Prep boys soccer: Page unleashes 'superstar' status in Bearcats win


At Tumwater District Stadium


W.F. West 1 1 — 2

Tumwater 1 0 — 1

Scoring Summary

WFW (21') — Adrian Jaimes (free kick)

TUM (31') — Nathan Boone (assisted by Dylan Stevens)

WFW (57') — Rafa Mendez

TUMWATER — Cayden Page knows he's the closer.

The goalkeeper for W.F. West High School's boys soccer team has been the one that comes in for the final 40 minutes either in a tie match or with a lead

He understands his assignment once he steps in front of the net.

"The mentality aspect of it is I'm already in that mentality before intermission," Page said. "It is bigger than what my sheet looks like at the end of the night."

In the biggest match of the Bearcats season to date, the senior didn't wilt under the bright lights on Tuesday night.

Page turned away seven chances by Tumwater in the second half and kept W.F. West ahead by the slimmest of margins as the Bearcats triumphed 2-1 over the Thunderbirds at Tumwater District Stadium in an important Evergreen Conference tussle.

"We just got lucky they didn't connect," Page said. "It is not surprising to us. We knew we were doubted. We were playing with a chip on our shoulder (and) it has allowed us to take this momentum and bounce back."

Three days after suffering their first league loss of the year, the Bearcats (9-2, 8-1 EvCo) responded and can clinch at least a share of the league title with a victory over arch rival Centralia in the second leg of The Chronicle Cup.

W.F. West won the first leg 4-0.

"The guys knew what was at stake," Bearcats head coach Allen Anderson said. "The second 40 minutes was some of the best soccer we've played together in terms of our attack and creating chances."

It has not been a case of jealousy between Page and Josh Madrigal. The duo have been equally supportive when one is on the field and the other is on the sideline.

Madrigal recorded four saves in the opening half. Even with all the saves Page had, he admittedly was surprised by the lack of Tumwater (6-6-1, 6-3 EvCo) goals.

"If I'm being honest, I was nervous," Page said.

In the end, W.F. West's back line proved to be too much.

"They scored their chances and we didn't, that's what it came down to," Tumwater head coach John Hayes said. "We just didn't finish. We were pressing and that's what we said we were going to do in the second half. When good teams play good teams, it comes down to finishing."

The Bearcats broke a 1-1 tie midway through the second half.

On a rebound shot off a set piece, Rafa Mendez put enough touch and spin on the ball that nestled into the bottom left corner in the 57th minute for a one-goal advantage. Page made sure that stuck.

"Cayden is a superstar; I've seen so much growth in him since last year," Mendez said. "It was a little bit of technique, faith and practice. I felt it was one of my struggles finishing those."

The sophomore stated after the double overtime loss to Aberdeen last week, the Bearcats held a player-led training session on Monday.

There was a heavy dosage of disappointment on the bus ride back to Chehalis. Still, Mendez was looking at the matches ahead and how W.F. West couldn't dwell on the past.

"We turned it into fuel," the sophomore said.

Adrian Jaimes buried a 20-plus yard shot in the 21st minute to light up the scoreboard for the Bearcats, bending the ball just over the out-stretched hand of Davyn McGilvrey into the top left corner for a 1-0 lead.

Anderson called it an "amazing goal."

"I've got guys that can finish in the box, outside of the box and it has shown we don't have a standout goal-scorer," he added.

Ten minutes later, Tumwater netted an equalizer on the counter-attack as Stevens fed a small cross to the feet of Nathan Boone to square the match. Stevens raced down the right sideline and created the chance with his speed.

"That's what we do," Hayes said.

The Thunderbirds will try and rebound when they host Shelton on Friday. Hayes still believes their best soccer is ahead of them as they try to lock up a top-two finish in the league.

"It seems like we are (peaking)," he said. "We played a great game on Friday and this was a solid game."

W.F. West is two wins away or a win plus a Tumwater loss away from an outright league championship. It hasn't been in this position since at least the 1990s and even though it is all new, the looking ahead hasn't happened.

The Bearcats are still, in Anderson's mind, keeping the focus on the next match.

"We're learning how to maintain this intensity," Anderson said. "We have a great group of upperclassmen that have been with the team since they were younger. We're not finished yet."