On a chilly and rainy first night back at the brand new Doc Harris Stadium Friday, Michael Koceja provided the spark the Papermaker boys soccer team needed to defeat Evergreen 3-1.
Less than five minutes into the match, the junior midfielder delivered the assist on the first goal of the game scored by senior forward Chris Marrinan. With Camas clinging onto a 2-1 lead with about 11 minutes to go, Marrinan returned the favor by setting up Koceja on a breathtaking shot that caught the opposing goalkeeper off guard.
“I was really excited because it was my first varsity goal,” Koceja said. “I wasn’t really expecting that to happen. I just sort of hit the ball, looked up and saw it was going for the post. I thought it was going in, and I was excited when it did.”
It was the kind of game changing play the Papermakers needed to finish strong.
“That last goal was a huge relief,” Koceja said. “Like a brick off our shoulder.”
Camas scored the first goal March 14 against Skyview, only to be held in check the rest of the way and lose 2-1. The Papermakers found themselves in the same position Friday, up 1-0 early with plenty of soccer to play. And when Evergreen tied the game, it only made them more determined.
“When they scored, we realized we had to step it up and not be lackadaisical,” said senior forward Casey Martschinske. “I saw my opportunity to step up and score my first varsity goal, and it made everybody else step up too.”
Martschinske fired a laser beam into the back of the net to put Camas back on top 2-1 with about five minutes left in the first half. With horizontal rain drops stinging his eyes, it appeared the opposing goalkeeper didn’t even see the ball.
“He didn’t. It was totally unexpected,” Martschinske said. “It was a tough shot in the rain, but I let the ball take a controlled bounce and I just felt it. When I feel good, they usually go in.”
The Papermaker boys soccer players are thrilled to be back at Doc Harris Stadium, and to send their fans home with a victory.
“The new stadium is phenomenal,” Martschinske said. “It was cold, but the adrenaline made that feeling go away.”
Camas beat Mountain View 3-0 Monday, at Doc Harris. Chris Miller scored two goals, the first one was assisted by Adam Allison. Drew White netted the third goal on a penalty kick. Goalkeeper Zach Anderson snatched six saves.