Defense ruled the day Saturday at Doc Harris Stadium, and propelled the Papermaker boys soccer team to state for the 13th straight season.
Camas knocked off a pesky Auburn Mountain View squad 1-0 in the bi-district championship game. Senior forward Drew White finished off an explosive end-to-end goal in the 28th minute, off a 40-yard pass down field by junior defender Wyatt Brown.
“I’m glad I got on the end of that one. It was a whole team effort,” White said. “Wyatt had a great through ball that led to that goal. It was all him on that play. I just happened to be on the end of it.”
Adam Allison, Nathan Beasley, Chris Miller, Parker Roland and White whipped up some incredible combinations, but the ball just seemed to bounce off the goal posts or end up in the hands of the opposing goalkeeper.
“I’m glad it was a close game Saturday, and that we fought through it,” White said. “That’s how the rest of our games are going to be like.”
“We had so many shots and chances, we just couldn’t get the ball in the back of the net,” said Camas senior goalkeeper Zach Anderson. “You hope we can put those kinds of opportunities away next game.”
Auburn attacked relentlessly in the game’s final 23 minutes. Anderson made one tricky save that took him out of position for the follow up. Just when Auburn thought it was about to tie the game, Brown came out of nowhere to block the ball. Defenders Mychael Dyra, Drew Gourlie, Michael Koceja and Matt Palodichuk also get the credit for preserving the shutout.
“The old adage ‘defense wins championships’ is true now more than ever,” said head coach Roland Minder. “Without the defense of Zach and the back five, it could have been overtime or a shootout. We didn’t want to take those chances.”
On Monday, the Seattle Times ranked Camas (16-1) third and Shorecrest (17-2) second in the state. Those two teams collide in the first round of the state tournament tonight, at Doc Harris Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
“We have to go through one of the better teams early on,” Minder said. “It’s not lucky, but to be the state champions means you have to beat everybody anyway.”
Shorecrest had won 39 straight games, before losing to the Papermakers last year in the state quarterfinals. Minder described it as one of the best high school soccer games he had ever seen. If both teams play to their potential tonight, Camas soccer fans should be in for a royal treat.
“Let’s hope we measure up,” Minder said. “We know they will.”
Approaching their final state tournament as seniors, Anderson and White could not be more determined.
“It’s always awesome to see one school be this successful, year-in and year-out. To be a part of that team is even more special,” Anderson said. “We’ve put in four great years of playoff history, and I hope we take the cup this year.”