HOCKINSON — It’s a little hard to imagine on a warm September evening that the foundations of Camas girls soccer team’s season-opening win Tuesday could be traced back to the cold nights of February and March.
That’s when the Papermakers, like other girls soccer teams, had to play their “fall” season in 2020-21.
“It’s a very similar team (this season) from last year,” Camas senior captain Maya Parman said. “Going into summer training, we all had that same mentality that we’re just to going to keep it up for next year, keep that same rhythm. We had a great season last season, so we just wanted to keep that going into this season.”
With Parman contributing a first-half goal, the Papermakers got the season off to a strong start, posting a 3-1 victory over Hockinson in a non-league match Tuesday night.
“We were super excited to be playing tonight, first game of the season,” Parman said. “Of course, I have high expectations. I want to win it all. We all do. I think the team works well together. We have really good chemistry.”
But high expectations can lead to pressure, which can lead to jitters, particularly in a season opener.
Those were quickly calmed when sophomore Parker Mairs scored off an assist from junior Nora Melcher, giving Camas a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute.
“This first goal was huge,” Parman said. “It gave us the boost of confidence of knowing we can do this. Of course, first game we’re all nervous, and that first goal really helped us. And from then on, we just built off that.”
After Emerson Grafton was fouled in the 24th minute, Parman converted the penalty kick for a 2-0 lead.
While Camas returned a larger portion of its roster from last season, Hockinson graduated several players from last season’s unbeaten team, and then lost All-Region player of the year Payton Lawson for this season to a knee injury last month.
But the Hawks showed they still plan to compete this fall by coming out in the second half and applying pressure on the Papermakers.
“They fought very hard, were physical,” Camas coach Keri Tomasetti said. “They’re a solid team, very well put together. This was exactly what we were hoping for. We hope to have good matchups with the teams we play to prep us for postseason, hopefully. And hopefully we’re doing the same for them.”
Camas responded to the Hawks’ pressure by adding a third goal, this time Bella Burns scoring on an assist from Anna Mooney. Hockinson’s Grace Abbott added a goal late to make 3-1.
Parman said the Papermakers’ strengths are their teamwork and chemistry, an assessment Tomasetti agreed with.
“One of their goals is to just come out and have fun every time,” Tomasetti said. “They want to not only work hard and achieve their goals, but to do it while having fun.”
And it’s also a lot of fun not to be playing in the cold of winter.
“It was 80 degrees, nice weather,” Parman said. “Perfect for a game.”