SPARKS -- Carson hasn't won a playoff game since winning the state championship in 1998 and Reed has been the main reason why.
Victor Martinez redirected Anthony Grillo's shot in the 71st minute as the Raiders beat the Senators 1-0 in the first round of the Northern 4A playoffs on Saturday at Reed High.
Carson has lost to Reed in the first round three of the last four years, and all three games were played at Reed's home field. On Saturday, the Senators deserved a better result as they dominated from the opening whistle, much like they did in last year's 1-0 loss to McQueen.
"It's hard to explain what happened," said second-year coach Jim Nealis. "They played with 10 guys on defense and packed it in. We played 80 minutes of soccer and they played kick ball. This has happened to us two seasons in a row."
Scoring goals would've prevented losing the last two years, but that's not something Carson has been doing lately.
Coming into Saturday's game, Carson hadn't won since a 3-1 win over Fallon on Oct. 16 and had only scored one goal in their last four games. Make that five games now.
The Senators pressured the Raider goal the entire game but nothing came out of it. Jeff Rogers had several headers late in the second half that nearly found the net and his free kick in the 69th minute just missed to the left. Rogers was forced to move into the attack from his sweeper position because Reed played with so many players in the defense, the Senators had to get numbers forward into the attack.
But in the 71st minute, a long ball out of the back by the Raiders found Gillo inside the box and his shot missed to the far post and Martinez ran onto it and scored the games' only goal.
"It's like we told them at halftime," said Reed coach Bart Vandamme. "It's going to come down to one opportunity. We got one and put it in the back of the net. We just capitalized on ours. They got three or four in the last minute. We knew our defense would hold us."
Nealis pushed everyone forward in the game's final minutes and was unlucky not to find the equalizer. Seniors Bryce Burgess and Christian Losche both had a flurry of shots inside the box late in the game before the ball was cleared for a throw in. But Carson's best chance came in injury time when Losche ripped a shot from inside the box that went straight at goalie Vince Licciardi. Six inches either way and it's a goal.
"It's frustrating," Nealis said. "You know, you teach kids all year how to play the game and then you have a team play kick ball and play for a breakaway. It's just unlucky."
Carson finishes the season 11-2-6. Reed will play Reno in the semifinals on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Reno High.
SOUTH TAHOE 3, FALLON 0
Leon Abravanel scored one goal and assisted on two others as the Vikings eased past the Green wave on Saturday at Reed High in the first round of the Northern 4A playoffs.
Alex Torres opened the scoring in the 4th minute and Enrique Avina added another just before halftime as South Tahoe led 2-0 at the break. The Vikings will play North Valleys on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. at Reno High
In other first round games, Reno, the No. 4 seed from the Sierra League, beat High Desert League champion Galena on penalty kicks 2-1 at Reno High. North Valleys beat Elko 2-0 in the other game at Reno.