The game of soccer can change on the flip of a coin.
After cashing in three goals during the first half against defending 3A state champion Bonney Lake March 22, the Papermakers were barely able to afford the two they needed to defeat Columbia River 2-0 Wednesday at Doc Harris Stadium.
“We didn’t play as good of soccer as we normally play, but we got the result. Pre-season is all about learning,” said senior midfielder Matt Palodichuk. “Soccer is a game of ups and downs. How you react to those down moments defines the heart of a team.”
Nate Beasley, Austin Cassity, Cayne Cardwell, Cameron Eyman and Palodichuk took aim at the net during the first half against Columbia River with no luck. Camas finally got a goal in the 37th minute. A corner kick from Cassity turned into a scramble in front of the goal. The ball deflected off the left post and into the direction of Beasley. As the Columbia River goalkeeper stumbled out of position, Beasley breezed past him and pocketed the ball into the empty net.
The Papermakers quickly regained possession. A fireball off the leg of Palodichuk scolded the far post and cooled off on the surface. The halftime whistle sounded just as Camas appeared to be warming up.
After several off touches, misfires and a few yellow cards, the Papermakers delivered an insurance goal in the 69th minute. Sam Pizot kept a deep ball in play and slashed it through the goal box. The ball hit Palodichuk’s foot on the sweet spot and sailed into the back of the net.
“You can see the gap and you just hope somebody puts it right there,” Palodichuk said. “Sam put that ball right to my foot. I didn’t even break my stride. Things like that happen when we’ve been playing together since U-11.”
The Papermakers were taught some valuable lessons in this game. Camas (5-0) begins league play against Skyview tonight, at Kiggins Bowl in downtown Vancouver. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
“We have to prove ourselves all over again,” Beasley said. “We showed a different side of Camas soccer. This is not what we want to be known for.”
Head coach Roland Minder said the Columbia River match was the worst one of the season. With focus and preparation being key to any soccer game, it seemed the Papermakers came to work Wednesday without their keys or their wallets. This is something they cannot afford to do once league starts.
“I hope they learned to be focused in training the day before a game. It was not a good practice yesterday. How you practice is how you play,” Minder said. “We got the result, but this not how we wanted to play. Non-league games are about getting better.”
Camas had one more friendly match with Hudson’s Bay Friday, at Kiggins Bowl. Beasley, Cardwell and Eyman each had two goals to help the Papermakers beat the Eagles 9-0. Chad Kirby, Bennett Lehner and Palodichuk netted the other three goals. Beasley, Cardwell, Cassity, Lehner and Palodichuk also had assists.