As far as Robyn Saarenas is concerned, this may be her best soccer team poised to play its finest hour.
Auburn Riverside, the South Puget Sound League 3A champion, is ready to take the next step by qualifying for the state playoffs this week.
The Ravens (12-2 in league, 12-3-1 overall) open the district playoffs against heralded Central Kitsap (12-0-1 Narrows League, 12-2-1) in a battle of top seeds at 7 p.m. Thursday at Mount Tahoma High School.
Auburn Riverside needs to win one of its two guaranteed district matches to reach the 16-team state playoffs for the fourth time in Saarenas’ 13 years as Ravens coach.
Saarenas likes her team’s chances.
“We’re pumped up, excited for every day we have out on the soccer field,” said Saarenas, whose well-balanced, deep and record-breaking team has won seven of its last eight matches. “The word we’ve been using all year is special. … We’ve been more fit than the other teams. We have more numbers of guys scoring goals. We have more freshman on this team. Anything we can think of … it’s always just ‘wow.’ This group is special.”
And leading the way has been senior striker Jordan Loomans, who set a single-season scoring record with 17 goals. Loumans has been the recipient of many well-timed passes from senior midfielder Adrian Correa, a four-year starter and a deceptively quick and skilled all-around player.
Brandon Gonzalez, a junior midfielder who took his sophomore year off to play for the Sounder’s Academy developmental team, has joined Correa to provide a formidable one-two punch.
“They have been pretty tough to handle,” Saarenas said.
On the backside, seniors Nick Rogerson and Charlie Gulotta have been stout.
Sophomore Andy Starkle has proven consistent in goal.
“We have a core of very talented leaders with an amazing supporting cast,” Saarenas said.
“Our best players trust everyone on the field. You don’t see that very often.
“They’re good kids. They like each other. They get along off the field. They have this common goal: to see how far we can go.
“We’re all in.”