First-year coach Randy Roser doesn't have any gimmes before finding out how good his team really is. Carson opens with McQueen on Wednesday, followed by games against Galena next Saturday and then Reed the following Saturday. The Grizzlies and Raiders have been two of the more successful programs in the Northern 4A in recent history.
So much for easing his way into his new job.
"From what the girls tell me, Galena and Reed are going to be strong," said Roser, who is also the general manager of the Nevada Wonders, the Carson-based Premier Development League team. "And obviously Douglas will be our biggest challenge in the league and I think South Tahoe will be a challenge. But we expect to be right up there with them. We don't expect to be chasing them, we expect them to be chasing us."
Roser has to replace eight seniors off last year's team that finished fourth in the Sierra League with a 6-5-1 record. Carson lost 2-1 in overtime to Reed in the first round of the Northern 4A playoffs and showed significant improvement in the second half of the 2002 season. It was a down year when compared to the Senators' previous four seasons. Krisha Kerr led Carson to the 1998 zone championship and Mike Popp, who resigned over the summer, led the program to a zone title and undefeated season in 2001. He compiled an impressive record during his tenure at Carson and also led it to a runner-up finish in 1999.
"We're real excited to get started," Roser said. "The people who have seen the girls play over the years may be surprised at where we are playing them. But I think it will work out."
The strongest part of the team will be in the central midfield with sophomore Cassie Bowman and senior Katie Kotter. Bowman may have been the top freshman in the league last year and Kotter was an all-league pick. Also returning in the midfield will be Kathryn Rogers, who will most likely play on the right midfield to open the season. Junior Sarah Stalling has shown Roser she is capable of either playing on the left midfield or at forward. Roser, though, is still trying to figure out who will start at forward with Terah Laack. The 5-foot-8 senior, who also stars on the basketball team, has impressed Roser so far.
"She should do good up there because she is so tall and fast," Roser said. "And she is really starting to learn how to finish. Sarah Stallings is also making it difficult on us because she can play both positions. We're playing around with the other forward position right now."
Defensively Roser has plenty of options as well. Katy Davis, Sarah Johnston and Courtney Hayes would most likely be the three defenders if Roser elects to go with a 3-back defense. But that hasn't been decided yet, as hasn't the goalie position. Allie Otto and Hayes both saw action last year but Hayes' ability to play on the field has Roser leaning toward starting Otto in the goal.
"We're real excited because we feel we have a good team," Roser said. "It just might take a few games to work everything out. But it should be a good season."