Camas soccer loss reaction

Camas boys soccer coach Roland Minder has built a program that succeeds by attacking at every opportunity, putting opponents on the defensive from the opening whistle.

Minder said after Friday’s state semifinal loss to Mount Rainier that he might have been too conservative in his approach.

Concerned about the speed of Mount Rainier forward Darwin Jones, Minder had his team in a more defensive mind set at the start.

His concern proved valid. The Rams scored three goals in the first half hour, though none came directly from Jones speed. Rather, it was two fine shots by Jones from outside the penalty area that put MR on top 3-1.

Playing into Minder’s thinking was the absence of perimeter defenders Evan Klein and Daniel Tejada, both lost to the team recently.

Minder moved junior Drew White from defense to the left wing (his position most of this season) 15 minutes into the match and within seconds White set up Connor Valenter for a goal that pulled the Papermakers within 2-1 16 minutes into the game. Later, White scored the second Camas goal on a terrific shot from distance only seven seconds before halftime.

But that was the last Camas goal, and the end of its championship hopes.

Camas players I spoke with weren’t convinced they overlooked the Rams, or were still thinking about the emotional win over top-ranked Shorecrest last weekend. But Minder said he saw the sluggish start his team had on Friday coming.

“They’re a very good team,” Minder said of the Rams. “We talked about the fact that going up against No. 1-ranked Shorecrest was NOT the final, it was the QUARTER-final. I don’t think we were mentally totally up at the start of this game.

“I was concerned about it all week, but I couldn’t convince them,” Minder said.

Camas goalkeeper Zach Anderson, who could not be blamed for any of the Mount Rainier goals, gave credit to the Rams for their start, and to his teammates for their effort.

The first goal was scored when Jones threw in the ball. The throw deflected off a defender and wound up at the far side of the goal, when Kyle Danielson had an easy score. It was a weak goal to surrender.

“The back post (defender) just wasn’t ready for that (deep throw-in), and the guy was able to just finish it,” Anderson said. “Our guys were marked up, but they just didn’t follow the ball and unfortunately the forward was able to get there first.”

The sense of disbelief lingered after the game.

When he gathered his team after the game, he told his players he was proud of them and not to beat themselves up over one loss. He also told them that they should hurt for the loss — if there was no pain in defeat it would be a sign that they didn’t care deep down.

He also said he expected a top-notch effort on Saturday,

Said Minder later: “(Saturday) we’re obviously going to play for third place. We’re not going to play for fourth. There are only two teams when you get to this level of the playoffs that wins at the end of the season, No. 1 and No.3. That’s one thing we have that we can do, is end with a win.

“We have to regroup and play a good game,” the coach noted. “It’s unfortunate, because it’s still my belief” that these Papermakers had what it takes to be state champions.

— Paul Danzer

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