfilled prophecy.
“There’s no replicating this moment,” said Connop. “It’s crazy, and I’m so happy I was able to do it with my best friends alongside me.”
The Chieftains came in with the better record, but from the opening whistle, Burlington-Edison made it known it would not be intimidated.
The Tigers were physical. But River fought back.
“They hit us in the mouth, I was not expecting that,” Connop said. “They came out strong, and I felt like majority of the game they had majority of possession. But we were able to get two goals off set pieces and we were just more clinical than them.”
In the end, the referee neared double digits in yellow cards, and sent several players off with red cards. When the chippy play and confrontations didn’t subside after a stoppage time red card to Burlington-Edison, the game was called.
“We were able to keep our heads,” Connop said.
Kolosvary’s first strike came in the 24th minute on a set piece a yard outside the 18-yard box. After two decoy players ran up to kick the ball, and peeled off, Kolosvary’s hard-hit blast deflected off the side of the wall and misdirected into the net uncontested.
Kolosvary immediately took off running in the opposite direction in celebration, and his teammates followed.
“I just have to thank the soccer gods for that one,” Kolosvary said. “It’s an unreal feeling. I don’t usually celebrate, but I felt like that was a fitting moment to do so.”
The game went back-and-forth and, at times, Burlington-Edison showed speed in its attack. But Kolosvary’s second goal three minutes into the second half was the insurance River needed.
Jake Connop was tackled late by a defender just inside the 18-yard box and Kolosvary scored the ensuing penalty kick.
“Our intensity got better, but we were able to calm down too, settle down and feel comfortable,” Bolte said.
Head coach Filly Afenegus, along with JV coach Ryan Callahan, cap a school year with a landmark moment for the program months after they led took River girls program to the state title game in November.
“I’m super excited for (the players),” Afenegus said. “We get to put a banner in the gym, star on their jersey, trophy in the cabinet, so there’s a lot to celebrate.”
When pressed about how the seniors — particularly the four-year varsity players — became such solid leaders, they deflected.
“I wouldn’t say it’s us,” Kolosvary said. “It’s the previous generations,”
Said Ryan Connop: “We had great leaders before us that passed on what they knew to us, and we’re just carrying on their legacy. We’re asking the people below us to carry on our legacy.”
2A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
At Sunset Chev Stadium
COLUMBIA RIVER 2, BURLINGTON-EDISON 0
Goals (assists) — Jack Kolosvary (unassisted); Jack Kolosvary (penalty kick). Goalkeepers — Reilly Burke, David Gonzalez.
Halftime — 1-0.