Ridgeview’s boys soccer team is coming off three consecutive playoff appearances. Following each of those seasons, the Ravens have graduated significant members of the team.
Despite losing three first-team all-Intermountain Conference players from their 2018 league championship team, the Ravens got off to a 3-0 start, outscoring opponents by a combined 16-3. More and more, it looks like the Ravens have a perennially powerful program.
“I think it’s just being consistent and putting a lot of time in for both me and the boys,” Ravens coach Jimmy Kim said at a Sept. 24 practice. “Just working hard to keep developing the players and developing a culture that people want to be a part of.”
The strength is also shown in the number of players the Ravens are able to bring out, with 39 total players in the program, 18 on varsity.
Kim was pleased with how the Ravens played in their three nonleague matches.
The whole team puts in work during the summer, Kim said. One player who put in extra effort was senior goalkeeper Dalen Buckley-Noonan, who made second-team all-league as a junior, his first year starting in goal. He attended camps at Oregon State University and the University of Washington.
“Just being around a high level of competition, being around good players and the teams at the colleges was a great experience,” Buckley-Noonan said. “I learned a lot from that.”
The Ravens suffered a setback a couple days after our interviews, losing 3-0 to Hood River Valley in their IMC opener. Kim said Sept. 27 that the Ravens struggled on Hood River’s artificial surface and were unable to capitalize on scoring chances.
Offensively, the Ravens have been led by sophomore forward Tristan Glass, who scored six goals in their first three matches.
“When guys score, it’s usually a team effort,” Kim said of Glass. “I feel like if it’s not him, it’s going to be somebody else. He’s been the person to finish opportunities and get into good position.”
Also key has been midfield play from senior Jose Robles, junior Marques Montanez and sophomore Evan Newell, Kim said.
“We get contributions from everybody,” Kim said. “It’s definitely an 11-man sport and we use everybody.”
Robles would like to see the Ravens top their 2018 performance, when they reached the Class 5A quarterfinals for the first time.
“I want to do even better, and I think we really can from the way we’ve been playing,” he said. “I think it’s within our reach. We just have to focus up and not get off track.”
Even before the loss, Kim expected Hood River Valley to provide a challenge to the Ravens. He said the Eagles’ 1-2-2 nonleague record was deceiving because they played a tough schedule.
Afterward, Kim said the loss doesn’t change Ridgeview’s outlook for the season.
“It is an opportunity to learn from and improve,” he said. “We’ve dug ourselves a hole and are going to need to work ourselves out of it. Defending our league title has become more difficult now, but the boys are fully aware of what they need to do moving forward. We’ll see what happens, but one loss doesn’t end or define our season. We have nine more league matches to improve upon, and, hopefully, make another postseason run.”
The Ravens will get their first chance to turn things around at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Redmond High’s football stadium. The Panthers are 0-4-1 on the season, 0-1 in IMC play.
Ridgeview is scheduled to play again at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at home against The Dalles, which got its first victory of the season in its Sept. 26 league opener against Crook County.
Buckley-Noonan has a goal of being named first-team all-state and helping the Ravens to a state title.
Senior forward Ethan Birmingham, like Buckley-Noonan and Robles a team captain, said it will be important for the Ravens to take their competition seriously.
“We might have changed and gotten better, but they might have changed and gotten better, as well,” Birmingham said. “We’ve just got to continue to play the best we can play.”
— Reporter: 541-548-2186, firstname.lastname@example.org