Carson High's Jose De La O (10) rips a shot Tuesday night in the Senators' Class 5A regional quarterfinal contest against Hug. The Hawks escaped with a 1-0 win in overtime.
Jeff Mulvihill, Jr. | InstaImage
It was about as ideally competitive as a 4/5 matchup should be in the playoffs.
Carson High boys soccer, which entered as the No. 4 seed in the Class 5A Northern Nevada Regional Tournament, and Hugh played to a 0-0 draw through 80 minutes of regulation Tuesday night.
In extra time, the Hawks broke the scoreless tie with a hard, line drive shot off the foot of Jaime Montero that slid just passed the outstretched arms of Senator keeper René Gonzalez and into the far corner.
Hug’s win was a reversal of fortune from the last time the two teams met in the postseason.
Carson and Hugh had physical exchanges and numerous scoring chances throughout the evening, but nothing crossed the line in the first 80 minutes.
“We had opportunities. It looked like a couple of them were going in, but they just didn’t go in,” said Carson High head coach Frank Martinez. “It was a game of whoever put it in was going to win.”
Freshman phenom in net
The whole Senator sideline wanted that save in overtime, but the game-winning goal came after an amazing performance from the Carson keeper.
In the fourth minute after a mental miscue, the Senators gave Hug a free kick in the box.
The Hawks went quick, trying to catch the Senators sleeping, but Gonzalez extended a foot and turned the scoring chance away.
Gonzalez made saves in the 13th and 34th minutes as well, but nothing stacked up to the falling deflection he made in the 51st minute.
Off a Hug corner kick, a Hawk forward bounced a header off the turf and behind a falling Gonzalez.
Somehow, the freshman keeper was able to reach his left foot behind him for a save before Jose De La O booted the ball off the back line.
“Rene is a beast,” said Martinez. “I knew having Rene back there, I knew we had a good shot at going all the way. We just have to remember he is only 14. Today he had some great saves.”
Offensively, Carson faced similar fortunes on the other end of the field.
In the 69th minute, senior fullback Christofer Palacio got his head on a floating corner kick.
Palacio was able to lob the header over the Hawk keeper, but another Hug defender snuck behind and cleared the ball away from net just before it snuck in the near post.
The chance in the 69th minute was about as close as Carson came until overtime.
Another save by Gonzalez in the 74th minute allowed the Senators to keep fighting for the first tally on the other end.
“I thought we were close in overtime. It could have gone either way. Opportunities were there for us and for them,” said Martinez.
Carson’s offense came by taking space in the midfield and looking to get the ball to the feet of one of their explosive attackers.
The Senators were fine being patient on offense, but when the chances came the ball just couldn’t get into the net.
“It’s tough for the seniors. They played their hearts out,” said Martinez.
After winning five of its final six games in the regular season, Carson closes the season with a 5-4 record.
The Senators will lose eight seniors to graduation this spring, but clearly have talent anxious to compete again in the fall.