Camas and state champion Issaquah didn’t give in an inch during 90 minutes of soccer Friday, at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.
With no goals by either team after regulation and two overtime sessions, a shootout was needed to determine who would play West Valley, of Yakima, for the state title.
Under that format, the Eagles prevailed 3-2, but Camas head coach Roland Minder said the loss did nothing to damage the credibility of the Papermakers. The girls proved on the field that they belonged in the final four.
“I hope none of them takes this on themselves. It’s a team sport. All 22 of us. We celebrate our wins and we mourn our losses together,” Minder said. “This does not define who they are as a team. It doesn’t mean they’re not a great team in my eyes or anybody else’s eyes. They made me proud and they made Camas proud.”
Less than 14 hours later, those 22 Papermakers returned to the same field and defeated Gonzaga Prep 2-0 for third place in the 4A state tournament.
Camas finished with an all-time best 20 victories this season. You would have to go back 10 years, to the state championship squad in 2005, to find a team better than this one.
“It was such a good team,” said co-captain Amanda Shi. “All of the seniors, since freshmen year, we’ve gone through the program with Minder. Not winning any playoff games last year drove us to go farther this year. Coming back home with a plaque, and bringing home a plaque to Camas, feels really good.”
Sarah Davidson scored the first goal of the game Saturday in the 25th minute. She fielded a throw-in by Perri Belzer and blasted the ball into the net from 12 yards out.
“Her throw-ins are pretty much like corners,” Davidson said. “I knew to get back in the box. I finally just got a touch on it and ripped it with my left.”
Camas continued to thirst for another goal. Strong play in the midfield by Marley LeFore, Ellie Echeverio, Sabine Postma, Fiona Samodurov and Rylee MacDonald generated scoring opportunities for Alyssa Tomasini, Maddie Kemp, Sarah Yang and Shi.
Finally, Tomasini provided the Papermakers with an insurance goal in the last 15 minutes.
After the Gonzaga Prep keeper swatted a shot by Kemp over the goal, Belzer launched a corner kick and there was a scramble for the ball in front of the goal. Tomasini stepped back and fired the ball into the net from 15 yards away.
“We came out with high energy. We knew what we wanted,” Tomasini said. “Third is still a big deal. We’re playing for Camas. We just want to go out with a win.”
Senior center backs Mason Minder and Anyssa DeVera cleared the remaining threats out of the back. Junior Hannah Taie headed a ball away from the goal before Gonzaga Prep could get a shot on it in the first half. Belzer also brought the ball up the field and out of danger several times.
“As a team, we decided we were going to win this game no matter what,” Belzer said. “We all just fought for each other.”
Although the loss to Issaquah was devastating, it didn’t stop the Papermakers from putting the finishing touches on one of the best girls soccer seasons in Camas history.
“This team, I’ll remember the most,” said co-captain Mason Minder. “Not even the game. Just this team, and the people I got to play with.”
Minder, Shi, DeVera, MacDonald, Samodurov, Yang and Lindsey Latimer graduate in June, but Shi said this sisterhood should remain intact.
“This is a bond that is not going to be broken,” she said. “Through soccer, we have formed these friendships that are going to last forever.”