Columbia River, Mountain View ready for final four

Chieftains hope to defend state title

The Columbia River Chieftains will be going for a second consecutive Class 2A state boys soccer championship, while the Mountain View Thunder are looking to stun the soccer world with their first title in more than 25 years.

Mountain View will take on Lakeside at 2 p.m. today in a Class 3A semifinal at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.

Columbia River will play a late match tonight in the Class 2A semifinals, kicking off against Fife at 8 p.m. at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner.

Columbia River’s Jackson Kleier and the rest of the Chieftains have their eye on another state championship this week. Photo by Mike Schultz
Columbia River’s Jackson Kleier and the rest of the Chieftains have their eye on another state championship this week. Photo by Mike Schultz

The Chieftains are known names in the state soccer world after last season’s dominating display. Still, that team had seven seniors on the squad. Columbia River coach Filly Afenegus said this year could have been just a rebuilding year, with an eye toward next season.

No way, his players told him. They were willing to put in the work, to try to make a run right now.

And here they are, two wins away from another state title.

The Chieftains (17-0-1) gave up three goals in a win in their second match of the season. They tied 4A Greater St. Helens League champion Skyview 2-2 in their fifth match. Since then, River has allowed a total of four goals in 13 matches and has not allowed more than one in any one match.

If the Chieftains win Friday, they will play at 5 p.m. Saturday in the 2A final. The other semifinal is Sehome vs. Toppenish.

Mountain View could also win a state title on Saturday with two more wins. Just making it to the final four has been a wild ride for the Thunder.

Melvin Ramir and the Mountain View Thunder have been battling all season, and now they are in the Class 3A state semifinals. Photo by Mike Schultz
Melvin Ramir and the Mountain View Thunder have been battling all season, and now they are in the Class 3A state semifinals. Photo by Mike Schultz

Mountain View started the season 1-4, playing a tough non-league schedule. The Thunder responded by winning the 3A GSHL title but then lost in the first match at bi-district. They had to survive two 1-0 matches against league rivals Evergreen and Prairie to clinch the final berth to state.

A road trip to Hermiston resulted in a victory to open the state tournament. That was followed by a home victory to reach the final four.

“This is a very special group of guys,” Mountain View coach Dustin Johnson said, noting these seniors are the first to go through his program since freshman year when Johnson took over the program.

“To see how the program and individual players have grown throughout the years has been one of the best aspects of coaching,” he said. “It has been a lot of hard work, trials, and celebrations, but in the end, here we are about to go into our semifinal game.”

Johnson said he wants the seniors to go out with a bang, and he wants the younger players to enjoy the experience and replicate it in the years to come.

Should Mountain View win on Friday, the 3A championship match is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday. Bellevue and Interlake play in the other semifinal.

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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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