2A GSHL soccer, volleyball: Simply the best


Hockinson soccer and Ridgefield volleyball prove their excellence with district championships

The Hockinson Hawks had payback on their minds all season in girls soccer.

Payton Lawson (19) of Hockinson gets some air during her team’s soccer match against Tumwater on Saturday. Lawson scored two goals in a 2-0 win to claim the district championship. Photo by Mike Schultz
Payton Lawson (19) of Hockinson gets some air during her team’s soccer match against Tumwater on Saturday. Lawson scored two goals in a 2-0 win to claim the district championship. Photo by Mike Schultz

The Ridgefield Spudders had championship pride all season in volleyball.

On Saturday, they both completed undefeated seasons with district championships. 

The Hawks scored 55 goals in 11 matches … and did not allow a goal. They capped their season with a 2-0 win over Tumwater in the district championship match at Battle Ground’s District Stadium.

They won the 2A Greater St. Helens League title and then district.

An hour later, the Spudders hit the volleyball court to take on rival Woodland in the title match of their district tournament at Hudson’s Bay High School. The Spudders would win in four sets. The team lost just four sets all season in its 12 matches.

They won the 2A Greater St. Helens League title and then district. 

With no state playoffs during these abbreviated seasons, there is no way to say for certain that these two teams would have won state titles. 

So how about an avalanche of evidence?

Let’s start with soccer.

A year ago — make that about 16 months ago — the top three teams from the 2A GSHL advanced out of the district tournament and then made it to the state semifinals. That’s right. Three of the final four teams came from Clark County. 

Hockinson defeated Ridgefield in one semifinal. Columbia River advanced from the other semifinal. The Chieftains would go on to beat the Hawks in the championship match.

This season, Hockinson beat Ridgefield 3-0 and took down Columbia River 1-0.

Then it was all Hockinson in the district playoffs.

Hockinson’s Kati Waggoner in action Saturday during the Hawks’ 2-0 win over Tumwater to claim the Class 2A District 4 championship. Photo by Mike Schultz
Hockinson’s Kati Waggoner in action Saturday during the Hawks’ 2-0 win over Tumwater to claim the Class 2A District 4 championship. Photo by Mike Schultz

Undefeated. No goals against. No. 1 team from the No. 1 league, and No. 1 district. The best in state, right?

“100 percent,” said senior defender Jamie Jeschke. “We’re not just a team. We’ve been putting work in every single day for the past four years, for me and my seniors. We work the hardest, and we’re like family.”

Payton Lawson, who scored the team’s two goals on Saturday, was a bit more diplomatic. She said she did not want to take anything away from any other team. There are good squads all over the state, she said.

“I know that we work hard, and we would give anyone a run for their money,” Lawson said.

The Hawks played this entire 11-match season like it was a playoff run.

“Losing in the finals last year sucked,” Lawson said. “We played with so much passion and effort. I never saw people slacking on this team, which is why we’re here, and we’re winning.”

Goalkeeper Amanda Jeschke, a junior and younger sister to Jamie, said she has heard many people claim that the best from this district is the best in the state. 

Remember, she noted, that three teams from the 2A GSHL made it to the state semifinals in 2019. And then the Hawks shut out those other two teams this season.

That included the biggest win of the season for the Hawks.

“Beating River in league … that was our redemption,” Amanda Jeschke said.

In volleyball, Ridgefield did not have the opportunity to beat the defending state champion. After all, Ridgefield is the two-time defending state champion.

In 2018, Columbia River and Ridgefield faced each other in the semifinals.

In 2017, Woodland reached the championship match, losing to Tumwater, also a member of District 4. 

So, yes, a volleyball team coming out of Southwest Washington is automatically a threat to win it all.

The Spudders, much like the Hawks in soccer, took this abbreviated season and made the most of it. They knew they could not go to state. But they could treat every match as if they needed to win in order to advance.

The Ridgefield Spudders completed an undefeated season by topping Woodland in the Class 2A District 4 volleyball championship Saturday at Hudson’s Bay High School. Photo by Paul Valencia
The Ridgefield Spudders completed an undefeated season by topping Woodland in the Class 2A District 4 volleyball championship Saturday at Hudson’s Bay High School. Photo by Paul Valencia

By going undefeated, as the two-time defending champions, they obviously have a stake in being the best in Class 2A Washington.

The Spudders, though, don’t need to announce it. Their actions speak loud and clear. 

“I don’t know if I would say that,” senior Emilea Stepnaiuk said when asked if Ridgefield is the best in Washington. “We don’t have a state championship, so we don’t know for sure. But I’m proud of our team.”

“I think there are a lot of good teams in the state,” senior Ali Andrew said. 

And many are right here in Southwest Washington.

“It’s a competitive district. Woodland is a really good team,” Andrew said. “They absolutely have some studs on their team. It’s really competitive.”

In fact, Woodland ended up getting two sets against Ridgefield this season, same as Columbia River.

In the end, though, it was Ridgefield on top of the Southwest Washington volleyball world, just like Hockinson finished No. 1 in the region in soccer.

The pandemic means the case for being the best in the state this season will never be settled.

But the argument has been made for Ridgefield and Hockinson.

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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