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Feb. 5, 2023

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Columbia River beats White River to reach 2A state girls soccer quarterfinals

Buckley's PK in 74th minute then go-ahead goal

By , Columbian staff writer, and
The Columbian
Published:

What’s been a given for Columbia River girls soccer for the past decade is playing soccer in November. Player personnel come and go, but River in the state playoffs has been the mainstay.

And so goes winning state playoff matches, too, including Wednesday’s 2-1 first-round victory over White River.

That sends the Rapids (17-3) to the Class 2A state quarterfinals at Fife, likely Saturday. Game time and date will be determined Thursday.

Andie Buckley’s goal off a penalty kick broke a 1-all tie in the 74th minute of a physical game against the third-place team from the 2A South Puget Sound League.

Columbia River dominated possession for much of the game, which included a scoreless first half and controlling total shots (7-0), yet no goals to show for it.

It wasn’t until the 50th minute when the Rapids struck first as Ava Lapinskas found Anna Iniguez, who fired from close range for the game’s first goal.

The backside run is what Iniguez and Lapinskas have worked on all season. And Wednesday, it came to fruition.

“They always haven’t worked,” Iniguez said, “but we’re always on the same page. This time, I saw it and she saw it and we connected perfectly. It all came together … and Ava played a beautiful ball.

White River (12-4-1) capitalized with the equalizer just three minutes later on its third shot of the game.

And a host of other opportunities followed, but a penalty kick awarded to Columbia River led to the eventual game winner.

Buckley’s chance came after freshman Peyton Dukes was fouled on the edge of the box in the 74th minute.

No pressure is too great for the senior, her teammates said. The shot was Buckley’s seventh goal of the season to go along with her team-high 12 assists.

“She always keeps her composure, and it’s such an amazing thing,” Iniguez said.

Rapids’ goalkeeper Alia Rust made four saves.

For Columbia River, this marks its 10th consecutive state playoff appearance, which includes three titles and a trio of other state placings. Given no state playoffs were held during the spring’s condensed season, River officially is the defending state champion.

Iniguez, veteran midfielder Sydney Johnson, plus a host of other current Rapids were part of the 2019 championship team that went 21-1 and outscored opponents 84-8.

This year’s Rapids team features a balanced attack with a plus-40 goal differential, and ready to make their own playoff tradition.

With a host of experience to back it up.

“It’s such a special feeling, and not a lot of people get to experience it,” said Johnson, a midfielder and also a starter on the 2019 championship team. “It’s so hard to tell everything what it was like; you can’t really do it. Just inspiring them (teammates) every day and letting them know that feeling of greatness is there, and we can reach it. But we have to take it one step at a time.”

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