RENO — Carson High’s goal of a second straight state soccer appearance was thwarted by Spanish Springs.
Gabriel Vasquez scored the game’s only goal in the 58th minute, as the Cougars grabbed a 1-0 win Thursday night in the NIAA Division I regionals at Damonte Ranch.
It was the Cougars’ second win of the season against Carson. The Cougars won the regular-season meeting 2-1. Spanish Springs now advances to the state tournament next weekend at CHS.
Carson finished its season 11-4-3 under second-year head coach Mehdi Samii.
“I thought it was a great season,” said senior forward Cristian Hernandez. “I felt we played better than we did last year. We didn’t go as far as we did last year, but I felt we played better.”
“It was a good year,” Samii said. “We had a couple of good opportunities. They are a good team. The kids appeared nervous. Their nerves got the best of them.”
The big difference in the game was Carson’s inability to take advantage of having the wind at its back in the first 40 minutes, Carson managed just two shots on goal, both by Hernandez. One of those was a free kick.
The Cougars, who played into a strong wind in the first 40 minutes, had four shots but none caused Carson keeper Gustavo Villagrana any problems. The result was a scoreless first half.
“I think we should have been attacking more in the first half,” Hernandez said. “We were too worried about defense in that first half.”
Hernandez missed about 10 minutes of action with a leg injury.
Spanish Springs, playing with the wind in the second half, put immediate pressure on the Senators.
Villagrana stopped Victor Garcia from close range in the 43rd minute, and Ricardo Camacho-Villa missed wide right two minutes later. Vasquez cashed in 13 minutes later when Carson was unable to clear the ball out of its half of the field.
Carson’s best scoring opportunity came in the 65th minute when Cristian Hernandez crossed the ball to his younger brother, Guillermo, who was unable to get off a good shot.
“The ball was bouncing, and I wasn’t able to get off a clean shot,” the younger Hernandez said.
Carson managed just one more shot on goal the rest of the game.
Cristian Hernandez did make a nice crossing pass in the 67th minute, but a Carson player was called for a foul on Spanish Springs goalie Omar Trujillo.
“I feel like we attacked better in the second half,” the elder Hernandez said. “We switched to a 4-4-2 (two forward, four midfielders and four defenders).”
Except for the one goal by Spanish Springs, the Carson defense was again solid. Miguel Ortiz played a strong game in the middle, while Adam Shoaf, Angel Gomez and Zach Smith were solid on the back line.
In the other semifinal, Wooster beat Galena 2-1 in overtime.
“I felt we played better than we did last year. We didn’t go as far as we did last year, but I felt we played better.”