Carson's Saeed Mobaligh pulls the ball back away from Galena's Erik Rodriguez during the NIAA Northern Division 1 soccer match between the Galena Grizzlies and Carson High Senators at Carson High School.
There wasn't much room for more drama Wednesday night for the Carson boys soccer team's on Senior Night.
A 3-2 win over Galena not only let the 15 Senator seniors celebrate on their home field, but allowed Carson to pull within one game of the top spot in the league after spoiling the Grizzlies' 4-0 record – now 4-1 – in Sierra League games.
No moment shifted the momentum more than Yahir Mata's free kick goal in the 49th minute.
The junior left back set up near the Carson sideline from 25 yards out and hit a perfectly lofted shot over the head of the Galena keeper and into the top corner to give the Senators a 2-1 lead.
"I saw the top right corner and I kicked it, hoped for the best and it went in," said Mata postgame.
Mata added afterward that he's never scored a goal 'that crazy.'
The goal came four minutes after the Senators got rid of the zero in their goal column, taking advantage of a Grizzly turnover.
While attempting to get the ball out of its own end, Galena put the ball at the feet of Jose Godines, who turned and fired one past the onlooking Grizzly defense and into the net, tying the game at 1-1.
Galena needed eight minutes to answer back from Carson's consecutive goals, tying the contest in the 57th minute when a through ball hit a streaking Nicholas Flocchini.
Flocchini pushed the ball past the outstretched arms of Carson goalie Leonardo Barajas Mejorado to make it 2-2.
However, Mata and the Senator offense wasn't done.
In the 67th minute, Carson cut the ball up the end line and kicked a pass underneath a diving Galena goalie to the foot of Mata who buried the ball in the back of the empty net.
"It gave us more motivation to keep on going and fight harder for state," said Mata toppling the Sierra League leaders.
Final line of defense holds firm
Along with getting it done in the attacking third, the Senator defense held strong when they were needed the most.
Carson gave both its senior goalies a half to defend the twine and both made saves that kept the Grizzlies off the scoreboard.
In the first half it was Anthony Hernandez-Galvan with a save on a free kick in the 25th minute.
It was Mejorado in the second half who held down the fort with a diving save in the 74th minute on Galena's last true scoring chance of the contest.
"I really wanted that ball," said Mejorado. "I just wanted to show the team I'm here and nothing is going to go past me."
Both seniors couldn't have asked for a better result on Senior Night after the Senators fell to Galena 7-2 in the two squads first meeting of the season Sept. 21.
"All the hype in the stands that actually got us going, that gave us the confidence to get the dub back and get over that loss that we had before," said Hernandez-Galvan.
"It was huge," said Carson head coach Francisco Martinez. "Especially after what they did (to us) at home.
"The goal is one game at a time, but the ultimate goal is playoffs and then state," added Martinez.
Carson has now gone six straight matches without a loss, posting a 5-0-1 record over that span with four of those wins coming in league play.
The Senators will be without Adrian Lopez Meras in their next contest, who picked up a red card along with Galena defender Eduardo Ramos, after an altercation in the 50th minute.
UP NEXT: Carson (8-6-2, 4-2) will host Bishop Manogue (8-6, 3-2) Saturday, looking to avenge a 3-0 loss to the Miners earlier this season.