The Camas High School boys soccer team carried the dream of getting to the Final Four back to Doc Harris Stadium Saturday, only to have another nightmare in a shootout.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the guys,” said senior midfielder Matt Palodichuk. “I think all of us put everything out there We just couldn’t finish our chances.”
Ferris, of Spokane, defeated the Papermakers 2-1 (5-4 in a shootout) to advance to the semifinal round of the state tournament. The season ends for Camas with just two losses, both on shootouts.
“You work, you get close, you knock on the door and hopefully it opens. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t,” said Roland Minder, who only has two shootout victories in 20 years of coaching at Camas.
Ferris put pressure on Camas with a goal in the 26th minute and took a 1-0 lead into the locker room at halftime. The Papermakers came back out on the field with something to prove.
“We talked about it at halftime. We needed to get a goal in the first five minutes or the first 10 minutes,” Palodichuk said. “That’s what the team set out to do.”
Sam Pizot kicked the ball into a frenzy of Camas and Ferris players in front of the goal. Palodichuk got his head to the ball first and sent it packing into the back of the net. The game was tied with 30 minutes left to play.
“I knew one of my brothers would be there to finish it,” Pizot said. “I was overjoyed when I saw the ball go in.”
Palodichuk said that play with Pizot developed from years of kicking the soccer ball around together.
“I just knew where he was going to put the ball,” Palodichuk said. “That header was a new life. It felt great for the moment. But it wasn’t long before we were right back in it fighting for the next one.”
Camas defended a barrage of free kicks, corner kicks and throw-ins by Ferris in scoring range. The Papermakers couldn’t capitalize on their final opportunities in front of the goal. Cameron Eyman kicked a missile that sailed wide. Palodichuk landed a second header in the net above the crossbar. Nate Beasley scrambled for a shot in the last second of double overtime, but it just missed the goal by inches.
The shootout started with two goals by Camas and Ferris. Beasley and Pizot buried their penalty shots into the back of the net, then the Papermakers missed one. Ferris gained advantage after the next goal, but Palodichuk tied it back up. Camas keeper Sharif Batroukh came through with a foot save to keep hope alive.
“I hesitated for one second and then stuck my foot out,” Batroukh said. “I felt invincible for a little bit.”
Cayne Cardwell gave the Papermakers a 4-3 lead. Ferris tied it up and the keeper blocked the next shot by Camas. Ferris put one more ball in the net to secure the victory.
“We’re all brothers. We definitely gave everything we had,” Batroukh said. “Sometimes the game doesn’t go your way. But this doesn’t change anything. We’ll always be brothers.”
It’s up to the underclassmen in the Camas soccer program to keep the dream alive. Batroukh told them to never forget.
“The feeling of defeat is something you always remember. We don’t want them to forget how this feels. This should be motivation for them to push even harder and find a way to pull through,” Batroukh said. “We love them very much. Hopefully their time will come.”