Seeing Triple: Washougal sisters integral to Panthers soccer team

Coach says of Rabus triplets: ‘They are not only outstanding players, but also exceptional students’

As triplets, Molly, Emily and Lauren Rabus share a special bond that not even most other sets of siblings could completely understand. It’s almost telepathic, in a way.

“We can predict what we’re going to do next,” Emily said. “We think a lot alike because we’re with each other 24-7. We’re always connected.”

For the past 10 years, that connection has manifested itself on the soccer pitch, where the Washougal High School seniors have developed into standout players. Their contributions have been critical to the recent success of the Panthers’ girls team, which went 12-8 and fell one win short of a 2A state tournament berth this fall.

“All three of them have stepped up in a lot of ways,” Washougal coach Kristin Beauchamp said. “You inherently get some chemistry when (some of your best players are) in the same family. They are pretty awesome kids. They are not only outstanding players, but also exceptional students — I believe they all have 4.0 GPAs.”

The Rabuses are “mixed” triplets — Emily and Lauren are identical twins and Molly is a fraternal sibling. Emily was born first, a fact that she takes pleasure in reminding her sisters of “every day,” she said with a laugh. Lauren followed two minutes later, then Molly.

“They are miracles,” Panthers assistant coach Jodi Ellis said. “They’re natural triplets — no IVF (in-vitro fertilization) or anything like that. Their parents (Tom and Rhonda) just wanted their sister to have a sibling, and they got three.”

The Rabuses acknowledge that being a triplet comes with some downsides. For instance, “people aren’t used to having triplets around, so it’s kind of awkward at times,” Molly said. And “sometimes it’s hard to ‘get out there’ (as individuals) because we’re so used to being together,” according to Emily.

But they are developing their own separate personalities as they approach adulthood. They are “introverted,” according to Emily, but “like to goof around a lot,” according to Lauren.

“Molly’s the feistiest,” Ellis said. “Emily’s the quietest. And Lauren just gets it done.”

They played a variety of sports when they were younger, but gravitated toward soccer when they started playing as 8-year-olds.

“It really stuck,” Molly said. “We just like playing, working well together. I don’t know — it’s just soccer. It’s the best out of all of them. Passing, scoring goals, winning, making connections on and off the field — it’s the most fun.”

On the pitch, as in life, they’re always together — they’ve never played on separate teams. When it comes to soccer, the Rabuses have always been a package deal.

“They definitely are examples of family (atmosphere), and leadership as well within themselves and each other and the other players,” Ellis said. “They may not see it, but they definitely exude it. They’re always here on time, always have their stuff together, always out there ready to go. They’re connected. I think they do it blindly, almost. It’s second nature to them. But I think the other girls look up to that (example) without knowing it.”

Lauren, a forward, is the trio’s top goal-scorer — she tallied a team-leading 21 goals during the 2021 season.

“(Goal scoring) has always kind of been my role on the team, and for my club teams, too,” said Lauren, who also registered nine assists this fall. “I feel like Kristin (gave me) better opportunities than I had in years past.”

Emily and Molly, both midfielders, controlled the action from the center of the pitch by making pinpoint passes and strengthening the Panthers’ defense.

Emily racked up three goals and five assists in 2021, while Molly scored one goal and assisted on four others.

“Emily is good at knowing where the ball needs to go on the field. She plays midfield and defense, and in both spots, you need to know how things are set up and what you need to do, and she’s getting the job done (in those regards),” said Molly, who “has good vision and good ideas about where to send the balls to,” according to Emily.

The triplets have “brought consistency (in terms of their) attitudes and leadership and skill sets,” Ellis said.

“I see that on and off the field from them all the time,” she said. “They communicate, not just to each other but to other players and us and coaches. They’re just reliable leaders that will better the world, I think.”