Briggs sets state shutout record as Carson advances to zone semis
Briggs sets state record with shutout over Spanish Springs
By Charles Whisnand
Nevada Appeal Sports Editor
RENO ” Survival is the name of the game in the Northern 4A playoffs and Carson boys soccer coach Nate Brigham didn’t expect a cakewalk.
Carson, the Sierra League’s No. 1 seed, safely advanced to the zone semifinals with a 2-0 win over the High Desert League’s No. 4 seed, Spanish Springs, on Friday at Damonte Ranch High School.
It was also a big night for Carson goalie Brandon Briggs, who set the state record for most career shutouts, picking up his 30th shutout.
The Senators now face a tough task in facing Wooster in the semifinals at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Damonte. Wooster barely made it to the semifinals, escaping with a 3-2 win over Hug in double overtime, but the Colts played the Senators on even terms in both meetings this season.
The two teams played to a 1-1 draw at Wooster and then Carson escaped with a 1-0 win at home in what Brigham called “a very even match.”
It’s true that the Senators weren’t at full strength in either game, missing injured players in both contests, but the Colts shouldn’t lack for confidence knowing they could have easily beaten Carson in both games.
“I mean records don’t matter a lot when you get into playoffs now,” Brigham said. “Anyone making the playoffs is a quality team. It’s going to be a tough game for us. We’re going to have to play our best game. Every game from here on out is going to be a tough game for us.”
In the other semifinal, Galena, a 3-0 winner over Elko, will play Manogue, a 3-0 winner over Reed, at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Damonte.
On a cold, windy day on Friday, Carson decided to go against the wind in the first half, so it could have the wind at its back in the second half. The wind was a factor in slowing Carson’s attack as was Spanish Springs.
The Senators played much better in the second half as it controlled the action throughout, but in the end Carson scored one goal in each half.
“They came out and played well,” said Brigham about Spanish Springs. “We started a little slow the first half and picked it up in the second half. I thought we were a little better than the score reflected. But it’s a win and we’re into the second round.”
Carson actually had several chances early in the game. Cyrill Suter took Blake Moreland’s throw-in and with his back to the center of the field, headed the ball to Izzy Lopez, who missed high on his shot.
Moments later John Nuthall took a cross from Lopez from the left side, but Nuthall’s was denied by the Cougar goalkeeper. Updegrove was also denied by the Cougar goalie after taking a cross from Lopez. But then Updegrove sent a ball forward and Nuthall scored on a breakaway and Carson made the goal stand up for a 1-0 halftime lead.
Early in the second half Lopez and Nuthall combined to drop a ball to Updegrove, who nailed a shot from just outside the goal box in the right upper corner of the net. Lopez, Suter, Moreland and Brady Roser were also among those who had shots for Carson.
Briggs officially had the record when he left the game with 8:30 left, allowing Ryan Lee to finish up. Whenever a goalie plays at least 60 minutes, he’s credited with the shutout.
“It feels incredible,” Briggs said. “I’ve got the most shutouts in the state ever. What more could you ask for? It’s awesome.”
Briggs was quick to credit defenders Brian Duran, Nate Eng, Luis Aguilar and Jorge Guevara for helping him set the record.
“Without them it wouldn’t have happened,” Briggs said.
Carson was without Nik Marsh, another defender who sees substantial playing time, who was out with an injury. But Marsh will be back for Wooster.
And while he now has the record, what Briggs obviously covets most is the NIAA Class 4A State title.
“That would be a great way to finish my soccer career,” he said.