Carson soccer team faces state opener today |

Carson soccer team faces state opener today

The only drawback from winning the Northern 4A title is the wait. After the Carson High boys soccer team defeated Douglas 3-1 on Saturday at home to win the zone crown, it’s likely that the Senator players would have rather just made the trip to Las Vegas and started playing in the next tournament the very next day.

But the Senators have had to wait nearly a week to return to game action, but the wait is finally over. Carson will begin play today in the NIAA 4A State Championships at 12:30 p.m. against Centennial at Cimarron-Memorial High.

In the other semifinal matchup, Bonanza will face Silverado at 10 a.m. The winners will advance to Saturday’s 10 a.m. championship game.

“I don’t care when we play and where we play and who we play,” said Carson coach Jason Koop, who has taken the Senators to the state event in his first year. “We just want to play. We’ve had that attitude all year long.”

In Centennial, Carson faces a team that advanced to the state title game last year, where it lost to South Tahoe. Despite being a relatively inexperienced team, Centennial has made it back to the state final four.

“Obviously they can play,” Koop said. “I’m not worried about how inexperienced they are. We’re not that old, either.”

Carson has just five seniors – Chris Thorson, Brian Arce, Ernesto Ayala, Jeremiah Schenzel and Julio Deleon. All five have played key roles in Carson advancing to state.

Centennial does have a 2-0 win over Bonanza, which was ranked No. 6 in region VIII by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. The region covers California, Oregon, New Mexico, Idaho, Colorado and Nevada.

“I don’t know if you can put that much stock in rankings,” Koop said. “Obviously the coaches think highly of the teams down there. But come playoff time, rankings don’t mean that much.”

Carson could be considered the surprise team of the state event. “When you start a year, you think about, ‘Do we have what it takes?’,” Koop said. “I’m not surprised and I don’t think the guys are. From the beginning of the year, that’s what they talked about.”

The Senators’ strategy will continue to be simple. They won’t try to fool anyone, but will continue what they’ve been doing all along.

Carson will continue to count on the solid play of goalie Bud Kop and to attack from the wings.

“That’s kind of our staple,” Koop said. “It’s not a secret. It’s kind of easy to see what we do. If they stop us, they stop us.”

The Senators have five solid defenders in Arce, Thorson, Kevin Brush, Mats Boehnke and Jose Aguilar. Midfielder Loren Wooldridge rotates with Sam Rojas and Logan Ahl at stopper.

Carson also has two solid attacking outside midfielders in Royal Good and Enrique Mendoza. Good contributed to all three goals in the win over Douglas last Saturday. He had two goals and an assist and Ernesto Ayala scored the go-ahead goal in the win over the Tigers.

Up front are fowards Ayala and Edgar Gomez. Deleon and Schenzel also see considerable time up front.

Contact Charles Whisnand at or call 881-1214.