After an overtime loss in the first round of the state tournament for the second year in a row, the Camas boys soccer players shook their heads.
This is not how they wanted their season, or their high school careers, to end, but this game can be cruel, sometimes.
“It wasn’t meant to be,” said head coach Roland Minder, after Snohomish beat the Papermakers 2-1 on a golden goal in double overtime Wednesday at Doc Harris Stadium.
“When you get to this level, everybody can play,” Minder added. “It comes down to who outworks the other guy, who profits from the set plays, who does the things it takes to get the win. It’s the game we all love and hate at the same time.”
The defending state champion Panthers put pressure on the Papermakers by scoring a goal three minutes into the match. Camas couldn’t get any traction in the first half, but came out of the locker room after halftime with plenty of passion.
Bennett Lehner fired a free kick at the net from about 24 yards out, but the Snohomish goalkeeper dove across the line and batted the ball away. Lehner got another opportunity in the 59th minute. This time, he passed the ball to Danny Wing and Wing sent it into the crowd in front of the goal. Toby Pizot entered into the fray and kicked the ball into the net to tie the score.
“The cross came in and the ball was bumbling around a bit. Then, it hit my left foot and went in,” Pizot said. “I was so happy we got that goal. It was a completely different game from that point.”
Although the Papermakers had the momentum, they were unable to generate another goal in regulation time or in the extra 10 minutes of overtime. Snohomish, on the other hand, got one more opportunity to throw the ball in front the net, and the scramble led to a winning goal for the Panthers.
“Nothing we can do about that,” Lehner said. “It was the last kick of the game, and it went their way.”
Pizot’s heart goes out to Lehner, and fellow seniors Shadd Dawson, Christian Kemp, Brian Murray and Tallen Wallace. He grew up playing this game with them.
“It’s absolutely devastating to lose like this. I feel like we let the seniors down,” Pizot said. “Just remember this moment, come back next year with that fire, and hopefully we will win it all.”
Lehner looks back at this year with great pride. The Papermakers went from sharing the league title with Union to beating the Titans for the district championship and then qualifying for state for the 18th year in a row.
“Other than not making it to the Final Four, it’s been a good year,” Lehner said. “Come back and work even harder next year. Be persistent and it will come. We’ll catch a break, one of these years.”
Minder thanked all of the Camas soccer players for their dedication to the mission every single day.
“Right now, it hurts. And it should, or it wouldn’t mean anything,” he said. “There are a lot of accomplishments this team can be proud of. They have nothing to hang their heads about. They played hard. They worked.”