The Papermakers let their soccer rivals from down the road off the hook May 3, at Doc Harris Stadium.
Josh Tkachenko and Brennan Smith delivered goals in the first 21 minutes for Camas. Union turned the game on a dime in the second half and converted two free kicks to tie the score in the last 11 minutes of regulation. Neither team earned a golden goal during 10 minutes of overtime, and so the match ended in a 2-2 stalemate.
“I saw decisions being made out there where nothing good was going to come of it,” said Camas head coach Roland Minder. “We better get it together or it’s going to be too late. We can’t have goals scored on us like that at the end of the season.”
Camas completed an end-to-end goal in the 13th minute. The Papermakers cleared the ball out of the back and kicked it into wide open space in the midfield. Bennett Lehner beat a Titan to the ball and crossed it to Tkachenko. The sophomore placed the ball into the open right pocket of the net.
“Once I got the ball down the field and in the middle, I knew it would be all good,” Lehner said. “We need goals like that out of our younger players. It was good to see.”
A Papermaker found the back of the net again in the 21st minute. Smith, a junior, stole the ball from Union and chipped it up in the air from about 40 yards out. The ball snuck into the net, just under the crossbar and out of the reach of the keeper.
“The first goal was good … the second one was lucky,” Minder said. “But then we felt apart in the end. We were tripping over our own feet.”
Minder was baffled by the change of direction in the second half. The Papermakers went from keeping the ball on the ground to playing pinball with the Titans.
“We totally got taken out of our game,” he said. “Union did a great job of making us play their game. They wanted it. They wanted it badly, and I could tell by our body language that it wasn’t good.”
Lehner has played in enough soccer games to know that a 2-0 lead can be dangerous.
“We adjusted to how they played. That’s not how we’re going to win games,” he said.
It came down to a shootout between Camas and Heritage in the semifinals of the district tournament Monday. The Papermakers won it 3-2.
Danny Wing, Toby Pizot and Dominc Fewel netted their kicks from the mark for Camas. Brian Murray made five saves during the match, including two in the shootout, to secure the victory.
Camas (15-1-1) and Union (12-4-1) play again for the championship tonight. Kickoff is at 7 p.m., at McKenzie Stadium in Vancouver.