Skyview’s season comes to an end; Evergreen advances
VANCOUVER — The Columbia River Chieftains trailed early. They were tied late.
Anything could have happened in their Class 2A state soccer playoff match Wednesday night.
“It was scary,” acknowledged Jake Connop. “But we knew the only team that was going to beat us was ourselves. We just had to keep grinding.”
“It was just a matter of maintaining our composure,” added older brother Ryan Connop.
The Chieftains knew they could bounce back. They had so many scoring opportunities in this one, they figured they would catch a break or two. They knew they had it in them to advance in this playoff run.
“It was going to come sometime,” Ryan Connop said.
It happened in the final 10 minutes of the match. Ryan Connop scored on a header off a corner kick from freshman Maksim Yurichko, giving the Chieftains the lead for good. Columbia River beat Clarkston 3-2 to reach the state quarterfinals.
It was the first of two state playoff matches Wednesday night at Kiggins Bowl. Puyallup scored a 4-1 victory over Skyview in a Class 4A contest, ending the Storm’s season.
On the other side of town, Evergreen advanced to the Class 3A state quarterfinals, scoring three second-half goals for a 3-0 victory over Shorecrest at McKenzie Stadium.
Columbia River improved to 20-0 this season and got a reality check that state playoff soccer is a different game.
Goalkeeper Reilly Burke was forced into making an amazing save in the first minute of the match. A few minutes later, Clarkston had the lead.
The Chieftains took those punches, though. Their confidence was not shaken. In fact, nearly all of the scoring chances the rest of the half were led by Columbia River. The Chieftains would get the equalizer late in the half on a penalty kick by Jack Kolosvary.
“I wasn’t concerned because we were playing well,” Columbia River coach Filomon Afenegus said. “Knowing we had so many seniors out on the field, been there, done that. I felt very comfortable.”
Jake Connop gave River a 2-1 advantage in the second half, only to have Clarkston tie the match in the 62nd minute.
It was the first time all season River had given up more than a goal. In fact, the Chieftains had given up one goal – total – in their last seven matches combined.
Ryan Connop recalled a similar playoff match a couple years ago, when a senior headed in a ball in the final minutes of the match for a victory. Now he is the senior.
“That just flashed in my mind,” he said. “Just put the ball in the back of the net.”
The corner from the freshman, Yurichko, was on the mark.
“It was a beautiful ball,” Ryan Connop said. “Floated just right. Perfect ball for me to attack.”
The quarterfinals are next for the Chieftains, and their coach is thrilled just to continue on the journey.
“I feel very honored to be able to have another day practicing with them,” Afenegus said. “I’m happy it didn’t end tonight. We have at least a couple more days together.”
Puyallup 4, Skyview 1
The Vikings scored two first-half goals and then held off the Storm early in the second half to advance to the quarterfinals.
The Storm scored two minutes into the second half on a goal by Stephen Kiraly to cut the deficit to one goal. A few minutes later, the Storm were right in front of the net again, but the shot was denied.
Puyallup would add two insurance goals down the stretch.
“The game was not our best game tonight. Puyallup played a little bit better,” Skyview coach Colleen McKinney said.
Reaching the state tournament is progress for the program, but this season meant a lot more to McKinney than wins and losses. Skyview soccer has gone through major changes over the last few years, she noted, including three coaches.
“It’s about respecting each other. Our program had lost the love for each other. They lost a little belief in themselves,” McKinney said. “This year, they found it again.”
She thanked her team leaders for making it a special season.
“The seniors have set a new vision for our younger kids,” she said.
When the season came to an end, McKinney had one final message to the Storm.
“I told them I loved them.”
Evergreen 3, Shorecrest 0
Levan Zhividze, the 3A Greater St. Helens League’s player of the year, scored the first two goals of the match, and the Plainsmen are going to the quarterfinals for the first time in 16 years.
And then there were two
In all, six teams from the region made it to the state tournament. Three teams played Tuesday. Mountain View fell in the first round of the 3A bracket, losing 3-0 to Kennewick. Woodland lost to Highline 3-1 in the 2A bracket. And Seattle Academy topped La Center 2-0 in the 1A tourney.
That leaves Evergreen and Columbia River as the representatives of Clark County soccer.
Evergreen is set to travel to take on Lakeside at 5 p.m Friday at Interbay Stadium in Seattle.
Columbia River is back home at Kiggins Bowl for its quarterfinal match against Archbishop Murphy. That contest begins at 5 p.m.
Doubleheader at Kiggins
While Vancouver Public Schools was hoping to go 2-0 Wednesday night, the district’s athletic director was excited to be able to host state playoff matches, back-to-back.
“It’s very cool,” Albert Alcantar said. “Just shows what kind of programs we have in Southwest Washington.”
Columbia River clinched a home match in the state playoffs last Thursday. Skyview had to win a seeding game on Saturday to get a home contest in the first round. As soon as that happened, it just worked out with both opponents wanting to play Wednesday. Let’s play two.
Alcantar said he knows Columbia River and Skyview are local rivals, but when it comes to the playoffs, in different classifications, he hoped the players were supporting each other.
Columbia River won the 5 p.m. game and some of the Chieftains said they would be pulling for the Storm at the 7 p.m. match.
“They are our neighbors,” Jake Connop said. “We’re rooting for them.”
Class 3A bracket: http://wiaa.com/ardisplay.aspx?ID=1747
Class 2A bracket: http://wiaa.com/ardisplay.aspx?ID=1749