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June 26, 2022

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Columbia River soccer relishes return to state tournament, rolls past W.F. West 5-1

Nate Bertolino, Alex Harris score two goals each in Rapids' first state game since 2019

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
8 Photos
Columbia River's Alexander Brown, right, heads the ball at the goal as WF West's Hayden Sciera, left, and Ezra Bolin, center defend in the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs.
Columbia River's Alexander Brown, right, heads the ball at the goal as WF West's Hayden Sciera, left, and Ezra Bolin, center defend in the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs. (Photo by Steve Dipaola) Photo Gallery

The Columbia River boys soccer team played its first state tournament game in three years on Tuesday.

Where were some of this year’s Rapids in 2019?

“I was a freshman,” senior Nate Bertolino said. “I was just on JV … watching our varsity go to state.”

“I wasn’t even at River yet,” junior Alex Harris said, who was still in middle school in 2019.

But both were very present on Tuesday at Kiggins Bowl, scoring two goals each as the top-seeded Rapids rolled past W.F. West of Chehalis 5-1 in a Class 2A state first-round match.

It was the perfect start for River after the pandemic wiped out state play the past two seasons.

“They are relishing the moment,” River coach Filomon Afenegus said. “To have lost the last couple of years and have an opportunity to try to make a run and see how far we can go, they are really, really soaking it all up. It’s been to fun to see how excited they are for these state games.”

The Rapids wasted no time in relishing their state experience with Bertolino punched in a rebound of a shot by Alex Brown less than two minutes into the match.

“AB just took a shot at the top of the box,” Bertolino said. “We were talking about it in warmups. We were talking about their keeper, that he might have been a little shaky. So we were talking about following up our shots.”

Harris helped River take a 3-0 lead with two goals in a two-minute span midway through the first half.

“I was telling the midfielders on the team, just look for me behind (his defender) because that’s where I’m going to be all game,” Harris said. “So a couple of (passes) got through, and I just made sure to put them in the back of the net.”

After W.F. West scored to cut the margin to 3-1, Alex Brown converted a header off a corner to give River a 4-1 lead at halftime.

Bertolino’s second goal early in the second half helped seal the win for River (21-0), The Rapids’ 19th win this season by at least three goals gave the starters to rest up for their next playoff game.

“The players are definitely excited,” Afenegus said. “We’re looking forward to being in the quarterfinals and seeing if we can make it into the final four.”

Next up for the Rapids is No. 9 seed Othello, a 2-0 winner over Clover Park on Tuesday.

“I would get the game will be Saturday, but stranger things have happened,” Afenegus said.

Yeah, like going three years between state tournament chances.


Columbia River

Goals — Nate Bertolino (Alex Brown); Alexander Harris; Harris; Brown; Bertolino. Goalkeeper saves — Cameron Harris 3, Eli Smith 0.

W.F. West

Goal (assist) — Ezra Bolin (Josh Silva). Goalkeeper saves — Hayden Sciera 8, Josh Madrigal 1.

Halftime — Columbia River 4-1.

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