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4A state soccer: Zach Ramsey’s first-half hat trick leads Mount Si past Camas in championship game

Papermakers' 15-game win streak ends with 3-1 loss in program's first state title game appearance since 2011

By Will Denner, Columbian staff writer
Published: May 25, 2024, 8:07pm
10 Photos
Mount Si's Zach Ramsey (10) and Camas' Owen Tuttle (20) go up to head the ball during the Class 4A boys soccer state championship game on Saturday, May 25, 2024, at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.
Mount Si's Zach Ramsey (10) and Camas' Owen Tuttle (20) go up to head the ball during the Class 4A boys soccer state championship game on Saturday, May 25, 2024, at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup. (Will Denner/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

PUYALLUP — This was a rare deficit the Camas boys soccer team couldn’t come back from.

As the Papermakers put together a 15-game win streak this season that carried them all the way to the Class 4A state championship game against Mount Si, they staked their claim as a team that could play from behind and still find a path to victory.

Seven come-from-behind wins to be exact, including Friday’s 3-2 state semifinal against Pasco, led the Papermakers to the championship game Saturday at Sparks Stadium.

After Mount Si’s Zach Ramsey scored the game’s first goal in the 32nd minute, recent history suggested Camas would find a way back. Then one goal became two, two became three and within the final 10 minutes of the first half, the No. 10 seed Wildcats were well on their way to a 3-1 win and the program’s first state championship.

“Just in that span, once they get the first one, you don’t have enough time to recover,” Camas coach Josh Stoller said. “… We always have that fight to come back, but today it was just too much.”

Ramsey, a University of Washington signee, finished his final high school game with a hat trick to reach 34 goals this season, scoring the latter two goals moments apart in first-half stoppage time. The third and final goal came directly from a corner kick that landed squarely on the goal line where a Camas defender was unable to kick the ball out.

The Papermakers finished the season with a 19-2-2 record and a second-place state trophy in the program’s first championship game appearance since 2011. Camas avoided a shutout thanks to senior Markku Laukkanen’s late goal in the second half and kept Mount Si out of goal for the final 40 minutes.

“A bit of our communication broke down, but we really fixed that up in the second half and finished strong,” senior center back Owen Tuttle said.

“We knew going down, the only team that could do it was us, so we just focused on working hard. That’s kind of what propelled us in the second half.”

Much like Friday’s semifinal, a scoreless first half meant the Papermakers needed to make a halftime adjustment to generate more goal-scoring opportunities. They opted for the same switch by moving sophomore defender Mason Teater up to forward while playing a three-man back line of Renato Lopez-Aceval, Tuttle and Noah McLamb.

Camas’ defense held up when tested, but from Stoller’s vantage point, the Papermakers didn’t test Mount Si goalkeeper Logan Aiken often enough. Prior to Laukkanen’s goal, Camas had just two shots on frame in the second half.

“We took a handful of shots today,” Stoller said, “and you’re not going to win a game when you’re down three when you don’t shoot the ball.”

The ending was a bitter pill to swallow for the Papermakers, but it didn’t diminish a season full of memorable moments. Though Camas had tallied seven state tournament appearances after its state title in 2011, none of those teams advanced past the quarterfinal round. The Papermakers broke through that ceiling this season with their resilience.

As Stoller pointed out after Saturday’s game, this Camas team is a young group with approximately two-thirds of its 22-man roster set to return. The coach’s message to those returning players is to follow the standard of hard work the Papermakers’ senior class set this offseason, led by captains Luke Jones, Shiven Friedeman and Tuttle. Do that, and the Papermakers can seize a return trip to state, Stoller said.

“Those three, it’s hard to have a better leadership group than we had this year, and each one of them put in the work,” Stoller said. “Leaders by example, right? The message to those young guys was to look at what they did all year, look at their hard work all year and replicate it. We’ll start even earlier, we’ll get after it even harder and we’ll be back.”

Tuttle, for one, is proud of the culture Camas built, and is hopeful it carries through long after he and six fellow seniors graduate.

“We have good guys on our team with a lot of talent who work hard — that’s kind of the culture we made,” he said. “Hopefully going forward, we can prolong that and keep going as long as possible. I’m happy with our group, and I hope we keep going.”