REDMOND — Most of the six seniors on the Ridgeview boys soccer team have played together since grade school.
On Tuesday evening, the Ravens’ team chemistry was on display with pinpoint passing and relentless attacks in a convincing 4-1 home victory over Eagle Point in the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs.
Senior Cade O’Neill scored two goals in the first half, and senior Christian Kim added two more in the second half as No. 8 Ridgeview advanced to the quarterfinals to play at top-seeded La Salle Prep in Milwaukie on Saturday.
“We’ve been playing together with coach Jimmy (Kim) and almost all the seniors since third grade,” O’Neill said. “We’ve got some really strong team chemistry. We know how each other play.”
O’Neill scored off an assist from Ethan Birmingham in the 15th minute to give Intermountain Conference champion Ridgeview (11-2-2) the early 1-0 lead. Just nine minutes later, Christian Kim took a bouncing ball and booted it to O’Neill in front of the goal, and he kicked it past the Eagle Point goalie and into the back of the net.
“That was a great ball from him (Christian Kim),” O’Neill said. “That was a super unselfish way of playing it right to me. Just awesome teamwork.”
Ridgeview coach Jimmy Kim — who has coached son Christian and many of his Christian’s classmates for most of the last 10 years — praised the unselfish way the Ravens played on a crisp Tuesday night.
“Our boys just played with a lot of energy,” Jimmy Kim said. “They connected well on passes. We made really good runs. I thought it was just a very unselfish match that the boys really played together and worked hard for each other.”
Ridgeview held the 2-0 lead at halftime, then sustained the pressure in the second half. In the 59th minute, Tristan Green centered the ball to Christian Kim, who was wide open in front of the goal for an easy score and a 3-0 lead.
With six minutes left in the match, Jaydyn Budrow of Eagle Point (9-4-2) blasted in a goal from about 20 yards out to make it 3-1. But the Ravens were not finished.
Kim was knocked down by several Eagles defenders in the box and was awarded a penalty kick with 1:44 left in the match. He booted it in off the goalie’s hands for the final 4-1 margin.
“A big thing was just possession, because if you can control the middle, you can branch off from there and do what you need to do,” O’Neill said. “We found some weaknesses on the outside where we were able to throw our faster players up and really just find the holes.”
Both O’Neill and coach Kim said they like their chances against No. 1 La Salle, which defeated North Salem 3-1 on Tuesday.
“I think we’re a very good team, and I think we can play with anybody in the state,” Jimmy Kim said. “Anything is possible, so we’re just going to go out there and do our best. If we put on a performance like this I think we’ll be a handful for anybody. I think we’re a very confident group, and the boys are playing well. They play with a lot of heart and they have no quit in them.”
Added O’Neill: “I don’t think people realize how strong our team is this year. I think we showed it tonight.”