A year ago, Carson High’s girls soccer team had trouble finding the back of the net.
The Senators were shut out five times, and in two other matches, scored just once.
Carson hopes to change its fortunes when it hosts Reno in its Division I opener Sept. 1 at 7 p.m.
“It’s a different group this year,” Carson coach Greg Lehman. “This year we’re a little more experienced with some of the girls coming back.”
Carson returns 10 players — defender Makaela Bigley, goalkeeper Samantha Bishop, midfielder Melissa Glanzmann, forward-midfielder Nahim Gutierrez, midfielder Lauren Hudak, defender Lindy Lehman, defender Andrea Maffei, midfielder Alondra Martinez, midfielder Julie Torres and midfielder-forward Isabella Wakeling — plus Mallory and Molly Otto, both of whom saw limited varsity action a year ago.
Up from the JV squad are Hailey Palotas, Sophia Ruedy and Brynn Lehman. Kendall Baker, Megan Sando, Samantha Gutierrez and Valerie Sue-Meyer, who started as a freshman and opted not to play last year.
Lehman, who guided the Senators to a 9-5-2 regular-season record, said 19 players is a little bigger than normal.
“All 19 players are capable of starting fo us if we need them to,” he said. “It’s a pretty good group. I’m very happy with them.
“It’s a very versatile group. They are trained to be able to play more than one position.”
Lehman, who’s being assisted by Sarah Field this year, said he has not decided on an opening night lineup.
One unknown is Meyer, who wants to play for the Senators, but also practices with her club team.
Lehman said there’s ongoing talk, but Meyer is on the team as of now. She was impressive as a freshman.
“She is a smart player,” Lehman said. “She works hard at practice. She gives us a lot of speed and a lot of experience.”
Meyer could see action at either fullback or midfield.
Lindy Lehman and Bigley, who ended the season starting on the back row, figure to lead the group of defenders.
Maffei, Palotas and Nahim Gutierrez will battle for time on the back line.
Martinez, Gutierrez, Torres, Glanzmann, Ruedy, Wakeling, Hudak, Baker and Brynn Lehman are in the mix at midfield.
Unofficially, Glanzmann and Hudak are the leading returning scorers with three goals apiece. Wakeling scored twice.
It’s obvious somebody needs to step up and lead this offense.
Wakeling and Gutierrez are the top forward returnees, and Sando is competing for playing time at forward.
The lone keeper on the roster is Bishop, who has played off and on.
“Samantha has a lot of club experience,” Lehman said. “She is very vocal back there.”
JV goalie Miriam Torres is the back-up in case of injury.
Lehman admitted he doesn’t have an emergency goalie if Bishop were injured during a match.
On paper, Carson should be a playoff team, especially if the chemistry is right among the team.
“I don’t know much about the rest of the league,” Lehman said. “Douglas, Spanish Springs. Reed and Galena are usually real good.”
The Senators were swept by both Galena and Douglas a year ago, and if Carson has designs on a league title that can’t happen this season.