Carson High soccer lights turned on

Cassie Bowman could feel the electricity when the lights came on for the first time during Carson High School's night soccer debut on Saturday.

"There was a lot more intensity, just feeling the lights come on, that makes it feel more important," the sophomore midfielder said, referring to the Senators' home opener against Galena.

The girls and boys double header marked the first high school action under the lights at Carson's soccer facility and the special occasion attracted a crowd of about 300 fans. The night almost seemed like a playoff atmosphere, not surprising because the girls and boys programs at both schools are perennial playoff contenders.

Lights on the Carson soccer field became reality largely because of Randy Roser, the school's first-year head girls coach and the man almost solely responsible for bringing the Nevada Wonders Premier Development League soccer franchise to Carson City. The Wonders played the first night game on the field -- a 4-0 loss to the Orange County Blue Star on May 17 -- but this was still special to Roser.

"We're excited to have the lights," said Roser, who serves as general manager for the Wonders. "We worked real close with Mr. (Glen) Adair and Mr. (Ron) McNutt to get them in and now we're seeing it pay off ... The kids are out here and they're getting to perform in front of full stands. If this were an afternoon game, there wouldn't be half this many people."

The Carson players seemed to enjoy the experience of playing in front of a good hometown crowd at night.

"You get more of a crowd, so with more of a crowd, it gets you going," said Katie Kotter, a senior midfielder.

"Usually, we don't have too many people. Just seeing those stands packed, it made us feel like people cared," Bowman added.

Previously, Northern 4A soccer night games had been limited to Reno and Reed, but since both of those schools host soccer on football fields, this is the first actual soccer field in the conference to have lights.

"It was pretty cool," said Robby Liebherr, senior goalkeeper for the Carson boys squad. "It's something kind of different to be one of the only teams in this area to have our own field with our own lights.

"It's something we have to get used to," he went on. "It's a little bit different. The atmosphere is a little different. And the ball perception is a lot different; the ball just seems to move different. It was only our first game, so give us a couple of games and it'll be like we're playing during the daytime."

The only downside for the hometown fans was the tale on the scoreboard -- Galena won the girls game 5-1 and then the boys contest ended up in a 1-1 tie.

"It was fun," Carson boys coach Jim Nealis said. "We just would have liked a better result."

Carson hosts another twilight double header this Saturday against Reed, starting at 6 p.m. with the girls game. The Senators are also scheduled to host rival Douglas for 7 p.m. games, with the girls playing on Sept. 30 and the boys on Oct. 1.

Looking ahead, the Northern 4A Regionals are scheduled to be held at Reed starting on Nov. 1, and then the 4A boys state tournament will be held on Nov. 14-15 at Carson. There is no 4A state tournament for girls because of conflicting seasons -- fall in the North, winter in the South.

The 4A state tournament will be a four-team event with two teams from the North and two from the South. For those who are interested, the opening round pairings on Friday, Nov. 14, will have the North's No. 1 seed playing the Sunrise Region champion and the North's No. 2 playing the Sunset Region champion. No official decision has been made, but the state tournament could include a night game, according to Donnie Nelson of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association.

And you've got to believe the Carson Senators would love nothing more than being one of the four teams playing on their home field in November.

Dave Price is a sports writer for the Nevada Appeal


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