CAMAS – In a game that had the intensity of the state playoffs, the Camas girls soccer team made the big moments to match the occasion.
Bella Burns scored a first-half goal and Keely Wieczorek saved a penalty kick as Camas beat Eastlake 1-0 on Tuesday in a Class 4A first-round match at Doc Harris Stadium.
The No. 2 seed Papermakers, who haven’t lost since their season-opener against Jesuit, were given a tough test by the No. 15 seed from Sammamish.
But then again, Camas expects every match at this stage to be a step up in competition and intensity.
“It just felt different before we started the game,” Burns said. “The intensity was high. We knew our season was on the line if we didn’t come out to win. We stepped it up and played more tenacious on the ball.”
Eastlake’s goalkeeper Lou Champoux-Roberts kept Camas off the board early, especially when she pushed a low hard shot by Parker Mairs off the right goalpost.
But Burns put Camas ahead when she tried her luck from 20 yards. The high shot went off of Champoux-Roberts’ hands and into the net, putting the Papermakers ahead 1-0 after 22 minutes.
“I take as many shots as I can,” Burns said. “Parker (Mairs) gave me a good ball and I got it on my left foot.”
Eastlake had a prime chance to pull even just before halftime when a penalty kick was called after a collision that sent Jaelyn Byeman to the turf.
But Wieczorek, the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League co-MVP, was up to the challenge and in practice after saving the final shot in a penalty-kick shootout to give Camas the bi-district championship over Curtis last Thursday.
Wieczorek dove to her left to push the low shot just outside of the right goalpost.
“I swear we locked eyes,” said Wieczorek. “I just had a gut feeling. That’s what I’ve always said with PKs. It’s a gut feeling. I don’t like to guess. She hit it and I felt myself going that way. I didn’t have anything through my head. I was just, this ball is not going in the net.”
That changed the mood heading into halftime. Instead of having surrendered a lead and facing a second half of do-or-die soccer, the Papermakers entered the locker room on a high.
“It was crucial,” Burns said. “Keely is just our real MVP.”
Eastlake (9-4-5) upped the pressure in the second half. That led to a few tense moments, including when a shot from 20 yards grazed off the crossbar with 17 minutes to play. But Camas stayed tight on defense.
“Every single one of my defenders and my midfielders, they got back and they marked,” said Wieczorek, who had six saves. “There were probably 20 shots that they were in front of and marked. They saved me from having to do more work than I did.”
Camas faces No. 7 seed Issaquah, a 5-0 winner Tuesday over Olympia, in a quarterfinal match at 4 p.m. Saturday at Doc Harris Stadium. That is a rematch of last year’s state championship match, which Camas won in a penalty kick shootout.