Carson High’s girls soccer team found out first hand why Arbor View has become arguably the best program in Southern Nevada.
The Senators managed just seven shots against the Aggies’ suffocating defense in a 3-0 loss in the NIAA Division I championship game Saturday afternoon at Carson High School.
Carson finishes its season with a 13-4-4 record under second-year coach Greg Lehman, who has taken the Senators to two consecutive state tournaments.
“I’m proud of this team,” said senior midfielder Kiahna Pimental, who accepted the team trophy. “We’re not going to be sad. We’re happy that we made it here.
“They are a good defense. They have size and aggressiveness that they use on the ball. Every time we had a chance to make a pass they were there.”
Arbor View won its second straight Division I title and third in four years without allowing a goal. In fact, Arbor View has allowed just one goal in its last 16 games. The school is in just its ninth year of existence.
“I’ve got good people,” said AV coach James Howard. “We started off allowing four goals in our first four games. We switched some people around and tried to get them in the right spots. We have a good combination of speed and strength.”
The Aggies put a ton of pressure on the Senators, who had a lot of trouble, especially in the first half, of connecting multiple passes. Most of the opening half was played on Carson’s half of the field. Carson managed just two shots on goal.
“When we did connect, I thought we had some opportunities,” Lehman said. “We had that one early opportunity by Mayra (Oliveras) that could have went in. We just needed one to break the ice. They were strong physically. We gave up two goals off corner kicks, and that was the difference.”
And, the 11-2 shot differential in the first half was huge.
The Aggies’ offense pressured early, as Breanna Larkin, the team’s top scorer, pounded a shot in the second minute that required a leaping save by Karla Reyes, who had five stops in the first half before being shifted to forward for the final 40 minutes. Two minutes later, Carson missed a golden opportunity when Oliveras’ shot off a tremendous throw-in by Josilyn Daggs went wide right.
Later, it appeared that Arbor View scored off a corner kick, but an AV player was called for offsides, nullifying the score by Katelyn Laurente.
Laurente did find the back of the net five minutes later after a Bailee Davis corner kick. Lindy Lehman headed the ball out, but Jessica Longhurst blasted a shot that was blocked in the penalty box area. Laurente was there to poke the rebound home for a 1-0 lead.
In the next 11 minutes, the Aggies had two good looks, one each by Larkin and Davis. Reyes made a diving stop on Davis’ ball.
Arbor View broke through again in the 35th minute when Vanessa Lourenco beat Reyes to make it 2-0.
The final goal of the game came off a corner kick by Davis. Longhurst was able to head it past back-up keeper Samantha Bishop. In both cases, Carson was unable to clear the corner kick out of danger, and the Senators paid a hefty price.
“For not being tall, we’re pretty strong in the air,” Howard said. “You’d think we would have scored a few more times this year. We had plenty of chances today. We try to get a lot of numbers in the box. We work hard on it, and the girls execute well on free kicks and corner kicks.”
Reyes missed from close range in the 43rd minute, and Daggs had a couple of good opportunities that she was unable to convert.
Before you feel sorry for the Senators, consider the fact that they have 13 players returning next year plus defender Bailey Zuber, who suffered a knee injury in the off-season. She is expected to start playing club ball in the spring.
“It’s exciting,” said Lehman, talking about the future. “This was a good group of girls; a good team. The girls really wanted to get to state again, and they got to the last game. We had some opportunities that didn’t go our way today.”