The Camas High School girls soccer team completed its storybook season by winning the state championship trophy.
“We’re indestructible, undefeated,” said defender Marley LeFore, one of 10 seniors on the team.
“Offense wins games, defense wins championships,” she added. “Our offense won the game for us, but our defense won the whole thing. Only letting in two goals all year, that’s record breaking. It’s nice to leave that legacy.”
The Papermakers defeated West Valley, Yakima, 3-0 Saturday, at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup. They mustered up all the strength they had left to hoist up the big trophy and chant the Camas fight song.
“Singing together and coming together as a group, and that giant big hug at the end,” said co-captain Sabine Postma. “It was amazing.”
Head coach Roland Minder watched the celebration with a big smile on his face. He said this is the best high school soccer team in Camas history.
“Best team, the closest team, best chemistry and performance wise in every aspect. I am so proud of all of them.”
The victory for Camas was textbook. Score a goal early, play stalwart defense and kick a few more goals in during the second half to seal the deal.
Maddie Kemp finished off a nice run and pass by Perri Belzer to get the Papermakers on the board in the seventh minute.
“They left Perri open and she delivered a perfect ball through,” Kemp said. “Not too hard, not too soft. It was great on her part.”
Kemp finished the season with a school record 31 goals, including 10 in the playoffs. She dedicated every single goal to the seniors she learned so much from.
“I don’t know if we’re ever going to get an opportunity like this again. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we took advantage of,” Kemp said. “I’m never going to forget this group of girls. Playing with them has been amazing.”
Postma gave the Papermakers some room to breathe when she ripped in a goal from 30 yards out at the midway point in the second half.
“I took a touch and said, ‘You’re going to hit it as hard as you can.’ And it went in. I was so proud.”
Morgan Winston fired in the final goal from 25 yards away. Just a few minutes later, Camas was the last team standing in the state.
“This is probably the cherry on top of everything,” LeFore said. “We all wanted it so bad. Getting third last year was disappointing. We had that chip on our shoulder and just wanted to get back here and finish what we started.”
The final statistics for this Camas team are staggering — 89 goals scored on 67 assists, only two goals given up, 21 victories, 20 shutouts and a state championship to boot.
“‘Best team ever’ represents it, but I also think just the relationships everyone has with each other,” Belzer said. “It’s unbelievable. We’re all so close, best friends, sisters, all that. I think that ties into being the best team because we all work for each other.”
Injured captain Hannah Taie couldn’t have been more proud of her teammates.
“They stepped up and played different positions because I wasn’t in. You could tell that every single one of them gave everything they had to make it happen,” she said. “It was our dream to win a state title our senior year. I wished I could have been out there with them, but I know that they did it.”
Camas needed to beat Skyline in the semifinals Friday to have a shot at the title. Alyssa Tomasini delivered the Papermakers to a 1-0 victory by striking the back of the net in the last 10 minutes. It was her 22nd goal of the season.
“I lost my breath the whole time, just watching that ball hit the back of the net,” Tomasini said. “All of my teammates coming out and tackling me after the game was over, that was the greatest feeling ever. I’ve never scored a bigger goal.”
Belzer, Ashley Carter, Sarah Davidson and LeFore put their bodies on the line to keep the Spartans at bay.
“We just wanted to sacrifice everything because we only had one game left, and we’re seniors,” Davidson said. “We set almost every single record for Camas. We wanted to get another one because we hadn’t won a finals since 2005.”
Goalkeeper Julia Coombs stopped a potential game-tying goal for Skyline in the last five minutes.
“This is my responsibility now,” Coombs told herself after Camas took the lead. “My team put in all the hard work for me, Alyssa put the ball in the back of the net, it’s my turn to repay them.”
Minder was proud to watch the Papermakers rise to the occasion against a fast and physical team.
“Before the game, I asked them, ‘What do 2009, 2012 and 2015 all have in common?’ After the semifinals, I had to give a consolation talk,” he said. “We’re not doing that this time. It’s our turn. We’re tired of consolation talks. And they came through.”