No place like home

Core of seniors aim for another state soccer championship

By Dan Trujillo, Columbian staff writer

Published:

 

Eighty minutes goes by fast when the soccer is this good.

Squaring off against the number-two ranked team in the state, the Camas High School boys smashed Shorecrest with a force of a tidal wave by scoring three goals in the final 17 minutes May 17, at Doc Harris Stadium. The 3-0 victory for the Papermakers was the 250th for head coach Roland Minder.

“Minder deserves it,” said co-captain Drew White. “He’s worked so hard for all our teams, and it’s about time he gets some credit.”

White capped off the win by scoring the third goal, but the first one set off a chain reaction.

It started with an incredible run up the field by freshman Nathan Beasley. He fought around two defenders and drew the goalkeeper out of the box. Beasley saw the keeper charging toward him, so he crossed the ball in hopes of connecting with a teammate. One of the defenders attempted to intercept the pass, and that’s when it happened. The ball bounced off his leg and rolled into an empty goal.

“We were building momentum the whole game. We were bound to get a goal in eventually,” said Beasley, who grew up watching his brothers Greg and Quinton win state soccer championships with the Papermakers.

“I’m living the dream right now,” he said.

After 53 agonizing minutes with no goals, Camas suddenly had the edge. But it was only the beginning.

“That first one set us off,” White said. “Once we got a taste of the goal, there was no stopping us.”

Adam Allison and White fired in back-to-back goals in a matter of minutes. Wyatt Brown, Michael Dyra, Drew Gourlie, Michael Koceja and Matt Palodichuk continued to play incredible defense, and goalkeeper Zach Anderson made three clutch saves.

“We play for each other. That’s the huge difference between this year and previous years,” White said. “When we played these guys last year, it was intense. This year, it felt like every single player wanted it so badly. There were hardly any shots because people were willing to put their bodies on the line for that ball.”

Soccer fans returned to Doc Harris Stadium in bunches Saturday, and the Papermakers didn’t disappoint. Brown and Beasley delivered goals to help Camas beat Sammamish 2-0 in the state quarterfinals. The win sends the boys back to the Final Four for the third time in the last four years.

Camas (18-1) faces Southridge of Kennewick in the semifinals Friday, at Harry Lang Stadium in Lakewood. Kick off is at 4 p.m. The winning team plays for the state championship Saturday, at 2 p.m.

“It feels amazing,” Brown said. “This is just my first year on varsity. I’m so glad to be a part of this team. I love everybody out here.”

Brown finished off a head-spinning goal by the Papermakers in the 17th minute Saturday. Beasley chased down a long cross by Allison from the right, and fired the ball to Parker Roland in the middle. Roland threaded the needle through a seam of defenders and Brown tied the knot.

“That one was all on Parker,” Brown said. “It was a great one, two.”

Defense ruled the day again in Camas, and Brown was right in the middle of it.

“I was the least valuable defender in this game,” he said. “Matt [Palodichuk] did everything right. Michael [Dyra] didn’t let anything by him. He was impeccable. Zach [Anderson] made save after save. It was perfect defense for us.”

Anderson notched five saves, three in the clutch during the final 20 minutes. Allison and Dyra also blocked shots off Sammamish corner kicks.

“We’ve been able to keep a shutout going throughout the playoffs. It comes from the pride we all have inside,” Anderson said. “If we don’t allow them to score any goals, we know we can win.”

Anderson, White, Roland, Gourlie and Chris Miller were on the field in the final minutes of the Papermakers’ state championship clinching victory in 2008. Four years goes by fast when the soccer is this fun.

“It goes back to our set group who won it all as freshmen,” Anderson said. “We want to win it all again as seniors. We want to cement our legacy.”

The Minder 250

Read more about Minder’s 250th coaching victory at Camas by visiting www. camaspostrecord.com/news/sports.

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