Facing defending state champion Columbia River at the new Doc Harris Stadium Thursday gave the Camas High School girls soccer players plenty of motivation.
Head coach Roland Minder had only a few words of inspiration, but they were important.
“Listen up,” he said in the huddle. “Nobody comes into your house and pushes you around.”
The Papermakers were pumped from the get-go, while the Chieftains appeared overmatched. Camas scored two goals within the first seven minutes of the game, and cruised to a 2-0 victory.
“We’ve been looking forward to this game,” said senior co-captain Raya Klein. “It felt good to come out and put together a good performance on our home field.”
Klein created the first scoring opportunity on a cross from the left. A Columbia River defender leaped up to deflect the ball, but ended up knocking it into the net.
“I just crossed, hoping someone would be on the other end,” Klein said. “It ended up going in the net, which was good for us.”
The Papermakers continued to apply the pressure. Carley Marshall headed in a corner kick from Adrienne Engel for the second goal. The ball skipped on the turf, bounced off the crossbar and skimmed past the goal line.
“Adrienne had a beautiful corner,” Klein said. “Thankfully, Carley was right there at the right time with a perfect header into the goal.”
Six minutes, 37 seconds into the match, Camas led 2-0, but would not relent.
Ciara Klein aimed for the back of the net on a breakaway, put everything she had behind the ball, but the River goalkeeper made a nice diving save. Ciara got another opportunity on a swift pass from her sister Raya, but the shot sailed over and out. Janae Benson and Sara Slayton were both denied by the goalkeeper at close range.
“Good effort,” Minder shouted from the sidelines. “Keep it up. It will pay.”
The first half concluded on some midfield madness. Emily Ainsworth cut the Chieftains off on the pass, and moved the ball back up. River intercepted.
“Come on, come on,” Minder instructed.
Raya Klein raced in to steal the ball, and the Chieftains returned the favor.
“Again, again,” Minder encouraged.
Senior co-captain Kailee Esser entered the fray and cleared the ball out with one mighty kick.
In the second half, Annike Sumpter had the crowd roaring on a couple of free kick missiles that just missed the mark. Slayton also showed tremendous hustle to keep the ball alive for Camas on the wing.
Beating Columbia River at home is an important step for the Papermakers, who are still steaming from a 1-0 loss to Prairie on Sept. 16.
“Not getting the result we wanted at Prairie put our backs to the wall,” Minder said. “If we want to win a league title, we can’t slip up any more.”
Camas plays a non-league game at Heritage today, before going up against first-place Kelso Thursday at Tam O’Shanter Park. Both games begin at 4 p.m.
Defeating the defending state champions might make most soccer coaches rest easy, but not Minder.
“It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s way too early to celebrate,” he said. “We still have a lot of games to play. We have to keep improving, and we have to keep getting results.”