Carson boys soccer fired up for Elko
Special to the Appeal
This won’t be any ordinary season opener for the Carson High boys soccer.
Sure, the Senators are excited to kick off a new season and coach Jason Koop will use the game to take a look at all of his players in attempt to prepare for the start of league play. But make no mistake about it, there will be extra incentive when they take the field against Elko on Tuesday afternoon.
Carson’s veteran nucleus of senior returnees remembers all too well how its 2005 season with a heartbreaking 1-0 loss at home against Elko in the Northern 4A Regional Tournament semifinals. Even though the Senators (12-3-3) enjoyed a 16-5 advantage on the shot chart, a goal in the 78th minute was the difference as they lost and missed an opportunity to defend their regional tournament championship and finished with a 12-3-3 season record.
“It’s a preseason game, but it’s a game I’m sure they’ll be looking forward to,” Koop said of the 5 p.m. nonconference contest. “Win or lose, it’s a chance to see what everybody can do.”
The Senators are led by a nucleus of eight seniors that includes forward Micah Laack, midfielder Zach Weismann, defender Mats Boehnke, midfielder Enrique Mendoza, forwards Christian Volker and Jason Mather, along with defenders Andrew Hill and Alex Kaskie.
Mendoza had seven goals and nine assists last season en route to earning first-team all-league and All-Sierra Nevada honors. Laack, Weismann and Boehnke are third-year varsity veterans, though all were plagued by injuries during the 2005 season.
“Those four seniors have provided great leadership for us, and that’s important. We’ll go as far as our seniors take us,” said Koop, who is entering his third season as head coach of the Carson program.
While the Senators were plagued by injuries from start to finish last season, Koop has seen signs of improvement so far.
“Concussions, knees, hips, you name it and we had it at some point and time, even in tryouts,” Koop said. That’s always an unknown. Injuries happen, but this year, everyone’s come in healthy and relatively fit. They came in ready to roll and it’s shown. The attitudes have been very positive and upbeat.”
In addition to those seniors, the Senators feature some underclassmen who bring strong credentials to the field. Three sophomores went to Ireland to play in the highly prestigious Milk Cup this summer: Brady Roser, Brandon Briggs and John Nuthall. Three other sophomores are Olympic Development Program (ODP) veterans who figure to bring skill and depth to the midfield: Adam Updegrove, Blake Moreland and Nik Marsh.
Briggs is an ODP veteran goalkeeper who played the last 10 minutes of Carson’s 1-0 win against Fallon in the opening round of the regional tournament last November and now is ready to play full-time in the net.
“He’ll be solid in the back for us,” Koop said of the goalkeeper.
Drew Heller, a junior, saw action coming off the bench last year and Matt Tillitt returns with varsity experience.
“We have very good depth with experience at all levels, so we’re not going to drop off much when we start putting subs in,” Koop said.
From an emotional point of view, Tuesday’s season opener against Elko is important. Nevertheless, the real goal is to prepare for the start of Sierra League play – which means a date against arch rival Douglas on Sept. 9 in Minden.
“Our goal is to get to the playoffs,” Koop said. “Once you’re in the playoffs, pretty much anything can happen after that.”
Brandon Briggs, so.
Mats Boehnke, sr.
Alex Kaskie, sr.
Adam Updegrove, so.
Drew Heller, jr.
Drew Good, jr.
Enrique Mendoza, sr.
Brady Roser, so.
Micah Laack, sr.
Jason Mather, sr.
Zach Weismann, sr.
J.P. McFarren, sr.
Andrew Hill, sr.
Chris Browne, jr.
Blake Moreland, so.
Christian Volker, sr.
Nik Marsh, so.
Matt Tillitt, jr.
Martin Azzam, jr.
John Nuthall, so.