CAMAS — As the wind howled in the opening minutes of Camas’ opening round girls soccer state playoff game, Bellarmine Prep delivered a pair of sturdy tackles, each knocking the Papermakers off balance — and off their feet.
No whistle was blown from the center referee. It was a sign that Camas was in for a fight.
And the Papermakers emerged at the end with a win. Carla Jooste’s 33rd minute header goal off a free kick end wound up being the only one Camas needed in a 1-0 win over Bellarmine Prep of Tacoma on Wednesday night to advance to the 4A state quarterfinals.
“When they came out it was definitely hard to adjust,” Jooste said. “We did a pretty good job of holding them off. … We fought back too.”
The Papermakers’ undefeated 2016 campaign landed them a state title — the program’s second under coach Roland Minder. The win Wednesday night puts Camas one step closer to its ultimate goal of a repeat.
But after a narrow win over a tough opponent, the Papermakers know not to look to far ahead when spelling out its goals.
“We’d really like to get the next one and get back to the final four,” Minder said. “That’s our next goal.”
First, Camas will face Skyline on Saturday at Doc Harris Stadium.
On Wednesday night, Jooste’s goal was the eventual game-winner, but Camas had a handful of chances and worked the ball around in the box.
“We should have scored more,” Jooste said. “We had the plays to score, but we couldn’t finish. It felt really good to get that goal. For the team it was a confidence booster.”
Camas won a free kick outside the box, which senior defender Perrin Belzer delivered into a scrum of forwards. Jooste rose up and headed the ball past the keeper — just like it was drawn up.
“It was beautiful,” Minder said. “The service was impeccable, the finish was absolutely textbook, and to do it against the wind in the first half , that was really helpful.”
It was Jooste’s third goal of the season. Certainly her most impactful.
“I just went for it. I think I closed my eyes, too, but it just ended up in the perfect spot,” she said.
The wind played a factor all night, whipping one of Jazzlyn Paulson’s corner kicks out of bounds in the second half, and sending a handful of shots — from both teams — sailing high over the crossbar.
“Anything that goes into the air, it just drifted off,” Minder said. “The weather conditions were not ideal.”
Chances were hard to come by for the Papermakers in the second half, as the Bellarmine Prep back line stood tall.
With 16 minutes left, Jenna Efraimson received a ball in the box, shielded off her defender right in time to deliver a through ball to an wide open Maddie Kemp, but her shot was saved by the Lions’ goalkeeper.
Despite its narrow lead, Camas never stopped pressing, and it was awarded with opportunities late in the game. Goalkeeper Falissitie DePasquale delivered her share of saves to post a much-earned clean sheet.
But the second goal never came.
“It’s just a matter of getting a true aim,” Minder said.