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Columbia River soccer gets by R.A. Long to clinch spot in 2A state playoffs

Rapids prevail 5-4 in penalty kick shootout to reach 2A district championship game

By Will Denner, Columbian staff writer
Published: November 1, 2022, 10:21pm

Playoff soccer and late-game drama typically go hand in hand among Southwest Washington’s Class 2A teams.

And few teams are more well-versed in those moments than perennial power Columbia River.

Tuesday’s district semifinal game against R.A. Long was the latest such moment for the Rapids, and they thrived in it.

After R.A. Long’s Emily Anderson scored the game-tying goal late in regulation, a 1-1 stalemate extended through two scoreless overtime periods, sending the game to a penalty kick shootout.

River and R.A. Long each converted their first four penalty kicks, before the Lumberjills’ fifth attempt sailed wide right. River goalkeeper Alia Rust stepped up to take the fifth PK and put it through to give River a 5-4 advantage, clinching a trip to the district championship and the 2A state playoffs.

“It means a lot,” Rust said. “We worked so hard today, and both teams are just amazing.”

Rust’s game-winning score followed successful PKs from River’s Andie Buckley, Logann Dukes, Ava Lapinskas and Peyton Dukes, while R.A. Long’s Emily Anderson, Alice Anderson, Kathryn Chapin and Madison Fierst also converted to knot the two teams after four rounds.

R.A. Long’s miss to start the fifth round opened the door for Rust, who’s typically part of the Rapids’ PK lineup in addition to playing keeper. The senior calmly slotted a shot in the bottom right corner past R.A. Long keeper Kendra Chapin.

The Rapids appeared to be on their way to a win in regulation during a second-half stretch with a number of chances that came close to finding the net, including a couple via corner kicks from Buckley and Peyton Dukes, but several were saved by Chapin.

Dukes stepped up to take another corner that looked to be on target for a teammate to head into the net. Instead, Dukes bended the corner over the outstretched arms of Chapin, and the ball tucked under the crossbar for an unassisted goal. Dukes scored in the same fashion from the exact spot on O’Rourke Field during a 2-0 win over Hockinson on Oct. 24.

“I honestly wasn’t planning that,” Dukes said, “but last game against Hockinson when it happened, I give credit to (assistant coach Ryan Callahan), because he told me to shoot it. He just gave me confidence to do that.”

Yet R.A. Long, the only team to defeat River during the regular season in the 2A Greater St. Helens League, didn’t go quietly.

The Lumberjills earned a free kick near midfield with only minutes left in regulation and used some misdirection to get into scoring position.

Kathryn Chapin faked taking the free kick, and instead, ran out wide upfield to receive the kick from Alice Anderson. Chapin then crossed into the box, and after taking a high bounce off of a River player, Emily Anderson flew in to head the ball past River for the score.

For the Rapids, the key to regrouping from the Lumberjills’ equalizer happened between stoppages in play when the team gathered to calm each other down.

“It was getting a little frantic here and there,” Rust said, “and we really just bound together and calmed each other down.”

“We just work so well as a group,” Peyton Dukes added. “It’s from all the team-building, and that really helped us pull through at the end.”

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River will play Tumwater in Thursday’s district championship game after the Thunderbirds also battled through a PK shootout against Ridgefield on Tuesday to reach the championship. And regardless of Thursday’s result, River will be playing on in the 2A state playoffs with a chance to return to the final four after finishing third in 2021.

“Really excited, especially (for) our seniors, to get another run at it,” Rust said.

2A District

TUMWATER 3, RIDGEFIELD 2 (12-11 PK shootout) — The Spudders fell short in an epic penalty-kick shootout that lasted 15 rounds in the district semifinals.

Tumwater led 2-0 in the second half before Claire Jones scored twice in three minutes. She scored in the 66th minute, then converted a penalty kick two minutes later.

WASHOUGAL 2, ABERDEEN 1 (4-3 PK shootout) — Makenzi Gehrke made two saves in a penalty kick shootout as the Panthers won a loser-out game on the road.

Jaden Leonard’s second-half goal put the Panthers ahead with 20 minutes to play. The Bobcats tied the game in the final minute of regulation.

HOCKINSON 3, W.F. WEST 1 — Abby Dombrow scored two goals in a loser-out game. The Hawks will face R.A. Long in the third-place semifinal Thursday with the winner clinching a state berth.

4A Bi-District

TAHOMA 3, UNION 2 — Avery Schilling scored two goals, both assisted by Haleigh Miller, as the Titans fell short in a loser-out game on the road.

KENTRIDGE 1, SKYVIEW 0 — The Storm’s season came to an end with the loss to Kentridge.