The Ridgefield girls soccer team traveled to Columbia River High School to play a match with 2A Greater St. Helens League title implications, last week. The reigning 2A state champions from Columbia River High School held on for a 1-0 victory over Ridgefield in the game on Tuesday, Oct. 3.
The powerhouse match featured two closely ranked top-10 teams in 2A. Entering the game, Ridgefield was ranked fifth in the state with the Rapids ranked seventh. The newest Washington Interscholastic Activities Association rankings came out on Wednesday, Oct. 4, which included Ridgefield dropping to eighth and Columbia River rising to second in 2A.
“River is a very tough team with a lot of very talented players,” Ridgefield head coach Steven Evans said. “You can see, I think they had a game plan to defend hard and hope for a counter with the long ball there at times. For us, I think we learned that mistakes are going to cost us. It’s in our hands, and you know, we hurt ourselves today by making some turnovers, but it’s a whole team effort. We got to lock it in and do better as a group.”
The Ridgefield faithful traveled to Columbia River High School in the Felida/Hazel Dell area of Clark County, as well. Evans was pleased with the Ridgefield fans, especially the students who made the trip.
“It was very impressive. I was actually shocked at how many came here, and, you know, we’re 20 minutes away, so it was a good drive for some of these high school students that came out here to support,” Evans said. “That’s one of the best things I think about our team in Ridgefield is the community. It’s a fantastic community, and these are great games to be at, and you see it right now with the amount of fans and support.”
Evans said it is good that his players get to face a program of the Rapids’ caliber, as the Rapids have earned five state championships in the school’s history.
“It’s always a great opportunity playing against these guys because it really tests you, and you have to push yourselves,” Evans said. “I think it’s the best thing that prepares you for the playoffs because every game you play at that point is a team like this [or] a team like Tumwater, who we had a tough game against, too. So, we have to figure out how we manage that and get ready for those games, as well, so we win those.”
The Spudders also faced off against R.A. Long High School of Longview on Thursday, Oct. 5, where Ridgefield won 2-0 with goals by Baylee Bushnell and Marlee Buffham, both assisted by Victoria Lasch.
Ahead of the Spudders’ game against the Lumberjills, Evans knew he had to get his team to refocus for the game on Thursday.
“And so, Thursday, we have another very tough game, very tough week for us,” Evans added. “So, I think we have to get refocused for Thursday and then just try to kind of solidify these pieces for us as we make that stretch towards the end when we play these guys and get ready for the postseason.”
Ridgefield will face the Rapids again to close out the regular season at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 24 at home. Evans said the players have to be focused and sharpen their passes and remain proactive to beat the Rapids.
This week, the Spudders traveled to Mark Morris High School in Longview on Tuesday, Oct. 10. Results were unavailable by press time. On Thursday, Oct. 12, the Spudders are slated to host Woodland High School at home at 7 p.m.