MINDEN — A second half goal by Guillermo Hernandez, assisted by Rogelio Herrera, lifted the Carson High boys soccer team to a 1-0 Sierra League season-ending victory Wednesday afternoon against Douglas.
The win was good news as the Senators clinched second-place in the league and secured a home field berth for the first round of the region tournament next week. Even better was the sight of Herrera on the field for extensive action after missing much of this season due to an ACL injury sustained during his club season.
“He’s still nowhere near 100 percent, but he looked fine today and that is good news for us,” Carson coach Frank Martinez said of the senior. “He’s a game changer, for sure.”
Herrera, the leading scorer for Carson last year, has only seen limited action throughout this season. On Wednesday, he came off the bench to play 15 minutes in the first half and then helped spark the offense early in the second half.
Carson (12-4 league, 13-4 overall) broke up a scoreless duel against Douglas (2-13-1 league, 2-14-1 overall) in the 55th minute when Herrera delivered a pass to the left side of the net, where Hernandez gathered in the ball and struck a grounder just inside the far post. The goal was the ninth this season for Hernandez.
The Senators surged to life offensively at the outset of the second half with 11 shots during a span of 15 minutes.
“Our second half was way better than the first,” Martinez said. “We were a little sleepy in the first half, maybe a little overconfident.”
The Senators would have done more damage if not for a solid performance by senior goalkeeper Luke Heinrichs. The Tigers’ four-year varsity starter had seven of his 10 saves in the second half.
“Luke had an awesome game,” first-year Douglas coach Chase Zumpft said. “He kept us in it.”
This was a much different game than Carson’s 8-0 win at home against Douglas on Oct. 8, Martinez acknowledged.
“We had our opportunities, but they have a good goalie,” the Carson coach said.
“Luke was on his game today. And you could see Douglas wanted it. The rivalry’s there and they played hard.”
The Tigers had a couple of opportunities to score shortly before halftime. First, freshmen Jonathan Valdez and Wyatt Pratt strung together a combination of passes that led to an open shot by senior Anthony Soria that slid just wide of the goalpost in the 35th minute. Three minutes later, Jonathan Fastabend passed to Valdez for a short shot that was stopped by Carson goalkeeper Efren Ramirez.
“The kids played really well today,” Zumpft said. “We had a couple of opportunities at the end of the first half. But that’s been the bane of our season … we haven’t been able to put the ball in the back of the net. We’ve had a lot of close losses (nine were decided by two goals or less).”
Now, the Senators are looking forward to opening defense of their region and state tournament championships starting on Monday.
“The second half, that’s how we need to play in the playoffs,” Martinez said. “The playoffs are never easy. If you don’t play well, you go home.”
Carson hosts Reed
The Senators, 15-0-1, open at home against Reed (7-8-1) Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the NIAA 4A playoffs.
Carson knocked off Reed in the regular-season match-up in Sparks. If Carson wins the opener it would play Thursday at 4 at North Valleys against the winner of the Douglas-McQueen game. Reno, Wooster, Galena and Spanish Springs are in the other bracket.
Dayton loses in 4
DAYTON — The Dust Devils closed out the regular season with a 21-25, 25-23, 10-25 and 22-25 Senior Night loss to Fallon on Wednesday.
The loss makes Dayton the No. 3 seed at next week’s 3A tournament at Fallon. Coach Monica Halverson wasn’t sure who the Dust Devils would play in Friday’s opener.
“It was a tough loss,” Halverson said. “We underestimated Fallon and how well they run their offense.
“We lost a hard-fought first set and rallied together and won the second set. We kept them guessing with our hits. The third game was ugly. We made major mental mistakes and lost our energy. We missed a couple of serves in the fourth set and hit a couple of balls into the net.”
Brianda Diaz led Dayton with 16 digs, 12 kills, a block and assist. Kallie Strong added 32 assists, 12 digs and three kills. Makenna Olsen finished with 13 kills and Ashley Mason finished with six digs and four kills. Hailey Wells had a team-leading 23 digs.
Muckers sweep Excel
SPARKS — Virginia City improved to 13-2 in league with a 25-10, 25-8, 25-6 win Tuesday afternoon in a 1A match-up.
Emily Heinz finished with seven kills, 10 assists, two digs and two aces, and Bethany Fuller contributed seven kills, six aces and four digs. Kaitlin Hames finished with 10 digs, three kills and five aces with Bethany Fuller getting seven kills, four digs and six aces.
State tourney at Damonte
The NIAA has switched the state volleyball tournament from Carson to Damonte Ranch.
According to Donnie Nelson, assistant commissioner, Damonte offered to host the event two weeks ago, but the message didn’t reach Bart Thompson, the NIAA commissioner.