BATTLE GROUND – Thursday was all about second chances for the Camas girls soccer team.
Ava Blackburn and Parker Mairs both scored goals to lead the Papermakers to a 2-0 win over Skyview in a 4A bi-district playoff at District Stadium, clinching a state playoff berth for Camas.
It was a little different route to state than the Papermakers are accustomed to taking.
Normally, they clinch a spot on their first bi-district game, not their third.
“Yeah, we took the tough route, you could say, but we made it,” Mairs said.
Camas opened the bi-district playoffs with a wild a 4-3 loss to Puyallup last Saturday. That dropped the Papermakers into a loser-out match Tuesday against Graham-Kapowsin, which they won 3-1 after rallying from a 1-0 halftime deficit.
On Thursday against 4A Greater St. Helens League rival Skyview, Camas played from ahead when Blackburn took a pass from Mairs to score in the final minute of the first half.
“I was kind of kicking myself for missing one on a cross (earlier), so when Parker gave me that (ball), I knew I just had to get it in the back of the net,” Blackburn said.
Mairs had only entered the match for the first time a few minutes earlier. The senior was nursing a sore knee that kept her out of Tuesday’s match against Graham-Kapowsin, and coach Keri Tomasetti was trying not to ask too much of her leading scorer.
Mairs gave Camas a 2-0 lead early in the second half when the ball bounced back to her off a corner kick, and she rocketed a shot into the goal from about 25 yards out.
“Yeah, that was a little crazy there in the (18-yard box) on the corner by Saige (McCusker),” Mairs said. “(Rachel Houston) got a nice dropback there, and I ended up being in the right spot.”
Tomasetti said the postseason has been a bit of microcosm of a rollercoaster regular season for the Papermakers.
“We’ve had a lot of players playing in different positions than they were before,” she said. “We had a lot of turnover from last year. We have a lot of players who didn’t get a lot of playing time on JV last year are now on varsity. So it’s definitely been a struggle just coming together. That first part of the season was a little bit rocky, to say the least.”
The Papermakers opened the season 2-2-2, before hitting their stride in league play.
And then they stumbled against Puyallup last Saturday.
“That was a good game, high scoring, honestly just back and forth,” Mairs said. “We could have finished a couple more goals, but we didn’t. That took us to the tough route, but we’re here now at state. And we definitely earned it.”
Now, Tomasetti hopes a few days off will help her players get healed up before opening state next Tuesday or Wednesday.
“It will be nice to have a long weekend of rest,” Tomasetti said. “Hopefully, this break will help us get over our injuries so we can go into the state tournament stronger than we were going into the bi-districts.”
Skyview will get a second chance of its own on Saturday. The Storm will play Rogers of Puyallup in a winner-to-state/loser-out match at 2 p.m. at Mt. Tahoma High School in Tacoma.