Eyes on the Prize

Maddie Kemp and company return coach Roland Minder to state semi-finals one last time

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In pain and stiff from a hamstring injury, Camas soccer forward Maddie Kemp still managed to help lead her sister Papermakers to victory in the team’s first two state playoff games, Nov. 8.

The soccer star, who has scored more goals than any soccer player in Camas High history, originally injured her leg in the district tournament in October. A kick late in the Nov. 8 state playoff game against the Jackson High School Timberwolves at Doc Harris Stadium reinjured Kemp’s leg.

“Our trainer said there was a less than 50 percent chance I would play against Jackson, but there was no way I was going to sit this out,” Kemp said.

Kemp scored the only goal of the game, bringing Camas to a 1-0 victory over the Timberwolves.

Now, she said she is doing everything possible to manage the pain, including electro-neuro therapy sessions and laser therapy, which reduces inflammation, swelling and pain.

“Coach Minder has also let me watch most of the practices to alleviate any unnecessary stress to the area in-between game days,” Kemp said.

“Maddie is a warrior and she is playing hard,” Camas head soccer coach Roland Minder said.

Senior goalkeeper Elaina Demeritt, who moved to Camas from Ohio at the start of the season, had seven saves in the first-round win over Jackson High.

“We went into the game with a new backline because of injuries, but it didn’t stop us because we are flexible with our team play,” Demeritt said.

Last home game for Minder, seniors

Two days later, on Nov. 10, Camas hosted Bellarmine Prep from Tacoma, the second straight year the Papermakers faced off with the Lions.

This marked the last home game for Minder, who is retiring after coaching in Camas for more than 30 years.

After a low-scoring, defensive contest against Jackson, the Camas offense kicked into gear against Bellarmine Prep, moving in a fast and furious fashion.

Twelve minutes into the first half, Kemp scored with a header after a perfect corner kick from Callie Rheaume.

Over the next four minutes, two other seniors — Jazzy Paulsen and Jenna Afraimso — scored goals for Camas. Then, before the first half ended, Kemp crushed a long-distance shot, catching the goalkeeper from Bellarmine Prep off guard.

“The first half was really great, and we dominated,” Minder said.

However, in the second half, the Papermakers gave up two goals to set plays that started with corner kicks.

“That’s been the story all season. If a team scores against us, it’s usually from a free-kick play, and that’s something we must stop if we are going to win the state championship,” Minder said.

When the horn sounded at Doc Harris Stadium on Nov. 10, the scoreboard read Camas – 4, Visitors – 2.

It was coach Minder’s last home game in Camas, and he could not have come up with a better way to thank the town he’s served faithfully for three decades.

“You know, I’ve always felt when we were the doormat of Southwest Washington, that our kids deserved better,” Minder said. “It’s never been about my career. It’s always been about trying to serve the community.”

Kemp and the rest of the Camas seniors share a special kinship with their coach because this is their last season as well.

“The fact that these are the final two games of my high school career is quickly becoming a reality, and it’s sad that it’s coming to an end, but it’s exciting that we have an opportunity to leave a great legacy at Camas High School,” Kemp said.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Camas girls soccer team — state champs in 2016 — will play in the semi-finals and are only two games away from another state championship. Camas will play Central Valley High from Spokane in the semi-finals at 6 p.m., Friday, Nov. 16, at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup. If the Papermakers win that round, they will play for the championship at 4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 17.