(Steve Dipaola/for The Columbian)
The 4-0 win for Union over Camas on Tuesday at McKenzie Stadium might suggest that the Titans have separated themselves from the pack in Class 4A Greater St. Helens League girls soccer.
But, in truth, all the Titans did was tighten things, forging a three-way tie atop the league standings at the midway point.
Union, Camas and Skyview all are 4-1.
The bigger deal for the Titans was the example they set for each other.
“I think this game really shows what we can do as a team as a whole when we work together,” Union goalkeeper Mo Spieth said.
Spieth did her part — making 11 saves including a pair of diving efforts — against a Camas team that created chances but didn’t find a way to beat the Union keeper.
Camas was on the attack for most of the first 10 minutes, but it was Union that made its chance count. Delaney Lindahl’s run down the left wing produced a cross that Melissa Foster finished from close range in the 12th minute of the match.
That was the first goal scored against Camas in league play this season.
“It gave us some confidence on the ball and let us know we can do it, we’re going to be fine,” said Lindahl, whose terrific shot from 20 yards produced the second goal with 22 minutes left in the match. “We had an opportunity, and we finished. That gave us motivation for the rest of the game.”
Despite its early success this season, the Camas defense is a work in progress with first-year starters in most of key positions.
Camas coach Roland Minder said that Union’s attack provided the kind of challenge that his young players need to experience.
“I’ve got to hand it to them. Their four front runners are very mobile and they got in on us,” Minder said.
After Lindahl’s shot from distance made it 2-0, Alex Sanders converted a rebound after Camas keeper Marie Matthews made the fifth of her seven saves — all of them coming in the second half. Lexa Howell made it 4-0 in the closing moments.
Beating their rival was satisfying for the Titans. But the bigger deal, Lindahl said, is the message it sends to the Titans themselves.
“It doesn’t matter the (opponent),” she said. “It could be Camas, it could be Skyview, it could be Heritage. It could be any other team in the state. It’s just the fact that we came together as a team today. That’s why we scored goals and that’s why they didn’t score.”
Or, as Spieth put it:
“If we play like we can, we’re going to do great things.”