Carson, Galena girls advance |

Carson, Galena girls advance

Dave Price
Appeal Sports Writer

Kevin Clifford/Nevada Appeal (from left) Carson Senators Brandi Vega, Kayla Sanchez, and Ann Sinnott fall on McQueen Lancer's goal keeper Lisa Bishop after Sanchez scored during the 4a Northern Nevada Girls Soccer State Championship. The Senators won the match 2-1.

Being down by one goal late in the first half on Saturday was no problem as far as the Carson High girls soccer team was concerned.

The Senators have been there, done that already this season. This time, just one minute after falling behind, they got the equalizer from Kayla Sanchez and then Rebecca Kane scored the go-ahead goal early in the second half to secure a 2-1 victory against McQueen in the Northern 4A Regional Tournament semifinals on a cool and windy afternoon at Carson High.

Carson (19-0) now advances to the tournament championship match next Saturday against defending champion Galena, which beat Reed 1-0 in a penalty kick shootout. The championship match is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Mackay Stadium in Reno.

Interestingly enough, the Senators saw their 2003 season end with a 2-0 loss against McQueen in the Northern 4A finals and their 2004 season end with a 2-1 overtime loss at home against Galena. They certainly weren’t ready to close the book on their season on Saturday.

“We knew we’d come back,” said Ann Sinnott, who dished out the assist on Kane’s go-ahead goal. “We’re a recovery team. We always know we can get back in the game.”

They rallied from 2-0 deficits to beat both Elko and Damonte Ranch and came back from a 1-0 deficit against Douglas during the regular season.

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“It doesn’t ever seem to bother them,” Carson coach Randy Roser said. “We have some very skilled girls and we have a lot of speed, and no matter how things are going, they seem to find a way to work it out.”

McQueen took its 1-0 lead in the 30th minute when Alexandra Sacks scored on an open shot from the right side to the far post, assisted by Kevyn Holden.

The Senators answered in the 31st minute off a free kick by Sami Valerius. The ball caromed loose in front of the goal, and in front of a quartet of Senators – with Sanchez pushing it past the goal line.

With the score tied at the intermission and the Senators coming out to play the second half with a strong wind at their back, Roser said he felt confident.

“I was actually surprised Roy Callahan (McQueen coach) took the wind in the first half. I think he felt the speed of his forwards would overwhelm Sami (Valerius) and Anna (Macquarie) in the back and that he would be able to get up by one or two goals,” Roser said. “When we got out of there and it was 1-1, I thought the second half would swing in our favor.

“It was interesting, too, because they came out playing three forwards on top in the second half, so they were going for the win.”

So were the Senators. And in the 49th minute, Sinnott fed a give-and-go pass from the middle toward the left side. Kane ran the ball down and blasted a shot to the near post for the score.

“We just have a lot of teamwork,” Sinnott said. “We were able to put some good passes together and it seemed to work out.”

At that point, the Senators switched into a defensive mode with junior Danielle Benamati dropping back to play sweeper and freshman Brandi Vega moving into a center midfield role.

“If it hadn’t been a windy day, we would have had to keep playing. But once we got that goal, with the wind at our back, we dropped back to a 4-4-2 because I felt it was more important to keep McQueen out of our half of the field.”

Krista Wisbar, Michelle Fleming, Valerius and Macquarie were virtually flawless the rest of the way. McQueen got off five shots in the second half – the most serious attempt being a shot by Holden that struck off the crossbar in the 64th minute – and Allie Otto never even had to make a save.

“Other than the one mistake in the first half, our defense played very well,” Roser said.


Senior goalkeeper Caitlin Anderson stopped three of the penalty kicks she faced, while teammates Abbie Walker, Alexandra Nielsen and Kelly Peyton converted their kicks as Galena won the shootout 3-1.

Officially, it goes in the books as Galena’s second 1-0 win of the tournament for the Grizzlies (they opened with a 1-0 win over Reno on Thursday). Last year, Galena outlasted Douglas 1-0 in a six-shot shootout in the Northern 4A semifinals and then beat McQueen 2-0 in the finals with Anderson minding the net.

The four-year varsity veteran came through again on Saturday.

“You don’t see that very often,” Galena coach Ron Jones said, referring to Anderson’s three saves in the shootout. “She’s just an amazing player. Nothing she does ever surprises me. She’s worked very hard at her trade to become as good as she is.”

Reed’s Kayla Gomer, who had been solid on defense the entire game, converted the first penalty kick to put the Raiders up 1-0. Walker, another fourth-year varsity veteran, evened the score when she drilled a low liner into the right corner of the net. Nielsen put in the go-ahead goal for the Grizzlies and then Peyton scored to make it 3-1.

Anderson clinched the win by leaving her feet to the right to bat the ball away.

“That was just reaction,” Anderson said. “The first two, I knew where they were going. The third one, I had no idea.”

It was only fitting to see a great goalkeeper save at the end of a 110-minute struggle.

“As coaches, we always want to see a good and entertaining game,” Jones said. “And I sure think the fans got their money’s worth today.”

Note: Veronica Walker, whose younger sisters Abbie and Libby play for Galena, was busy herself on Saturday playing for Weber State in the Big Sky Conference Tournament championship game in Ogden, Utah. Weber State won 4-1 to capture its second straight conference title and secure a berth in the NCAA Division IA Tournament. Veronica Walker, a 2003 Galena graduate, is a junior majoring in athletic training and playing her third season of soccer at Weber State.

n Contact Dave Price at or 881-1220