The old saying is you can’t count on anything in life but death and taxes. There might be a third thing to add to this list – the Columbia River High School girls soccer team reaching the state semifinals.
The Rapids clinched their seventh straight trip to the Final Four on Saturday with a 3-0 victory over R.A. Long at John O’Rourke Field.
Columbia River avenged its only loss of the season, which came to the Lumberjills in the district tournament eight days earlier.
Saturday, the Rapids dominated, controlling the ball most of the time and used an outside-in approach to apply constant pressure to the R.A. Long defense.
“We wanted to get the ball to the outside and cross it in,” senior defender Rachel Hagerty said. “They are very strong up the middle.”
Columbia River notched the first goal of the game in the ninth minute on a penalty-kick goal by Ivy Henderson. Johnson and Juliana Rapp notched second-half goals for Columbia River, as the Rapids kept up the pressure in the final 40 minutes. Johnson weaved her way through three defenders before tucking the ball neatly into the corner of the net in the 63rd minute.
“I just kept the ball moving and looked up and there was the goal,” Johnson said.
R.A. Long played without senior forward Katthryn Chapin, the league’s offensive MVP who was out with an injury. Also, the Rapid defenders were a wall as senior goalkeeper Bella Graves only touched the ball twice and made one save all game. It marked the 15th shutout win for Columbia River.
“Our back line has just been awesome all season,” head coach Filomon Afenegus said. “Shoutout to them, they were awesome again today.”
The Rapids will face a familiar foe in the Final Four, taking on Ridgefield next Saturday at 3 p.m. at Tacoma’s Mount Tahoma Stadium. This will be the teams’ third meeting; Columbia River won both of the first two contests. The winner will face the winner of East Valley (Yakima) vs. West Valley (Spokane) for the state title the next day.
Said freshman midfielder Olivia Alford: “I think if we play with the same intensity we did today we should have a pretty good game.”