With throbbing legs and thumping hearts, the Camas High School girls soccer players remained bound and determined until the final whistle.
“Our goal was to go out and play with heart and play with passion,” said goalkeeper Lauren Rood. “It comes down to who’s going to fight to get the ball in the net and who’s going to fight to keep the ball out of the net. Games like this show that we really are a sisterhood. We are a team. We are a family.”
The Papermakers bested the Union Titans 1-0 Thursday, at Doc Harris Stadium, to move up to first place in the 4A Greater St. Helens League. Anyssa DeVera delivered a powerful goal in the 44th minute.
“I was going for a cross, but it curved. I was thinking, ‘please go in,’ the whole time,” DeVera said. “We all wanted it. Just getting that goal was a huge lift.”
Camas stepped up as a unit on defense. Rood jumped up and dove across the net to make five saves. Mason Minder and Maddy Belzer anchored the backline. Alyssa Tomasini, Perri Belzer and DeVera didn’t give the Titans much wiggle room to attack.
Union gave everything it had during the final two minutes and extra time. Minder cleared a ball out in the open, but the Titans came back up with it and earned a corner kick. Rood leaped into the pack of potential shooters and defenders and punched the ball away. Minder made one more clear before the referee blew the final whistle.
“The only thing going through my mind was get the ball up and don’t let them through,” Minder said. “I got chills. It was the best feeling after a game this year.”
Before the game, head coach Roland Minder told the Papermakers not to save any energy because they would have the weekend to recover. Afterwards, as they all lied on the field exhausted, Minder was grinning from ear to ear.
“I’m so happy they got this win,” he said. “We showed our best side against a very physical and very fast team.”
After a few days of rest, Camas begins its second run through league. The Papermakers host Heritage Thursday, at Doc Harris Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
“We have to refocus. The second time around is always harder,” Minder said. “There’s no chance to be complacent. Every single team in this league can give you problems.”
Winning the first round against Union puts the Camas girls soccer team in a good position, but the rivalry is just warming up.
“It’s important for us to work hard every single day and push ourselves to the limit,” Maddy Belzer said. “We are not going to settle for anything less than playing hard until the last whistle sounds in our last game, no matter how far that takes us.”