CAMAS — There was no triumph to celebrate, but there were smiles on Friday after two talented and tenacious boys soccer teams entertained a lively crowd at Doc Harris Stadium.
Camas scored two nifty goals in the run of play. Skyview responded by finishing off two set pieces.
As a result the two top boys soccer teams in the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League — and top-10 teams in a national coaches’ poll — are still tied.
Friday’s 2-2 tie was the second draw in as many clashes this season between the Papermakers and the Storm, who opened league play with a scoreless draw. Both are 4-0 in league play with four matches left. Camas (9-0-2 overall) is ranked No. 8 in the latest National Soccer Coaches of America poll. Skyview (10-0-2) is 11th in those rankings.
“We definitely shook each other up a little bit,” Camas senior Nate Beasley said. “It was an even battle in the midfield. We were knocking heads and that’s great, fun soccer.”
Beasley gave Camas an early lead, and junior Cameron Eyman made it 2-1 Papermakers early in the second half. But Skyview responded with Carter Johnson scoring off a free kick from Austin Horner in the first half.
It was Brandon Zilles who struck the final blow, collecting a corner kick by Horner and driving it into the far side netting with less than 10 minutes left in regulation.
With the Camas defense collapsing to the goal mouth to keep taps on Johnson, Horner’s corner kick found its way to Zilles with time and space on the left side of the penalty area.
“I had a lot of space, and I didn’t have a lot of time to think about it,” Zilles said.
The tying goal came against the run of play. Camas, pressuring the ball all over the field, had Skyview in scramble mode for much of the second half as the Storm mostly tried to play long balls forward.
Eyman’s goal was set up after central defender Calvin Goon made a string of passes while galloping up the right wing. Goon’s last pass sent Eyman into space. He pushed the ball past a defender and into the penalty area to deliver a clean finish.
“With (Goon’s) efforts, the least I could do is capitalize on it and put the ball in the back of the net. It was a great play,” Eyman said.
Beasley scored the first goal of the game 15 minutes in, weaving around defenders at the top of the 18-yard box and driving a hard, low shot past Skyview goalkeeper Evan Laws.
Johnson’s goal tied it for Skyview four minutes from halftime. Horner took a free kick from 30 yards out on the left wing and Johnson headed it home.
“Austin’s been doing that for years, just putting those balls right where I need them,” Johnson said.
The connections between these teams run deep, too, as players on both sides have friendships from years of youth soccer.
“I love these high-intensity games,” Goon said. “It’s about the heart. It’s just like a friendly rivalry.”
He wished he and his defensive mates would have held the lead, but credited Horner’s accurate deliveries for the goals.
“I’m happy,” Goon said. “We’re playing good soccer, starting to get things under control.”
Camas and Skyview each still controls its fate in the battle for a league title.
“It tells us both teams still have hope,” Beasley said. “Now it makes each game a little bit more fun” the remainder of the season.