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Late-game heroics help Camas boys soccer team earn hard-fought, 2-1 win over Union

Owen Tuttle’s stoppage time goal, Will Taves’ 7 saves put Papermakers over the top

By Will Denner, Columbian staff writer
Published: April 29, 2024, 11:25pm

CAMAS — Will Taves didn’t need a reminder of what happened last time his Camas boys soccer team faced rival Union one month ago.

Taves, a junior goalkeeper, was in goal for that March 28 game when a Union shot slipped through his grasp and into the net for the game-winning overtime golden goal.

Rather than try to forget about it, Taves confronted the moment head on. He saved a screenshot of a video showing the goal, keeping it fresh in his mind as the days ticked down to the rematch.

“I couldn’t accept being 0-2 against Union this year,” he said. “I had to leave it all out there, no matter what.”

14 Photos
Cooper Schneider (9) of Camas celebrates his first-half goal with teammates during a 4A Greater St. Helens League boys soccer match against Union at Doc Harris Stadium in Camas on Monday, April 29, 2024.
Boys Soccer: Union at Camas Photo Gallery

The Papermakers, Taves included, were unwavering in the closing minutes of Monday’s 2-1 win over the Titans at Doc Harris Stadium. After more than 50 minutes of a 1-1 tie, a Camas corner kick in second-half stoppage time was headed off the post by Markku Laukkanen, then bounced to an open Owen Tuttle for the go-ahead goal.

Camas (12-1-2, 4-1 4A GSHL) handed Union (14-1, 4-1) its first loss of the season and forced a tie for first in the league standings with one game left Wednesday.

“We practiced really hard every day, waiting for this moment,” Tuttle said. “We were just preparing, and it happened. We’re happy to be here.”

The game-winning goal followed several minutes of a fast and furious Union attack, which required Taves to make a trio of saves, including one with his head, and another using all of his 6-foot-5 frame to deflect a high-arching Canaan Moore free kick moments before Suttle’s strike. After Camas senior goalkeeper Jack Odone played the first half, Taves subbed in to make seven saves during the final 40 minutes plus stoppage time.

“He did nothing but great when he went in there,” Camas coach Josh Stoller said. “His mental stability and staying locked in from the sideline for a whole half, that’s tough to do. Tough to watch and then step on the field to be ready to go. To come through with seven big saves, one off the head, I mean, he really stepped up to the plate. He’s one of the good leaders on this team.”

The Papermakers appeared to be energized from the first whistle when senior Jayden Alvez, who suffered a season-ending foot injury two weeks ago against Olympia, kicked off from the center circle on crutches and the Papermakers kicked the ball out of bounds. According to Stoller, the Titans and coach Jason Moore signed off on the idea when Camas ran it by them.

From there, Camas nearly scored just one minute into the game and owned the possession advantage through the first 20 minutes. Camas’ Cooper Schneider scored first in the 18th minute, curving in a shot into the top corner of the net, assisted by Laukkanen.

Union countered with a goal just 10 minutes later when Canaan Moore sent a long throw-in to the penalty area and Janpier Tapia-Abundiz put through a goal from close range.

It was a similar situation as last month when Camas scored first, only for Union to counter with two unanswered goals.

Yet one month later, the Papermakers feel like they’re a different team. That March 28 loss, as it turned out, was a moment of reckoning for the team. Now winners of eight straight, they haven’t lost since.

“We sat down after that last loss, came together as a group and figured out what our identity would be moving forward for this season,” Stoller said. “(We) came up with a common goal and started working on it.”

“Just built-up emotion,” Taves added. “As a team we’ve come so far this season, like, every practice has been emotional. Between players not knowing each other, coming from different teams, we’ve all finally bonded, and it showed out there tonight.”

Camas and Union have put together lengthy win streaks and fared well against Class 4A teams statewide. Both should be tough outs when the 4A bi-district playoffs begin Saturday.

Specifically for the Papermakers, their latest win against a tough league foe is further proof of a team trending upward at the right time, according to Stoller.

“Every day in practice is a battle, every team we play we go for vengeance and that’s how we roll through the season,” Tuttle said.

CAMAS 2, UNION 1

Union

Goals (assists) — Janpier Tapia-Abundiz (Canaan Moore). Goalkeeper saves — Jesus Gutierrez 4.

Camas

Goals (assists) — Cooper Schneider (Markku Laukkanen), Owen Tuttle (Laukkanen). Goalkeeper saves — Jack Odone 4, William Taves 7.

Halftime — 1-1.

JV — 2-1 Camas.

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