Camas 4, Southridge 1
Key to the game: The Papermakers won most of the contested balls in the midfield and in their defending third, feeding their attack and frustrating the Suns.
In the Finals: Camas is 2-2 in state championship matches. Bainbridged reached the finals by edging top-ranked Glacier Peak on penalty kicks after playing to a 1-1 drew in Friday’s other 3A semifinal.
LAKEWOOD — Determined not to get sidetracked, the Camas High boys soccer earned another shot at a state championship.
Propelled by the memory of a semifinal-round letdown last year, the Papermakers pushed aside Southridge of Kennewick with an impressive demonstration of will and skill on Friday, beating the Suns 4-1 in a Class 3A state semifinal at Harry Lang Stadium.
Camas (19-1) will play Bainbridge at 2 p.m. on Saturday for the program’s fourth state title.
Nathan Beasley and Adam Allison scored first-half goals, and Drew White added two more midway through the second half to finish off Southridge (18-3).
Playing on a worn and wet artificial turf made it difficult for either team to make a series of clean touches on the ball, but the Papermakers were the aggressors in earning their school’s fifth trip to the boys soccer state finals.
“The ball really skips away from you,” Camas midfielder Chris Miller said. “You’ve got to adjust. You’ve got to keep the ball close to your feet, and pass to feet more than out in front. We’ve got to do that better (in the finals).”
Camas asserted itself by winning a majority of contested balls and quickly looking for its trademark counter attack.
“The middle of the field was so packed that it was really tough for our midfielders to get the ball outside,” said White, who starts on the left wing. “But they did a great job working off the ball and winning headers to give us opportunities up top.”
Camas missed on four high-quality chances in the first 10 minutes. But when the goal came, in the 15th minute, it was a thing of beauty.
The play started with Parker Roland winning possession in midfield and sending a pass up the left side for White. White’s cross was controlled by Allison to the right of goal, and his pass back to the middle of the penalty area was directed in by Beasley.
“There were a lot of (Suns) in front of me,” Beasley, a freshman, said. “I was just ready for the ball to come to me and I was able to touch it into the corner.
“It wasn’t the best touch that I’ve had. But the ball’s in the net. A goal’s a goal.”
The first goal in this state semifinal seemed to add steam to the Camas attack, and in the 37th minute Allison took advantage of some miscommunication between the Southridge defense and freshman goalkeeper James Fort on a ball bounding into the 18-yard box.
“I didn’t know what was going on, but I just kept going to the ball and it skipped right through,” said Allison, who misfired on a couple of high-quality chances earlier. “The keeper kind of stopped and then decided to come out. It was a pretty open goal.”
If Allison’s goal just before halftime didn’t close the door on the Suns, then White’s perfect header on a Miller corner kick in the 57th minute certainly did.
“It was just a perfect ball by Chris,” said White, who scored the fourth Camas goal on a rebound minutes later. “He and I have been practicing those on our own and in practice. It’s great that we had the opportunity to do it in a game.”
Leading big, every player in uniform for Camas saw the field, giving young players some final-four experience and getting the regulars a little extra rest for the final match against Bainbridge. Southridge’s Javier Gamaz punched in a goal off a misplayed ball with less than two minutes left in the match.
A season ago, Camas came to the final four flying high, but gave up two quick goals and wound up losing in the semifinals to Mount Rainier. That experience has been a motivating force for the current Papermakers, and Friday helped push them into another state final.
“We knew we had to come out aggressive and score goals,” Camas coach Roland Minder said. “We get a lot of chances, but we don’t finish a whole lot. So we just have to keep going and going, and based on the law of averages put one in eventually.”
Camas, of course, is not your average soccer program. Today, they get another shot to rule Washington’s 3A classification for a third time.
CAMAS 4, SOUTHRIDGE 1
Goal — Javier Gamaz (unassisted) 89th minute. Goalkeeper saves — James Fort 8.
Goals (assists) — Nathan Beasley (Adam Allison) 15th minute; Allison (unassisted), 37th minute; Drew White (Chris Miller) 57th minute; White (Parker Roland) 60th minute. Goalkeeper saves — Zach Anderson 3, Sharif Batroukh 0.
Halftime — Camas 2-0.