CAMAS — There was no rattling the Mountain View boys soccer team on Saturday.
Not when the goalkeeping of Camas’ Connor Heredia spoiled their best scoring chances. And not when a perfect shot by the Papermakers Houston Taie put Camas in front with just over 20 minutes left at Doc Harris Stadium.
“It was a stressful moment, but we really just had to relax,” Mountain View junior Marshall Hartley said.
That worry-free attitude was somewhat reasonable. The Thunder were controlling play in the second half, so a drastic change wasn’t needed to produce the 2-1 triumph that sends Mountain View to the Class 3A state semifinals.
The Thunder will face Bainbridge at 1 p.m. on Friday at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup. The championship match and third-place game will be next Saturday.
It was Hartley who erased the Camas lead, scoring the first Thunder goal five minutes after Camas scored. Hartley somehow won a battle with a couple of Papermakers and from near the left post steered a free ball into the goal.
“There were two defenders there, and I got lucky,” Hartley said. “I was there at the right moment. Their back line was playing well.”
So was Heredia. Among several quality saves for the Camas sophomore was a punch stop that denied Hartley in the first half.
But the Papermakers’ goalkeeper had no play on the tying goal, and little hope on the game-winner that came with 11:15 remaining.
Mountain View senior Ngawang Choephel took a short pass from Fabian Celestin and, with the Papermakers scrambling to defend, turned quickly and drove a low ball into the goal from eight yards away.
“Their defense is good and their goalkeeper is top notch, so I had to get that off as soon as I could,” Choephel said.
The comeback was an example of the confidence this Mountain View team has developed after a shaky start to the season, a beginning that included a 5-1 loss to Camas. The Thunder got a 3-1 win at Camas a month later to help spark the late-season surge that they extended with this victory.
Mountain View coach Jeff Brooks — sporting a “lucky” blue shirt he wore while coaching Mountain View to three state finals in the mid-1990s — said he watched this team’s confidence grow as the freshmen and sophomores on the back line learned they could hold their own against older forwards.
“We’re a team that likes to play with the ball on the ground,” Brooks said. “We needed to get away from playing kickball.
Once we started possessing the ball and knocking it around, you could see the confidence building and the chances were getting created.”
But it was the home team that broke through first. Taie, a junior, drove a shot from outside the 18-yard box that caught the inside of the left post, danced along the goal line to bounce off of the right post and into the goal.
It was the kind of strike that in recent seasons Camas has turned into championships. But on Saturday, it was the Thunder who found the magic.
“They had control. They were more dangerous,” Camas coach Roland Minder said, “They played very well as a team.”
MOUNTAIN VIEW 2, CAMAS 1
Goals (assists) — Marshall Hartley (Foster Langsdorf), 63rd minute; Ngawang Choephel (Fabian Celestin), 69th minute. Goalkeeper saves — Christian Asividio 6.
Goal (assist) — Houston Taie (unassisted), 58th minute. Goalkeeper saves — Connor Heredia 6.
Halftime score — 0-0.