The first 90-minute battle of 2014 between soccer rivals Camas and Skyview didn’t settle anything.
Each team watched a shot hit a goalpost and each goalie made several big saves, but no goals were scored on Tuesday as the Papermakers and Storm opened Class 4A Greater St. Helens League play at Kiggins Bowl.
The lack of scoring did not reflect the intensity of the contest between the teams expected to battle for the league title.
“It was definitely a battle. Both teams are big giants,” Skyview senior Carter Johnson said.
The battle in midfield between Carter Johnson and Camas’ Matt Palodichuk was one example of the back-and-forth intensity. Each player received a first-half yellow card for fouling the other. And each sent a shot off the left post of the opponent’s goal.
Johnson thought he scored 18 minutes into the match when his shot beat Camas goalkeeper Sharif Bathroukh only to bounce off the inside of the post. Five minutes into the second half, Camas’ Palodichuk had a similar shot ring off the same post.
Johnson said that he wasn’t phased by the early yellow card, and knew Palodichuk wouldn’t be either.
“We weren’t playing cheap. We just kept playing hard,” Johnson said. “I knew he was going to keep playing hard with the yellow card. Doesn’t matter, were going to play some soccer.”
Bathroukh made all three of his saves in the first half, when Skyview carried more of the play after an early push from Camas.
“The first 10 minutes were fine, but then we started to get a gap between our front runners and our midfield and our back line,” Camas coach Roland Minder said. “Any time we cleared the bell it went to them and then they put the pressure back on us. We had to fix that in the second half.”
After halftime, the Papermakers improved their possession and put Storm goalkeeper Evan Laws to work. Laws made four of his five saves after halftime, including two in rapid succession early in the second half.
The best chance in the 10 overtime minutes fell to Skyview, but a quick shot from inside the penalty area rolled just wide of the goal.
Skyview coach Jennifer Johnson said playing Camas always teaches her team about itself. That was particularly true for four freshmen who saw action on Tuesday.
“We’ve worked on the big things, now we need to work on just the minor details that are going to make the difference,” she said. “That’s kind of been our theme through the last couple of games, paying attention to detail and make sure we’re executing.”
Carter Johnson, no relation to his coach, said he was proud of his teammates, young and old, for battling Camas to a standstill.
“I thought everyone played well,” Carter Johnson said. “Hey, they hit the post, too. It’s all about who can finish next time.”
The second of two league matches between the Storm and Papermakers is slated for April 25 in Camas. Chances are, the teams will be neck-and-neck atop the standings.
“I don’t see any other team knocking off Skyview,” Camas’ Minder said. “So we’re going to have to work a little bit harder and smarter next time.”