RENO -- The Carson High boys soccer team could very well go into the Northern 4A playoffs next month undefeated and be the least feared team in the tournament. Why? They can't score.
"Have you ever seen a team tie like us?" coach Jim Nealis asked after watching his team tie Reno 0-0 on Wednesday night at Foster Field. "It's just frustrating. We need someone to step up and put the ball in the back of the net."
Nobody has been able to the past two games. Carson tied winless Wooster 0-0 on Saturday and hasn't beaten a league opponent since a 7-0 win over Douglas on Oct. 12. After last night's game, the Senators' record is now 12-0-6 overall and 6-0-5 in the Sierra League. They will go into the postseason as the No. 2 seed, which means they will most likely face Reed in the first round, a team Carson tied 1-1 last week.
"It doesn't matter what seed we are, we just need to win," Nealis said. "We remember last year when both us and South Tahoe lost in the first round. Plain and simple, we got to score goals. You can't win if you don't score."
It wasn't for lack of chances against the Huskies, who are 3-3-5 in league and will play Douglas (4-7) next Wednesday. The winner of that game will earn the fourth and final playoff spot from the Sierra League.
In the 7th minute, Christian Losche touched a ball into space inside the box for Kirkwood Harris, who banged a shot that was saved by Felipe Miranda. Right before halftime, Harris collected a pass from Bryce Burgess inside the box again, took a touch, then sent it over the goal.
If not for goalie Sean Carter, the Senators might have found themselves down 2-0 at halftime. Casy Strawn drilled a near post shot in the 14th minute that was saved by Carter. A few minutes later, Eric Welsh nearly put away a loose ball off a corner but Carter made another diving save to keep the game scoreless.
"They play with a lot of heart and it's difficult to play teams like that," Nealis said. "We've tied them twice now and I'm sure they're happy about that. We didn't play poorly but we didn't play great."
In the 53rd minute, sweeper Jeff Rogers took a direct kick from 35 yards out that was about the land in the goal before Miranda flipped it over the goal for a corner. Later on in the half, Eric Libby's corner found Harris, whose header hit the cross bar before being cleared. Then in the 75th minute, Reno's Ricky Kraus played a ball back to Miranda and Rogers anticipated it and chased it down, but Miranda tackled the ball away.
Late in the game, Carter saved the Senators once again when Trevor Basta chased down a loose ball, and after sprinting 30 yards off his line, Carter came up big again.
With South Tahoe's 3-0 win over North Valleys on Wednesday, the Vikings (9-0-2) won the Sierra League. South Tahoe and Carson meet next Wednesday in a game many thought would decide the league champion. That was until the Senators couldn't score.
"We're in a drought right now but it will come," Losche said. "We're possessing the ball. We're just not scoring."
CARSON JV 6, RENO 1
Eddie Lanuza scored three goals and had an assist in the Senators' win over the Huskies on Wednesday. Logan Ahl added two goals and Steve Mandoki the other as Carson improved its record this season to 12-0-1.
Jeremiah Teeter and Jordan Wilcher had assists in the game. The Senators will play South Tahoe next Wednesday in a game that should determine the Sierra League champion.
DOUGLAS JV 5, SPANISH SPRINGS 0
Five different Tigers scored in their win over the Cougars on Wednesday in Sparks. Since Spanish Springs doesn't field a varsity team, Douglas played its underclassmen varsity players and it paid off.
Colton Mellows, Trent Hennessey-York, Chris Honer and Chase Zumpft all scored and the only JV player to score was Kyle Currence.
Zumpft and Danny Ross combined to make six saves in the shutout. Douglas improves to 8-6 on the season and ends it season next Wednesday against Reno.