A lot has changed for senior Greer Snellman since the last time Columbia River boys’ soccer team was making its traditional postseason run.
For starters, his hair is much longer; he now has to tie it back when he plays.
He also wears the captain’s armband.
And, oh yeah, this time he’s scoring goals.
For just the third time in his high school career and for the third consecutive game, Snellman found the back of the net. In the 22nd minute, the ball bounced softly to Snellman, who launched a left-footed laser into the corner of the goal to jumpstart the Rapids in a 2-0 win over Aberdeen in a 2A Southwest District semifinal on Thursday at Columbia River High School.
“That was a special one,” Snellman said.
Nathan Bertolino added the second goal before the first 40 minutes concluded on a rebound from Alex Brown’s long-range shot.
The Rapids controlled the game from start to finish and left little doubt about the outcome.
Much like Snellman, there’s a few differences for Columbia River since a 2A state championship game appearance in 2019.
Not only are they now called the Rapids, but the majority of players who started Thursday were just young sophomores when River was a win away from a second state title.
The graduating classes of the past two years were star-studded, and this year’s group had to wait their turn. Now given the opportunity, they’re making the most of it.
The Rapids are 10-0 this season, outscoring opponents 32-4 leading up to Saturday’s championship game with Tumwater, a 4-1 winner over Woodland.
With an abbreviated postseason this year, River coach Filly Afenegus and his coaching staff have approached things a little differently. Usually there is a slow build as the team progresses to the state tournament and advances in the bracket. This year, with three district games in a week, it’s a challenge to make sure everyone is fit to play.
“We’ve had to change a ton of stuff,” Afenegus said. “Just managing training loads and all those types of things has definitely been a challenge. But we’re here, we’re relatively healthy and hopefully we can stay hungry for the championship game.”
The Rapids will travel to Tumwater District Stadium to take on the Thunderbirds for a chance at a fourth straight district title. And as everything seems to be for Columbia River, it will be a little different ending the season without a chance to add a second star — symbolizing program state titles — to the jersey.
“We all wish we had state,” Snellman said. “But if we can win districts, that will really complete our season.”