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4A state soccer: With a little luck and a big rally, Camas beats Mount Rainier 3-2 in 4A state playoff

Papermakers erase 2-1 deficit in final 27 minutes to advance to state quarterfinals

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published: May 14, 2024, 10:43pm
7 Photos
Camas players Jack Odone (0) and Cooper Schneider (9) celebrate with teammates after the Papermakers' 3-2 win over Mount Rainier in a Class 4A state boys soccer round-of-16 game at Doc Harris Stadium in Camas on Tuesday, May 14, 2024.
Camas players Jack Odone (0) and Cooper Schneider (9) celebrate with teammates after the Papermakers' 3-2 win over Mount Rainier in a Class 4A state boys soccer round-of-16 game at Doc Harris Stadium in Camas on Tuesday, May 14, 2024. (Tim Martinez/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

CAMAS — Sometimes it’s good to be lucky.

But it’s better to be good and lucky.

Fortune favored Luke Manandic and Camas boys soccer team on Tuesday as the Papermakers rallied in the second half to beat Mount Rainier 3-2 in a Class 4A state playoff game Tuesday at Doc Harris Stadium.

“They really came at us and put us on our heels,” Camas coach Josh Stoller said. “I don’t think we’ve had a team do that to us since our first match with Union. But the guys responded well. … I don’t think there is any team that we can’t come back on when we’re playing our game.”

Manandic got the Papermakers on the board first when he lined up to take a free kick from about 45 yards out in the 34th minute. The sophomore hit the ball deep downfield where it sailed perfectly over the head of Mount Rainier goalkeeper Gabriel Chicas Pineda and into the goal.

Manandic admitted that wasn’t necessarily the plan.

“To be honest, I was just trying to get it in (to teammates in front of the goal), but I overhit it,” he said. “And I just got lucky.”

“The sun was with us on that one,” Stoller said. “That’s what I’m going to say.”

The goal allowed Camas to take a 1-0 advantage into halftime.

Mount Rainier brought good pressure in the first half but kept getting turned away by Camas goalkeeper Will Taves. In the second half, the Rams broke through with two goals in a minute span in the 49th and 50th minutes.

“We didn’t come out hard; they did,” senior Luke Jones said. “They were able to turn it around. But we always keep our head in the game. We’ve faced adversity like that this season earlier. We’ve gotten down. You just got to keep your head. Stay in the game and it will come. You’ve just got to be patient.”

The Papermakers didn’t have to wait too long, when Owen Tuttle converted a goal off a corner kick in the 53rd minute to make it 2-2.

Stoller often likes to bring his 6-foot-5 defender forward for set pieces.

“Yeah, I think that seven or eight goals this season for our center back,” Stoller said. “He’s a big target in there.”

Tuttle left the game late after taking a shot to the side of the face while trying to clear out a Mount Rainier challenge.

“He’s our secret weapon, for sure,” Jones said. “Any ball on the back post, he’s got. That’s his bread and butter. We love to have him. Hopefully, he’s doing OK in there. He got a little banged up.”

The Papermakers got the go-ahead goal in the 72nd minute. Cooper Schneider brought pressure up the left side and got a strong shot off that Chicas Pineda stopped with his leg. But the hard rebound hit a Mount Rainier teammate, drawing a handball call in the penalty box.

That set up a penalty kick from Jones, which the senior converted.

From there, Papermakers held on for their 13th consecutive victory. Camas is lined up to host a state quarterfinal match likely on Saturday against the winner of Wednesday’s Chiawana-Curtis match.

After a tough battle against a talented and determined Mount Rainier squad, the Papermakers know things will only get harder from here out.

“This is the state tournament and seeds really don’t matter,” Stoller said. “Every team earned their way here. And any team we face going forward is going to be as good if not better than us. So we have to be ready for that.”

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