SPARKS — It took 12 extra minutes, but the Carson High boys soccer team has advanced to the second round of the NIAA playoffs.
Guillermo Hernandez scored his second goal of the game in the 12th minute of overtime to give No. 3 Carson a 3-2 road win over No. 2 Spanish Springs Monday night.
Carson, which played the last 20-plus minutes without freshman defender Christian Martinez, advances to the semifinals to play Galena, a 3-1 winner over Hug, Wednesday at 4 p.m. North Valleys edged Damonte Ranch, 1-0, and will play Wooster, a 4-1 winner over Reno, Wednesday at 6. Both semifinal games are at Carson High.
Hernandez’s goal wiped out what was a bittersweet moment at the end of regulation when Spanish Springs’ Victor Garcia scored with 15 seconds left, sending the game into an extra period.
“Obviously I’m pleased with the result,” Carson coach Mike Alvarez said. “It was a tough game. Spanish Springs played very well. I told the team don’t take the whole overtime period. Score first.
“We were two minutes away from having it wrapped up (when Spanish Springs scored). That last goal was a beautiful set-up. It was four touches to a goal.”
The final pass went from high-scoring forward Ryan Galvan to Hernandez, who deposited the ball into the right corner of the net. While Carson players rejoiced, Spanish Springs players fell to their knees in disbelief.
“It was a pretty tough game, a lot tougher than the first time we played them,” Hernandez said. “I think it was because this was a playoff game. It got them motivated.”
Spanish Springs actually had much better scoring opportunities in the opening half.
The Cougars scored in the 5th minute when Rodolfo Hernandez took advantage of a bad pass from Martinez and beat CHS goalie Efren Ramirez.
Carson got that score back nine minutes later when Hernandez got a through ball from Galvan, outraced a Cougar defender, and chipped it past the SS keeper.
“I just kept on running,” Hernandez said. “I just barely touched it.” Hernandez and a Spanish Springs defender were side-by-side at the time of the kick. It was a hustle play by the CHS standout.
Garcia had two great looks in the 16th and 18th minute, respectively. The first attempt was a 1-on-1 situation with Ramirez, but Garcia missed wide left. He also missed left on his second attempt.
In the 23rd minute, Ramirez failed to clear the ball clearly, and almost paid the price. He was able to smother Jesus Gonzalez’s shot to keep the game tied.
“I messed up,” Ramirez said. “I’m glad I was able to redeem myself.”
In the 52nd minute Galvan, who had a hand in all three Carson scores, gave the Senators a 2-1 lead with a goal from about 10 yards.
After Galvan missed wide in the 65th minute, Ramirez made a diving stop to rob the Cougars’ Court Diesner in the 70th minute. Four minutes later Spanish Springs appeared to tie the game, but the score was wiped out on an offside call.
With approximately 15 seconds left in regulation, Garcia caught up to a bouncing ball and drove one past Ramirez, tying the game.
“I was afraid of a foul (getting a red or yellow),” Ramirez said, who picked up a red card earlier in the year. “That’s why I was hesitant.”
That set the stage for Hernandez’s game-winning score.
Now, Carson will battle Sierra League regular-season champ Galena. It’s a good match-up for the Senators, who registered a tie and win against the Grizzlies this year. Certainly playing on their home field won’t hurt the Senators, either.