Returning to the state tournament for the 16th season in a row and earning 300 career victories for coach Roland Minder are important milestones, but the Camas High School boys soccer team isn’t celebrating.
“This is just the first bump in the road,” said senior co-captain Nate Beasley. “All we did was make it to the tournament. We haven’t accomplished anything yet.”
Victories against Todd Beamer and Federal Way rewarded the Papermakers with a 275-mile bus ride to Moses Lake Monday. The state tournament kicks off for Camas today, at 5 p.m., at Lion Field.
“We wanted to continue the legacy of Camas soccer going to state and we rose to the occasion,” said senior co-captain Austin Cassity. “We are traveling a longer distance this time, and it’s still loser out. We have a great town behind us. We want to come back and play one more game in front of our fans.”
Coach Minder said it’s not about the number on their back but the emblem on their front. These boys are playing soccer for Camas. They take pride in being Papermakers.
“It’s a great mentality,” Minder said. “They understand who they are.”
These Papermakers are playing with a chip on their shoulder after losing the district title to Skyview on a shootout. If Camas and Skyview both make it to the Final Four, they would face each other in the semifinals for the fourth time this season.
“We didn’t enjoy that loss and we didn’t enjoy having to win two games to get to state,” said senior defender Sam Pizot. “Every individual has to contribute. If we all play as a team, we can be the strongest team in the state by far.”
Camas defeated Todd Beamer 3-0 Wednesday, at Doc Harris Stadium. Cassity, Cameron Eyman and Matt Palodichuk delivered the goals. Cayne Cardwell chipped in with two assists. The Papermakers dominated on the defensive end.
“Even though we lost to Skyview, it gave us that motivation we needed,” said senior goalkeeper Sharif Batroukh. “We are training harder and we have more drive. It humbled us and gave us that motivation to win.”
Camas shut out Federal Way 2-0 Saturday, in Spanaway. Beasley and Palodichuk netted the goals on assists by Lucas Ulmer and Cardwell.
“It was a brutal way to have to go after being ousted in a shootout, but the guys were up to the challenge,” Minder said. “You want to get rid of that bad taste in your mouth. That’s not something we want to feel again this year.”
Minder said the Papermakers can alleviate that stress by putting pressure on opposing teams and forcing them to make the adjustments. The players agree.
“We want to end the game in regulation. We want to prove we are the better team,” Palodichuk said. “What it all comes down to is composure in front of the goal. Can we get a ball in the net?”
If not, Camas will have a long bus ride home and all of these milestones will be for nothing.
“I don’t want to spend six hours on a bus thinking about a loss,” Beasley said. “That should be all the motivation we need.”