CAMAS, Wash. – Guesswork and preparation came together in a defining moment for the Ferris boys soccer team on Saturday.
Saxons goalkeeper Alex Pells guessed right for the save that sends his team to the State 4A semifinals. Ferris outscored the Camas Papermakers 5-4 in a penalty-kick tiebreaker after the teams battled to a 1-1 draw in Saturday’s state quarterfinal match at Doc Harris Stadium.
“It was just a guess and it worked out for us,” Pells said of diving about his right to save a shot by Camas’ Cameron Eyman. “It’s a PK shootout. It’s all luck and guessing.”
His save was followed by a clinching penalty kick from Eric Hollenbaugh that sends the Saxons to the semifinals one year after they came up short in the quarterfinals.
In Friday’s semifinals at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup, Ferris will face Skyview of Vancouver. The Storm finished second to Camas in the 4A Greater St. Helens League then beat the Papermakers on penalty kicks for the district title – Camas’ only other loss.
Ferris played a strong first half on Saturday and took the lead in the 26th minute on a Hollenbaugh goal. The Saxons took advantage of Matt Beaulaurier’s ability to throw the ball into the penalty area. Forward Terry Cox got a head on the ball and flicked it past the Camas defense to Hollenbaugh, who was wide open and took his time shooting the ball past Camas goalkeeper Sharif Batroukh.
Down by a goal and frustrated by Ferris’ well-organized defense, Camas added a second attacking midfielder in the second half and became more assertive.
Matt Palodichuk’s header 10 minutes into the second half tied it at 1-1. The Papermakers outshot Ferris 8-2 and had almost every scoring chance in the second 40 minutes but the go-ahead goal never came.
“Their back line was the most organized than what we’ve seen all year,” Palodichuk said. “They stayed compact, they stayed organized. If we beat them they had a guy who was in cover right away. They played well.”
In addition to withstanding the Camas push, the Ferris defense survived a wrist injury that forced senior center back Sam Garcia out of the match 15 minutes into the second half. Pells said co-captain Beaulaurier’s leadership was critical to holding off the Papermakers.
“He helped us stay composed in the back even when we lost Sam,” the Saxons goalkeeper said. “He was the one who really led this team to the win.”
In the shootout, co-captain Connor Ourada, Beaulaurier, Jonathan Galgalo, Mikas Repsold and Hollenbaugh converted from the penalty spot, with Hollenbaugh’s conversion in the sixth round clinching the Ferris win.