Tradition continued for the Camas boys soccer team Saturday.
Giving up the lead to Bonney Lake in the last 20 minutes put the Papermakers on the hot seat, but then Roldan Alcobendas took his coaches and teammates for a cool ride by kicking the ball into the back of the net in the final 4 minutes, 27 seconds.
“I just tried to find an opening and put all I had left into that shot,” Alcobendas said. “Thankfully, it went in.”
The game-winning goal lifted the Papermakers to a 2-1 victory in the bi-district championship game at Doc Harris Stadium. It also sends Camas to the state tournament for the 14th year in a row.
“It says the players take a lot of pride in this program, and that they are able to rise up to the expectations every year,” said head coach Roland Minder, who is enjoying his 18th year of coaching soccer in Camas.
Minder could barely keep his own feet on the ground while watching Alcobendas shoot that ball into the net.
“There was so much power behind it, it bent the keeper’s hands back and he couldn’t hold on to it,” Minder said. “It was just a fantastic shot. He took us all on ride on that one.”
Nate Beasley put the Papermakers on the board first with a breakaway goal in the 19th minute.
Bonney Lake turned up the heat in the second half. Constant pressure on the net paid off for the Panthers when they scored the tying goal with 20:35 left on the clock. The Papermakers pressed hard for the next 15 minutes. Fatigue was setting in, but they were determined to not let the game slip into overtime.
“It was a situation where we needed a goal and time was running out,” Alcobendas said. “When that ball went in, a huge weight was lifted off our shoulders. We didn’t want our season to end because we gave up that goal.”
“Scoring a goal late in a game like that says a lot about our team chemistry,” Allison added. “If another team catches up to us, we’ll find a way to win the game.”
The Camas boys soccer team has found a way to win these big games for the past 14 years. As a witness to all the excitement, Minder continues to embrace every moment.
“Life flies by fast. The older you get, the less time you have,” he said. “It’s always special. It never stops being special. If you can’t get excited about this, than you better get out of the game.”