By Andy Orozco
On a crisp Saturday morning at Auburn Riverside High School, the stage was set for a showdown of epic proportions.
It was the District match that had fans from both sides on the edge of their seats, as the Bonney Lake Panthers took on the Auburn Riverside Ravens on Oct. 28 in a clash that would determine their fate in the State championships. The stakes couldn’t have been higher – the winner would earn a coveted State berth and be seeded anywhere from first to fourth place, while the unfortunate loser would have one last chance to fight for glory in the quest for a State appearance, with the opportunity to grab the fifth to eighth seed.
With the morning sun glistening off the frost-covered ground and the temperature hovering around a brisk 45 degrees, it was clear that these conditions would test the mettle of both teams. The Bonney Lake Panthers entered the fray ranked second in the PCL League, boasting an impressive 6-0-2 record.
Their opponents, the Auburn Riverside Ravens, were no slouches either, holding the third spot in the NPSL League with a formidable 9-1-2 record. It was the kind of clash soccer enthusiasts dream of – a showdown between two of the district’s best.
From the first whistle, it was evident that this would be a hard-fought battle. The players left everything on the field, and despite the cold, their spirits were burning hot with determination. Both teams displayed exceptional defensive prowess, making every inch of the pitch a battleground.
In this intense matchup, the Ravens struck first, and they did so with lightning speed. In just the third minute, the Auburn Riverside junior, Caitlin Riggs, found the back of the net. Her goal set the tone for a relentless contest.
But the Panthers were not about to back down. They mounted a spirited fight, and the match remained a nail-biter. However, the Ravens proved to be as tenacious as they were skilled. freshman Stella Beyersdorf scored their second goal in the 28th minute, and the first half ended with the Ravens ahead by a two-goal margin.
The second half was no less dramatic, with both teams continuing to showcase their defensive prowess. But as the clock ticked away, it was Auburn Riverside who delivered the final blow. In the 77th minute, sophomore Lexie Markham put one in the net, sealing the Ravens’ 3-0 victory.
With the final whistle, the Ravens emerged victorious, earning their coveted State tournament berth.
The Panthers, though, aren’t ready to throw in the towel just yet. They have one more chance to secure a spot in the State tournament, and the path to redemption begins on Wednesday, Nov. 1st.
Their upcoming match will be on home turf, and their opponents, Jefferson, will be in for a fierce battle.