RENO - Despite missing four players, including Uriel Duran and Izzy Lopez, Carson High's top-ranked boys soccer team rolled to an easy 4-0 win over Damonte Ranch.
Carson improved to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in Sierra League play. The Senators host Galena on Wednesday night in what is expected to be its toughest league match to date.
Duran has a meniscus injury, which is expected to require surgery and could put him out for the season. Lopez suffered an ankle injury during practice Monday. Goalie Pedro Chavez is suffering from a hamstring injury, while Humberto Elizondo missed school Friday because he was ill, which made him ineligible to play.
"We were missing some key players," said Nathan Brigham, Carson's second-year head coach. "It gave other players the opportunity to step up and show what they could do. Izzy was 80 percent. I didn't want to take a chance with him with a big game on Wednesday."
Carson dominated throughout, out-shooting Damonte Ranch 16-1. Damonte's only shot came with 10 minutes, 6 seconds left in the match.
Brigham praised the play of midfielder Brian Duran along with the back wall of Nate Eng, Guillermo Alonso, Jorge Guevara and Luis Augliar.
The Senators got off to a slow start, unable to finish plays despite getting some good scoring opportunities.
After Jason Martinez scored in the 9th minute off an assist by Ian Gunn, Luis Gonzalez and Martinez both had shots sail over the crossbar in the final 28 minutes.
"I wasn't disappointed in their performance," Brigham said. "Our passes were off by three yards. If our passing would have been more precise it would have made a difference."
Gunn made it 2-0 in the 66th minute and Martinez scored his second goal around 2.5 minutes later, atoning for two pretty good looks that he was unable to convert. Eng finished the scoring with a shot from 40 yards out in the 73rd minute. Duran was credited with the assist.
"Our passes were more accurate," Brigham said. "Our movement wasn't any different (in the second half). We're a possession type of team. If our passes are off, it blows the whole game plan.
"We played two people up top (for the first time). Normally we play a 4-5-1 and we went to a 4-4-2 with Ian and Jason up top. I used it, knowing there will be games where we need a little more attacking."
CARSON 4, DAMONTE 1
The Senators shook off a lethargic start and scored three second-half goals to stay undefeated in Sierra League play.
Carson is 3-0 in league and 5-0-1 overall heading into Tuesday's home showdown against Galena.
"We were just flat," Carson coach Randy Roser said. "We were just going through the motions. We didn't practice yesterday (Friday) because we had pictures. The energy just wasn't there the first 15 minutes.
"Natalie (Stevens) played well and so did Alli Cowen; I don't think she gave away more than two or three balls."
Carson broke a scoreless tie in the 29th minute when Samantha Fishburn hustled down a ball in the right corner and hit the right post with her shot. The ball bounced in front of the goal, and Brianna McCord was there to tap the ball past the Damonte keeper for her first score of the season.
Carson made it 2-0 10 minutes into the second half on a goal by Miriah Tompkins. The Damonte keeper dove headfirst in an effort to corral a loose ball, but Tompkins was quicker. Tompkins foot caught the keeper squarely on the head. She was helped off the field after several minutes, and the Mustangs played the rest of the game short-handed. The center referee nearly took the goal away and was going to card Tompkins, but changed her mind after talking to her fellow officials.
"It was a good effort by Miriah," Roser said. "She just stayed with it."
Eliza Matley scored on a header to make it 3-0 in the 60th minute and Taylor Musselman finished the scoring in the 67th minute.