RENO - Carson High's quest for a perfect 20-0 season came to a disappointing end Saturday night.
Galena scored twice in the second half, and held off a late flurry by the Senators to win the NIAA Northern Nevada 4A girls soccer championship at Mackay Stadium.
"It would have been nice to go 20-0," Carson coach Randy Roser said. "It's tough to go 19-0. We'll take that. It was a good season.
"We didn't use our wings. We were trying to force the ball down the middle. We just couldn't get it working. Everything was long ball. It's hard to work the ball against them. They drop off defenders very fast."
That strategy by Galena coach Ron Jones resulted in just two second-half scoring chances and seven shots overall.
"I feel we can match up with any attacking team with the defensive scheme we have," Jones said. "We showed tonight we are capable of getting it done.
"Carson is a great team. They are well coached and have tremendous athletes. We didn't talk about them being unbeaten. We only talked about what we could do and had to do."
The first 23 minutes saw just four shots on goal, three by Carson and one by Galena. The Grizzlies happened to score on their first legitimate scoring opportunity.
Galena took a 1-0 lead in the 28th minute when Elizabeth Walker drilled a 30-yard shot over the head of Carson goalie Alli Otto.
"You just take a chance," Walker said. "You kick it when you can. She was on me right away."
"It was just a good play," Roser said. "The defender let her turn and she just ripped it."
Carson evened the score five minutes later. Carson was unable to take advantage of a good centering pass, but Galena failed to clear the ball. There was a battle a few yards away from the goal, and the Senators' Samantha Valerius put the ball past Caitlin Anderson.
Galena took a 2-1 lead in the 43rd minute when Chelsea Patrick was tripped up in the penalty box area, and scored on a penalty kick. Patrick drilled a hard shot into the right corner.
"She tripped me from behind," Patrick said. "She (Otto) went to the left and I automatically went to the right."
Roser felt the Grizzlies got a break from the officials.
"It was one of those things," the Carson coach said. "If they make the first call she's outside the 18-yard area. By the time he makes the call she's in there. I think there were a few key calls missed."
Patrick came up with another big play later in the half when she dribbled past Danielle Benamati and beat Otto to make it 3-1.
Carson fought back to within 3-2 when Kasey Cano scored from close range with eight minutes left, keeping the Senators in the game.
Galena's defense held on, securing the title for the Grizzlies.
"By all rights I guess you could say they were the best team we played," Roser said, though judging by his tone it's hard to know whether he believed it himself.
"It was a pretty exciting game," Patrick said. "We were able to accomplish all our goals this year."
A league and regional title. Not too shabby.
Notes: Otto had three saves, while Caitlin Anderson, who is expected to sign a basketball scholarship offer this week from Weber State, had six saves ... Valerius had a strong game in the back for Carson. The four state and zone title games held on Saturday drew by far the largest crowd ever for high school soccer contests in Nevada. While official figures weren't available, the NIAA estimated that the four games had a paid attendance of 1,600, not counting those with passes. The NIAA also estimate the Carson-Galena game had a paid attendance of more than 600, not counting those with passes.