Camas soccer spirit defeated, but not broken

Camas girls rise above pitfalls and place fourth in the state tournament

Courtney Loewen and the Camas girls left it all on the soccer field Saturday, at Sparks Stadium. The Papermakers finished in fourth place after tough losses to Issaquah and Tahoma. Buy this photo

Camas girls rise above pitfalls and place fourth in the state tournament

The Camas High School girls soccer team endured defeat at the feet of Issaquah and Tahoma in the semifinals and the consolation finals of the state tournament last weekend in Puyallup, but nothing could break their fighting spirit.

“We’re disappointed that the season ended with these two losses, but we made it all the way to the Final Four and that should count for something,” said senior captain Jamie Carter, understanding that the journey endures longer than the end result. “It’s been an amazing trip. A lot of good memories have been made.”

The Papermakers proved they belonged in the Final Four by scoring the first goal in the semifinals against Issaquah Friday, at Sparks Stadium.

Carter fired a promising corner kick, Hailey Rose directed the ball toward the goal and Teylen Sheesley headed it into the net before the opposing goalkeeper could react. Camas took a 1-0 lead into the locker room at halftime, but it wouldn’t last.

Issaquah turned up the heat in the second half and was awarded with a goal to tie the game.

Both teams pushed each other into overtime. Carly Marshall, Rachel Gibson, Rose and Anyssa DeVera were relentless on the backline, and goalkeeper Lauren Rood snagged eight saves.

Camas fought hard to keep the score even, but Annie Lorilei Hoffman blasted in the winning goal for Issaquah with 5.2 seconds left on the clock.

The Papermakers had about 13 hours to regroup for their third place match at noon on Saturday. Tahoma knocked in the first goal and held on for a 1-0 victory.

Camas played inspiring soccer in the second half. Mika Norrish beat the defenders to the ball and delivered a couple of promising crosses toward the net. Sarah Yang and Rose just missed connecting on the other end. Nobody was looking at the clock. They just kept working hard for a tying goal that would never come. Sadly, the final horn sounded on their season before the girls realized it was over.

“That’s an excellent way of describing it. They left it all on that field,” said head coach Roland Minder. “When you look at all the injuries and obstacles we had to overcome in our first year in 4A, it’s amazing what these girls accomplished. This team is built around heart, hard work and desire.”

The seniors and the returning players provided the leadership and desire every day, but Minder also thanked the freshmen who rose to the challenge and filled in for the injured veterans. He hopes this gives them more determination to help the team make another run at the Final Four next season.

“They have the experience now,” he said. “Next year, I hope they come back with the commitment to do whatever it takes to try and get back here.”

The seniors hope they rekindled the flame for soccer in Camas. The past four years flew by too fast, but these girls will never forget what they accomplished together.

“This was a once-in-a lifetime opportunity, and we made the most of it,” said Emily Ponce. “To be one of the only teams in the state to play in this Final Four is something nobody can ever take away from us. I’m just so proud of my team.”

“I still can’t believe this is the end,” added Courtney Loewen. “If I could tell these younger girls anything, it would be to keep your heads up and play your hearts out. It goes by so fast.”