The 4A regional soccer playoffs get under way on Monday and Tuesday, and both Carson teams are in the hunt for a regional title.
The Carson boys, the defending regional and state champs, compiled a 12-4 record and a No. 2 seed out of the Sierra League. Galena won the Sierra regular-season crown with a 14-1-1 record, including 4-0 and 2-1 wins over the Senators.
The Carson boys host Hug (7-6-3) Monday at 6 p.m. The Senators edged Hug, 1-0, back on Sept. 14 at Hug.
In other first-round games on Monday, Galena hosts Reno (7-7-2) at 3:30 p.m., North Valleys (10-3-3) hosts Wooster (11-4-1) at 3:30 and Spanish Springs (12-3-1), the No. 1 seed out of the High Desert, hosts Damonte Ranch (8-8-0) at 6 p.m.
Semifinals on Wednesday are set for 4 and 6 p.m. at North Valleys, and Saturday’s championship game is at noon at Damonte. Only the regional champ from the north makes state this year
Carson has won three of its last four, the only blemish a 2-1 Senior Day loss to Damonte Ranch.
“Their goalie (from Hug) stopped nearly everything that day,” Carson coach Frank Martinez said. “We can’t take them lightly. They are a scrappy bunch. We have to play our game and minimize mistakes and we should be fine.”
The Senators have a diverse offense. Fourteen different players scored for the Senators this season.
Eddie Porter, the super sub of the Sierra League, and Guillermo Hernandez led the way with nine goals apiece. Osvaldo Gomez had six, Oscar Ventura and keeper/field player Efren Ramirez have five apiece, and Danny Manzo and Alejandro Gonzalez have four each.
“We don’t have to rely on just one guy,” Martinez said. “The more guys who can score, the more dangerous we are.”
The biggest question mark is the health of Rogelio Herrera, who suffered a knee injury during his club season, and has been in and out of the lineup during the Sierra League season.
“He looks good in practice running around in practice,” said Martinez of his high-scoring forward. “I think we’ll be starting him.”
The Carson girls, who compiled a 15-0-1 record en route to their second straight regular-season crown, host Reed (7-8-1) Tuesday at 6 p.m. Carson manhandled Reed 9-1 in their regular-season match-up.
In other first-round games, McQueen (10-4-2), the No. 2 High Desert seed, hosts Douglas (9-6-1), the Sierra League No. 3 seed, at 3:30. Reno (12-3-1), the High Desert champ, hosts Wooster (5-9-2) at 3:30, and Galena (14-2), the No. 2 Sierra seed, hosts Spanish Springs (7-7-2), also at 3:30. Both of Galena’s losses were to Carson.
The semifinals are Thursday at 4 and 6 at North Valleys, and the championship game is at 2 p.m. at Damonte Ranch.
“The regionals are a new season,” Carson coach Greg Lehman. “The girls know that we are playing one game at a time and that a loss ends the season. As long as we have that mindset, we’ll go out and hopefully get the job done. We can’t look past anybody.”
The Senators recorded nine shutouts this year thanks to the work of Valerie Sue Meyer, Brynn Lehman, Hailey Palotas and Molly Otto on the back line, and Galilea Cid, Yanitzia Perez, Lauren Hudak and Sophia Ruedy in the middle.
Keeper Vanessa Camarena is vastly improved. The last time Carson allowed a goal was on Oct. 11 in a 3-1 win over Galena.
“Our defense is really strong,” Lehman said. “They all are technically sound and can control the ball, and Vanessa is getting better which is what we were hoping for.”
The Senators averaged 3.3 goals per contest, and they have plenty of weapons.
Mallory Otto is the team leader in scoring with 15 goals followed by Perez with 11 and Bella Wakeling with 7.
Otto scored a goal in the first eight games of the season and had a hat trick against Galena.
“She has had opportunities, she kept her composure and was able to finish,” Lehman said. “Sometimes kids get excited and don’t finish the picture they have in their mind.”
Perez had four multi-goal games,including a hat trick against Wooster.
Dayton boys 2nd in league
The Dust Devils, under the leadership of coach Luis Melgarejo, play either North Tahoe or Truckee Thursday at 1 p.m. in Winnemucca.
The 3A soccer had two divisions, and the eight-team tourney includes five schools from the stronger of the two divisions, and three from the other division. Dayton compiled a 6-2-2 record, good for second behind West Wendover in the second division.
“We’re excited,” Melgarejo said. “Dayton hasn’t been to the playoffs in six or seven years. It’s something new. We have to stay focused and play our hearts out.”
Keeper Gabriel Dums has a wrist injury and Marco Torres has a sore leg from the turf at Battle Mountain. Both are expected to play on Thursday.
The Dust Devils rely on Victor Gomez, who had 16 goals this season.