Jake Levine was still breathless when it was over, and why not?
Central Valley’s senior striker couldn’t help but get excited about the Bears’ best performance of the season, a 7-1 drubbing of Camas in the state 4A soccer quarterfinals Saturday afternoon at Spokane Falls Community College.
“We just controlled the ball so well, there was a point where we possessed the ball as long we wanted,” said Levine, who scored twice and had two assists to lead the Bears to their third straight berth in the Final Four.
“That was just some good soccer,” Levine said.
It was more than that. This was utter domination, as CV shredded the Papermakers all afternoon with pinpoint passing, superior ball control and some sweet one-on-one moves.
The Bears also did that in a 1-0 first-round win over Sumner four days earlier, but this time they made the most of their chances.
“We did a much better job finishing,” said coach Andres Monrroy, whose Bears have won 15 straight going into next week’s semifinal against Pasco on Friday at 8 p.m. in Puyallup.
The Bears split two meetings with Pasco this year, losing 5-2 in the preseason but claiming the regional title with a 2-1 win in Pasco last week.
Pasco advanced to Puyallup with a 5-0 win over defending state champion Wenatchee, which means both teams will come in with plenty of momentum.
“We just had a great week of practice, and our seniors have been very focused about making it back to the Final Four,” Monrroy said.
Domination began from the opening whistle. Four minutes in, forward Avery Clark pounced on a loose ball and would have scored but for a great save by Camas keeper Spencer Vela. A minute later, junior midfielder R.J. Stretch hit a screamer that hit the crossbar and rebounded into the box before a Camas clearance.
“The first 20 minutes, the way we dominated, that made all the difference,” Monrroy said.
The payoff came in the 17th minute. Midfielder Noah Whitman collected a long pass on the left sideline, then nutmegged a Camas defender near the end line.
“When I got the ball I thought I was offsides,” but R.J. was screaming “you’re onside,’” said Whitman, who saw Levine running across the box.
As Vela left the box, the University of Washington-bound Whitman curled the ball to Levine for an easy tap-in.
Three minutes later, Stretch doubled the lead with a 20-yard shot from the top of the box that gave Vela no chance at all.
The entire Camas team must have felt a bit hopeless in the 29th minute, when junior midfielder Devin Hauenstein pounced on a mishandled shot in the box.
Camas got one back off a corner kick just before halftime, but the Bears restored their three-goal lead when Stretch collected a bobbled free kick and slammed it home.
Hauenstein put the game out of reach with a nifty pass to set up Levine and make it 5-1.
Conner Wold came off the bench and scored twice in the last five minutes to cap the scoring.
CV outshot Camas 21-11.