Columbia River boys soccer already has a championship attitude

One of the top programs in the state every year, Columbia River boys soccer grateful for the chance to prove it once again at state soccer final four

Rapids have earned the top seed and are grateful for opportunity to play for a state title

In a way, the Columbia River Rapids are already champions.

Oh, they still have to win two more matches to become state boys soccer champions this weekend in Tumwater.

But they already have a championship attitude.

They are still playing, still enjoying every moment of the 2022 season.

“What makes us special is what we’ve lost the last two years. We are all just really, really appreciative of this opportunity. We’re not taking this for granted,” Columbia River coach Filomon Afenegus said. “We’re just thankful. All our other groups have been great groups, but this group, it almost means a little bit more considering what we’ve lost the last couple of years.”

The 2019 boys soccer team finished second at the Class 2A state tournament. That squad would have returned several starters and would have been the favorite to win it all. Alas, there was no season. 

Then last year, just an abbreviated season, with no state tournament.

“2020 was a hard pill to swallow, having one of our best teams we’ve ever had,” Afenegus said. “We’re soaking up this experience as much as possible. Our current seniors fully understand what we lost.”

This year, the Rapids are back, looking to win it all. They are the No. 1 seed after giving up just three goals all season.

Columbia River takes on No. 4 Burlington-Edison at 6 p.m. Friday at Tumwater High School. The winner will advance to the championship match at 4 p.m. Saturday.

The undefeated record and giving up three goals in 20 matches, those things added up to River getting the top seed in the tournament. This weekend, though, the seeding does not mean much.

“We’re honest with our players. The No. 1 seed is what it is. Other people placed that title on us,” Afenegus said. “Now everyone is coming for you. There is no sneaking in through the back door. You’re not surprising anyone. It’s harder to win a state championship when you are the No. 1 seed. You’re on top of the hill and everyone’s running up after you. You clearly are going to get everybody’s best shot.”

So far this season, everyone’s best has not been good enough.

The Rapids want to win two more, complete the undefeated season, and come home as state champions.

No matter what happens, though, they are grateful to be playing in the final weekend of a full boys soccer season.

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