Warriors Clinch Playoff Berth in PK Shootout Over Washougal


Rochester scored a late equalizer, held on in overtime then came out on top in a penalty-kick shootout, 5-4, to eliminate Washougal and clinch the final 2A District 4 playoff berth on Saturday in Washougal.

It was an impressive win for the Warriors, who finished fourth in the 2A Evergreen Conference, who took down the Greater St. Helen’s League’s fifth-seeded Panthers. Now Rochester gets the prize of facing undefeated and top-ranked Columbia River in the opening round of districts on Tuesday.

The good news is the district tournament is double-elimination format, so even if they are unable to upset Columbia River, they’ll still have a chance to clinch a state bid.

Against Washougal, the Warriors fell behind early, surrendering a goal in the 11th minute off a corner kick. That led to a 1-0 deficit at the half as Rochester was unable to make good on any of their shots on goal.

“We had a belief we could come back from that,” Rochester coach Matt Ashton said. “Even in the first half, we controlled the flow of the game. Their corner kick was the only attacking they had.”

The Warriors did mount a comeback.

Erik Vazquez-Valentine put them back in it with the equalizer in the 60th minute, assisted by Levi Jennings from a cross to make it 1-1. The two squads then battled to a stalemate at the end of regulation and through two overtime periods.

Then, in PKs, the Warriors came up clutch, especially goalkeeper Ezra Aeliff.

“Ezra, for two games now, has been the deciding factor for us,” Ashton said. “He stopped two of their shots and a third went wide”

Now, Rochester will head to Columbia River for its district opener on Tuesday.

“Anything can happen,” Ashton said. “It’s gonna be a tough game. We’ll take it game-by-game and see what happens. Hopefully, we can come out with a W.”