A picture-perfect play vaulted Carson High’s girls soccer team into the NIAA Division I finals.
Less than a minute into the first 15-minute overtime, Carson’s Josilyn Daggs crossed the ball to Mayra Oliveras, who deposited the shot into the upper left-hand corner to snap a 1-all tie and give the Senators a 2-1 win over Coronado Friday morning at Carson High.
“I just one-touched it in,” said Oliveras, who scored both Carson goals. “It’s a little tough (to one-touch). The ball is bouncy. You have to time it just right. If you can’t one-touch it, you can two-touch it, but by the time you do that, the defense has caught up to you.”
“It’s great,” Carson coach Greg Lehman said. “I thought the first 10 minutes we were a little tight. After that I thought we settled down. Our defense did a great job.”
The win sends Carson into today’s final against Arbor View, a 3-0 winner over Galena at 11 a.m. today.
Carson’s last state championship was in 2001 when it was just against Northern Nevada schools. This is Carson’s first state final since the entire state went to fall soccer two years ago.
The win helped wipe out the memories of last year’s painful semifinal loss to Green Valley, a game decided by a shootout.
“It was huge,” Lehman said. “We saw last year that we could compete with anybody in the state. We lost in double-overtime and had a chance to win. We know Vegas schools are tough, but we know that we can come out and play at the same level.”
The experience from last year may have helped the Senators.
“I feel like it did help that we were there last year,” senior midfielder Kiahna Pimental said. “Last year’s juniors, we came in with a lot of intensity. We didn’t want to lose (in the first round again). When they scored, it fired us up.”
Coronado struck first when goalie Karla Reyes was unable to hold onto a shot. The ball bounced out in front and Kasey Ficklin pounded the rebound home to give the Cougars a quick 1-0 lead in the fifth minute. Daggs had a chance to even the score two minutes later, but she missed wide left.
Carson evened the game in the 10th minute when Daggs hammered a shot at Coronado keeper Erin Heenan, who couldn’t control it. Oliveras was there to put it away.
“It came straight to me and I put it in, the same place as the second one,” Oliveras said.
Neither team was able to break the deadlock in the final 30 minutes of the first half, though both had some good opportunities.
Daggs missed wide left midway through the half. Coronado’s Courtney Dramm almost scored on a free kick, but Reyes was able to deflect it away. Coronado’s Taylor Kornieck had another scoring chance, but blasted a free kick over the crossbar.
In the second half, Coronado put two shots on goal in the first eight minutes. In the 50th minute, Daggs put one over the crossbar on a free kick for the Senators. Ten minutes later, Carson’s Valerie Meyer blasted a free kick over the crossbar.
“Both of those were really close,” Lehman said
In the final seven minutes of regulation, Jamie Perez had two shots on goal.
“We had some opportunities,” Lehman said.
Coronado had the ball deep in Carson’s end of the field in the second half, but Carson was able to block one kick in the penalty box and clear another before Coronado could get a shot off.
That set the stage for the overtime, which ended before fans could get resettled into their seats.
Coronado’s Michaela Morris, who came into the game with 28 goals and 12 assists, was held in check by Carson. She had just one shot on goal.
“We did a great job on her,” Lehman said. “Valerie and Lindy (Lehman) played her very tight.”
Lehman expects the Senators will have their hands full today against Arbor View.
Arbor View beat Bishop Gorman to reach state, and the Aggies have a solid team.
“They have some big, strong girls,” Lehman said. “They are a good team. They are real good on balls in the air. I think we can match up. We have to come out tomorrow and play at the same level as we did today.”