Chieftains beat three-time defending state champions to advance
VANCOUVER — The Columbia River Chieftains are going to uncharted territory, and loving every minute along this journey.
The Columbia River boys soccer team topped three-time defending state champion Archbishop Murphy 3-1 Saturday night at Kiggins Bowl, advancing to the Class 2A state semifinals. It is the first trip to the final four for the program.
“We didn’t have a program, really. Such little history,” said Candler Bolte, one of the team’s three captains, recalling what it was like when he was called up to varsity back when he was a freshman.
Now a senior, he and the Chieftains have made it the final weekend of the season.
“To be able to say I’m part of a group to build history for the school is unreal,” he said. “It means another week with family, too. This whole team is family.”
Jacob Warthen, Jackson Kleier, and Jake Connop were credited with the goals in the quarterfinal victory.
Next up for Columbia River is a semifinal match against Franklin Pierce at 8 p.m. Friday at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner. The championship is scheduled for the next day, May 26.
“It’s euphoric,” Columbia River coach Filomon Afenegus said. “An amazing group. They’ve worked so hard all year long. I’m so proud of every single one of them.”
River led 1-0 at the half. Archbishop Murphy tied it early in the second half.
“It takes a toll on you mentally,” said Jack Kolosvary, also a captain. “But I was confident in everyone to have the grit to come back because I know we wanted it.”
Reilly Burke, one of two goalkeepers the team uses in its matches and also a captain, said this has been an amazing run.
“I seriously cannot put into words how happy I am right now,” Burke said. “For all these boys. They deserve it. We’ve been through so much together.”
Columbia River improved to 21-0 with Saturday’s victory. Two more victories and they will become state champions.
“Like we say after every game, we are not done yet,” Burke said. “Sure, we made history tonight, but I know we’re going to make more history next week.”
Still, he and the Chieftains understand the unpredictability of competition. There are no guarantees.
They can, however, appreciate this trek.
“No matter what happens Friday and Saturday, I am so proud of these boys,” Burke said.
Lakeside 4, Evergreen 1:
Evergreen’s season came to an end Friday night, but the Plainsmen still have to feel good about what they accomplished this spring.
Evergreen won the Class 3A Greater St. Helens League title then advanced to the state quarterfinals for the first time in 16 years.
The Plainsmen ended up with a record of 12-3-4. They had an unbeaten streak of nine matches heading into the quarterfinals, a run that gave them the league title and then two postseason victories.