Carson, Douglas soccer play for title |

Carson, Douglas soccer play for title

Carson High boys soccer coach doesn’t want today’s Northern 4A championship game to come down to a penalty kick shootout. But he knows all too well that’s what could happen.

So if today’s showdown for the title between rivals Carson and Douglas at noon at CHS isn’t decided after 110 minutes of regulation and overtime play, Koop wants his team to be ready for a possible shootout.

“We’ve been practicing for a shootout,” Koop said. “Everybody’s got to be able to shoot.

“I don’t want it to get there. Nobody wants to lose that way. But if it happens, you’ve got to be prepared for it.”

At stake in today’s game is a trip to the NIAA 4A State Championships next weekend in Las Vegas. For the loser, the season is done.

The main reason why Carson is in the zone finals is because of two penalty kicks and Royal Good has been in the middle of both of them. In a raucous regular season finale between the two teams at Carson, Good drew a foul on a questionable call at the edge of the penalty box and Julio Deleon made the penalty kick to force a 2-2 tie in the waning seconds.

The goal set off a wild celebration by Carson’s players and led to tempers flaring after the game. Even though both teams had already clinched a playoff spot, all of the players on both teams thought their playoff fate would be determined by the outcome of the game, which is why Carson’s players celebrated so wildly.

Carson opened the zone playoffs with a 2-1 win over Elko and then on Good’s penalty kick, upset defending state champion South Tahoe 1-0 to make the finals.

Koop said anyone can be chosen to take the penalty kicks in a shootout even those on the bench. The rules allow that anyone on the roster, even if they haven’t played, can take a penalty kick in the shootout.

Practicing on penalty kicks couldn’t hurt Carson’s goalie, Bud Kop, either. “As many as he can see, the better,” Koop said.

The Senators won the first meeting between the schools 3-2. The regular season finale was intense and admittedly partly because both teams didn’t know their playoff fate.

“The last Carson game that was pretty intense,” Douglas co-coach Milko Vasquez said. “Nobody was backing off.”

While both teams played hard, Vasquez said there was nothing dirty. “I could care less what happened off the field,” Vasquez said.

Both coaches said they expected today’s game to be just as physical. “If you can’t play you’re best you’re not going to win,” Vasquez said.

“I think it’s going to be a really, really good game. The passion’s going to be there without a doubt.”

And it’s Carson-Douglas. “That’s one thing they always have to look forward to is to play Carson,” Vasquez said.”I really expect that they’re going to play their hardest they’ve every played and we will, too,” Koop said. “It’s Douglas-Carson.

“I don’t think anything more needs to be said about that. Everyone’s fired up and nobody wants to go home. I expect to be just as fiery as our last match.”

A large crowd at the last game just added fuel to the fire and a crowd of at least more than 500 is expected for today’s contest.

For Douglas, its last eight games have virtually all been playoff games. After a tough midseason stretch, the Tigers needed to go 4-1-1 down the stretch just to make the playoffs. The Tigers then beat Galena 1-0 and Wooster 2-0 in the playoffs to make the finals.

“That’s tough to rebound from,” said Vasquez about the Tigers’ midseason struggles. “I give them a lot of credit.”

“They’re probably playing their best soccer right now, which is when you want to be playing it,” Koop said. “On the flip side, we’re playing our best soccer, too.”

Carson will have to be concerned with where Colten Mellows is on the field at all times. Mellows, arguably the Tigers’ most versatile player, can play anywhere on the field and Douglas isn’t afraid to switch Mellows from one position to another at any time.

While Koop said Mellows was an outstanding player, he also said Carson wouldn’t change its game plan to stop one player. “He’s not the only thing that drives their team,” Koop said. “They play well together.”