The Camas High School girls soccer sisters played their hearts out Saturday.
They desired a return to the Final Four, and dreamed of winning a state championship. After the Bonney Lake Panthers edged the Papermakers 1-0 in the quarterfinals Saturday at Doc Harris Stadium, the sisters would have given anything for one more soccer game together.
“I am extremely proud of our effort in this game. We never gave up. Even on the last throw-in with 10 seconds left, everyone was up and trying to get one more shot,” said senior defender Adrienne Engel. “You play your heart out, but sometimes you end up with the short end of the stick.”
The game breaking goal for Bonney Lake came with 18 minutes left in the match. The shooter drew the defenders and goalkeeper Andrea Soderberg to the right, before placing the ball in the open left corner of the net. If Camas showed any signs of worry, it wasn’t on the surface. The Papermakers were determined to get even.
The Panthers blocked a header by Janae Benson off a corner kick from Engel. Raya Klein beat the defense to the ball and took aim, but her shot just sailed over the net and out of bounds. Camas earned a free kick from close range, but the attempt by Annike Sumpter was over and out. The best chances for the Papermakers to score came on back-to-back plays. A Sumpter header in front of the net was on line with Ciara Klein, but the opposing goalkeeper tackled her before she could shoot. Kailee Esser set up a free kick, Raya Klein headed the ball in the direction of Sara Slayton, but the keeper intercepted the cross.
“I’m very proud of how far we came. We showed a lot of heart in that game,” Sumpter said. “Whoever got the first one in was going to win, but I’m proud of how we fought back and got a lot of shots on goal. We didn’t give up. We just kept pushing as hard as we could.”
If anybody appreciates a good soccer game, its Camas head coach Roland Minder. He applauded the effort of his girls, and told them they had nothing to be sorry about.
“It’s an absolute privilege to be in this position where I get to associate with these players and share in the same experiences,” Minder said. “I don’t think we lost today. When I see so many girls giving their heart and soul to accomplish a goal, I can’t help but be proud of them all. I don’t care what the scoreboard says. In my eyes, I have no losers.”
Engel and Sumpter reflected on four great years of soccer in Camas that just flew by.
“Every practice, every game and every experience I’m going to remember. I’ve learned so much that I’m never going to forget,” Engel said. “We never gave up, and we never backed down from a challenge. Not only did we work hard, but we also had a good time together.”
“I hope people remember us as a sisterhood. All of us are best friends. Everybody loves each other on this team,” Sumpter said. “I’ll never forget the opportunity to play for this school. Camas has a great soccer program, and always has. Even when I’m old, and have my own kids, I’ll still be watching Camas play.”
The kind of love these sisters share for soccer brings Minder back for more.
“It was great to see the relationships they built, the love they had for each other, and how hard they played for each other,” Minder said. “If this is the kind of effort I’m going to get from these girls, I have no worries about the future.”