WASHOUGAL — When the Rabus triplets of Washougal soccer visualize their perfect goal, it goes something like this.
Emily Rabus wins the ball in her defensive midfielder position. She passes it to the wing, where Molly Rabus takes it down the sideline. The ball is then crossed to Lauren Rabus, a striker, who volleys a shot into the net.
The Rabus triplets are a treat for Washougal soccer — seniors who have all played on varsity for four years.
The Panthers have posted winning records in each of their three previous seasons. This year, Washougal is 9-4 overall and 7-4 in the 2A Greater St. Helens League, narrowly behind traditional statewide powers Columbia River, Hockinson and Ridgefield.
Call it DNA or call it intuition. The Rabuses are rarely not on the same page.
“They know each other’s tendencies,” Washougal coach Kristin Beauchamp said. “If you look at our stat sheet, it’s often two of them getting an assist and a goal.”
Emily barely hesitates when passing forward to create a scoring chance.
“I automatically feed it up to Lauren without looking,” Emily said. “I kick it and she’s right there.”
For all they have in common (Lauren and Emily are identical while Molly is fraternal), each sister has plenty that’s unique.
After they started playing soccer in elementary school, each gravitated toward a different position.
“I like to pass it around more than dink around with the ball,” Emily said of playing in the midfield.
Lauren, on the other hand, has a gimme-that-ball approach. That has led to her scoring a team-high 20 goals this season.
“I really like to take people on and shoot,” she said. “It’s satisfying. It has always been what I like to do.”
When you add Molly’s distance-covering wing play and the workhorse mentality that requires, you get a combination that’s better than its individual parts.
“Growing up, we didn’t always have best friends on the soccer team, so we were always together,” Molly said. “We work the best together because we’ve been playing for so long. It’s habit.”
Family connections on Washougal aren’t limited to the Rabuses. Another pair of sisters, senior Paige Maas and sophomore Jamie Maas, are key players for the Panthers.
It’s that family atmosphere that has the Panthers cherishing the culmination of this season and, for the Rabuses, their high school careers.
“High school soccer in general is a very special experience,” Beauchamp said. “It’s not like club soccer. Being that it’s their senior year and we’re right there in the mix in a very competitive league, it’s very cool for them.”