Batroukh helps save Camas' soccer season

Goalkeeper stops final penalty kick attempt by Skyline

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

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CAMAS -- Sharif Batroukh made a big save for the Camas boys soccer team in the first minute of Tuesday's Class 4A state playoff match at Doc Harris Stadium.

About two hours later, he made an even bigger stop.

Batroukh's diving save in the fifth round of a penalty-kick tiebreaker lifted the Papermakers past the Skyline of Sammamish and into the state quarterfinals.

After battling through 90 scoreless minutes, Camas won the tiebreaker by making all five of its penalty kicks while Batroukh came up with his fifth-round save.

"I saw (the shooter) open up his hips, and I thought he was going to go out to the right so I just made that early step and I was there," Batroukh said.

That save, after he made nine stops over the 90 minutes of regulation and overtime soccer, advanced the Papermakers (15-4) to a Saturday road game. Camas will visit the winner of Wednesday's match between Snohomish and Federal Way in the quarterfinals.

Moments before Batroukh's heroics, Skyline goalkeeper Zachary Anselmi thought he had put the Spartans in control by knocking away Cayne Cardwell's penalty kick with the tiebreaker knotted at 4-4. But the officials ruled that Anselmi had moved off the goalline too soon, and gave Cardwell a second chance.

"On the inside I was pretty nervous," Cardwell said of his do-over. "But I had to keep calm and not show the keeper that I was troubled."

Cardwell converted, setting the stage for Batroukh.

But that dramatic moment likely would not have happened if not for a save in the opening minute of play. A trio of Spartans had shots from in front of goal before the game was a minute old. Batroukh made his best stop of the game, a Camas defender blocked a shot, and a third attempt was knocked just high.

"Sharif didn't just save us in the shootout," Camas coach Roland Minder said. "That could have been the game right there. He definitely is the man of the match for us."

The Papermakers are usually the team pressing forward. But on this night, they took another direction to victory. Minder's plan was to disrupt Skyline's talented midfield as much as possible and hope to strike on the counter attack.

As a result Skyline earned 10 corner kicks to only two for Camas. And the visitors forced Batroukh to stay on his toes, while two Spartans goalkeepers made only three saves.

"We knew they were technically skilled. Good on the ball, good first touches," Minder said of the Spartans, who won 3-2 at Doc Harris Stadium on March 9 in the season opener. "They know how to find each other, they know how to switch the point of attack. And if we had totally opened the game up against them, it probably would not have gone well for us."

Camas didn't have much possession, in part because the instinct to pass into space was counter to this game plan resulting in to passes to no one.

But the Papermakers did have a couple of quality scoring chances. In the waning seconds of the first half, Matt Rose sent a header just high from a corner kick. And with 14 minutes remaining, Cardwell had a good look from the left of goal after a passing combination with Caleb Morrisey. But Ben Morgan, in goal for Skyline in the second half of the match, tipped the shot over the goal.

"I thought I had the goal, but I kind of rushed the shot and hit it right at the keeper and he tipped it over, unfortunately," Cardwell said.

Fortunately for Camas, its goalkeeper came up even bigger.