Auburn Riverside girls soccer clinched their fifth straight NPSL league championship with their win over cross-town rival Auburn Mountainview on Oct. 11 with a final score of 2-0.
“It feels kind of better to do it against a good opponent,” said Riverside Ravens Head Coach Paul Lewis. “Mountainview is a hard playing team and they always bring it against us every single time. It makes it feel more earned.”
This continues a run that started back in the fall of 2018, when the Ravens won their first title. It’s a vast change from the 2017 season’s final finish of 6-5-3 and placing fifth overall. However, the Ravens did make the playoffs, but lost their first game to Emerald Ridge.
Now, after winning their fifth league title in a row, many girls don’t know anything else besides winning at a high level of competition.
“It’s really rare. I don’t think these girls really comprehend how rare that is. They are so accustomed to that as a group … But it is a pretty remarkable feat,” Lewis said.
Ever since that loss back in 2017, the Auburn Riverside girls soccer team has been on an entire other planet. In the five seasons since, the Ravens have outscored their opponents 266-27 — over 200 more goals scored than their opponents in district play. They have also only lost three district games, including one this year to Tahoma, one in 2019 to Enumclaw, and one in 2018 to Todd Beamer. In the COVID-shortened 2020 season, they were undefeated. Last season, there were no losses on their ledger. The only blemish was a tie to Tahoma 1-1 on Oct. 7.
To put it bluntly, this Ravens soccer team is exceptional. The Oct. 11 game was no different.
For the majority of the first half, the game was skewed for Riverside. They dominated possession, and outside of a few desperation runs for Mountainview, there was never a threat on goal in the first half. In the 35th minute of the first half, a corner kick from the junior Ava Morton found the head of sophomore Caitlyn Riggs, putting the Ravens on top 1-0.
That wouldn’t be all from Riggs in this game. In the second half, Riggs used her head again, notching her second goal of the night in the 48 minute and increased her team lead of goals with 15 on the season. It was her fifth multi-goal game of the season — her season high for goals per game is four, which she scored in a previous game on Oct. 6 against Kentlake.
Coach Lewis said he has really enjoyed the development of Riggs’ belief in herself.
“She is really gaining momentum as a player and being more positive as a player and people are looking for her more often now,” Lewis said, adding that Riggs’ height is a scoring advantage. “But this season, she has embraced that as a part of her game. She now has the mentality, ‘I can be that target person.’ She sets goals for herself, high goals every game. … Caitlyn has taken the ‘I’m that person, I am that person on the other side from Samiah who is going to finish those crosses.’”
Riggs’ second goal was at the end of a corner from senior and University of Washington commit Samiah Shell. Shell leads the Ravens in assists (13) and is second on the team in goals (12), behind Riggs.
Riverside has moved up in the RPI polls to third overall in 3A, up three positions after the victory.
Lewis wants to keep his team sharp going into the postseason. He has two non-district games scheduled at the end of the season.
“We are trying to prepare ourselves at the end of the season trying to get us ready to go. And I think they need that, and I think they are ready and can handle the challenge,” he said.
Lewis says his team is made to handle the pressure.
“This group of girls is one that responds to an environment, so providing them with a few opportunities to play in a heightened environment where they’re able to express themselves and push themselves to the max,” Lewis said.
By the end of the season this Ravens team will be battle-tested, and ready to make a deep push in the playoffs.