Carson boys soccer beats Spanish Springs
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – The Carson Senators set up shop in the Spanish Springs Cougars’ half of the field all night Saturday and, between its suffocating defense and a first-half goal by junior Brady Roser, did enough to take a 1-0 victory in the first round of the NIAA Northern 4A regional soccer championships at Damonte Ranch High School.
Carson improved to 20-2-4 on the year and will meet perennial rival South Tahoe in the semifinals at 6 p.m. Thursday at Damonte. The Vikings beat McQueen, 2-0.
Although the score was close on the scoreboard, it did not reflect the dominance the Senators exhibited. Carson outshot the Cougars, 19-1, and held them without a second-half attack.
“(The Cougars) came out with a lot of energy,” Carson coach Jason Koop said. “Once we settled down after the first six or seven minutes, we did very well. We created movement off the ball and with the ball. We were very unselfish and worked together as a team. That’s what we’ve done all year.”
Junior Adam Updegrove bedeviled the Cougars all night and in the 16th minute he split several defenders down the middle while Roser moved away to the left. Roser took Updegrove’s cross and buried it past Cougars keeper Alejandro Cruz to give the Senators the only goal they would need.
“I saw (Updegrove) coming downfield with the ball and I had to space,” said Roser, who scored his second goal of the year. “I called for it back and as soon as I looked over, the keeper was off the center line and moved to his right. I saw I had time, heard people say, ‘Hit it,’ and I took the chance.”
Updegrove, Carson’s leading scorer, picked up his fourth assist of the season on the play.
Spanish Springs struggled to get the ball out of its side of the field and even when it did manage to cross over midfield, it was consistently foiled in its efforts to go around the ends by outside defenders Chris Browne and Matt Tillitt, who created good angles and used superior speed to take away the ball.
“Both of them have been solid defensively all year,” Koop said. “John (Nuthall) and Jorge (Guevara) came out in the center when (the Cougars) did get it through. Defensively, we were pretty solid.”
Updegrove and Roser almost repeated their scoring sequence in the 19th minute, but Roser’s shot went wide left.
“Our possession (game) was just awesome – all the way up the field and back,” said the 16-year-old Roser, who plays club soccer for Casa Boca in Sacramento.
If the Cougars weren’t being snuffed out defensively or backed up on their heels by Updegrove and Carson forwards Drew Good and Moises Fernandez, they were being blasted from the outside bombs of junior Blake Moreland.
“Moreland got a couple of good opportunities from a distance,” Koop said. “Blake and Brady can hit them from out there.”
The Sierra League champion Senators can now turn their attention once again to South Tahoe, which took a 3-0 victory over Carson in the championship game of last year’s regional playoffs.
The Senators drew 1-1 with Vikings at Carson High School and took a 1-0 victory on the road this season.
“They’re a good team – you always look forward to playing them,” Koop said. “It makes it more interesting. They’re pretty disciplined. Their coach, Chris DeLeon, does a great job of organizing the team. They move as a group on the attack and defensively.”
The winners of the Carson-South Tahoe and Douglas-Reed games will meet in Saturday’s regional championship game and advance along with two teams from the south to the Class 4A state championships the following week at Damonte Ranch High School.
DOUGLAS 2, ELKO 1
With about a minute remaining in extra time, Douglas sophomore forward Edgar Arceo completed a 50-yard footrace by burying a goal and give the Tigers a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over the Elko Indians.
Douglas, now 17-4-1 on the season, will face High Desert League champion Reed (11-0-2) in the semifinals at 4 p.m. Thursday at Damonte Ranch.
After falling behind 1-0 in the 18th minute to the Indians, the Tigers held together for the remainder of the first half.
“We knew we had to regroup at halftime,” Douglas coach Milko Vasquez said. “Elko came out better in the first half and their two forwards and outside halfback had a lot of speed. We couldn’t get any rhythm.”
In the second half, Vasquez moved starting keeper Jose Alcarez out from the net to play defender.
“It paid off right away,” Vasquez said. “We were going to lose big or win.”
Senior Eddie Vega made sure it was the latter, taking a pass from Arceo and putting it into the net from behind the 18-yard box, capping off a five-pass play.
What made the Tigers’ victory all the more poignant was that they were already down three starting players – juniors Ross Gardner (ACL), Jeff Crozier (fractured patella) and Brian Jaggard (torn hamstring) – before seeing senior Austin Shick carried off the field with a knee injury.
Vasquez pulled up Corbin Zumpft off the junior varsity team. He said he would draw three more players off the JV later in the week.
“I have to give a lot of credit to our boys,” Vasquez said. “They haven’t played well, but they’ve played with a lot of heart and emotion. We’re still alive. It’s going to be a tough game against Reed. We’ve dealt with adversity all year long. That’s kind of been our creed this year.”