CHS soccer, spikers set for zone playoffs
The Wooster High boys soccer and Carson volleyball teams have something in common. Both have received the draws they wanted in tonight’s Northern 4A playoffs.
Wooster has gone as far as calling out Carson, commenting publicly that a matchup with the Senators is what it has wanted. While not as brash, CHS volleyball coach Justin Malley also has received the matchup he’s wanted when his team travels to Reno High.
Carson plays Wooster at 5 p.m. today in the zone semifinals against Wooster at Damonte Ranch. The winner will play the winner of today’s 7 p.m. matchup between Manogue and Galena for the Northern 4A championship on Saturday at Damonte and the right to play in the NIAA 4A State Championships.
Carson coach Nate Brigham admitted that he didn’t waste any time in letting his players know they’ve been called out by Wooster.
“As a coach your job is to get your team motivated,” said Brigham about Wooster’s tactic of calling out Carson. “I think it’s going to have the opposite effect. I made sure my boys knew about it and it motivated them.”
Brigham said his team has had two outstanding practices this week. But Brigham stressed he has a great deal of respect for Wooster. “They’re a quality squad,” Brigham said. “It will take our best game to beat them.”
And it’s not like Wooster can’t back up its confidence with its previous play against the Senators this season. The two teams tied at Wooster 1-1 and Carson escaped with a 1-0 win at home, but the Colts could have easily swept the Senators. “Both times we played against them were very even contests,” Brigham said.
While Carson wasn’t at full strength in either meeting as Brigham said the Senators will need to be at their best to beat the Colts. Carson will be at full strength. The Senators will welcome back a key defender, Nik Marsh, who missed Saturday’s 2-0 win over Spanish Springs with a shin injury.
Among the Senators’ offensive leaders have been Adam Updegrove and John Nuthall and Brigham said his team will also need strong efforts on the outside up front from Blake Moreland and Izzy Lopez to combat Wooster’s strength up the middle on defense. “They’re very strong in back,” Brigham said.
But Brigham said his team won’t change its gameplan. “We’re not going to do anything differently than we’ve done all year regardless of who we’re playing,” he said. “As long as we play our game, keep possession, keep it (the ball) on the ground, we’ll be fine.”
Carson has also been strong defensively with goalie Brandon Briggs setting the state record with most career shutouts at 30. He’s had plenty of help from his defense led by Brian Duran.
And the defense has also been a source of pride for Carson. The Senators will be the higher seed throughout the playoffs, so they will continue to be able to wear their all-white home uniforms. They have yet to be scored upon this year when wearing their all-whites and the obviously want to continue that streak.
CHS will open in the first round of the playoffs against High Desert League champion Reno at 6 p.m today at Reno. The zone semifinals and finals will be held Friday and Saturday at Manogue.
Malley likes his draw because if Carson can keep advancing it would not have to face Sierra League champion Douglas until the championship match. That would also mean a berth in the NIAA 4A State Championships.
“We’re not in the same side of the draw as Douglas and they’re the team to beat,” Malley said. “Yeah, I like our draw.”
Malley also said Carson played well against Reno in a scrimmage early in the season. “We matched up well against them but that’s a long time ago,” Malley said. “I think if we come out and play relaxed, but excited volleyball, I like our chances. What concerns me right now is the little bit of the unknown.”
Reno has a powerfull attack, but Malley said, “I think our attack’s tough, too. It’s just a question whethe we do our blocking and play our defense.”
Malley does like how his team matches up in the middle with Nikki Keller and Kailey Taylor. “I think we have a decided advantage at the middle,” he said. “Both those middles have gotten much better as the season progressed.”
Carson has been led offensively by Blaike King, who has been a strong all-around player and King has been supported offensively by Breanna Anderson, Cameo Lomorri and Elysse Virden. Defensively, Carson has been led by another strong all-around player Danae Eckart and Mavil Diaz. Setter Shannon Earwood makes the entire attack go. “I don’t think there’s anywhere they overpower us at any position,” Malley said.
In other action, Virginia City will begin its run to be one of the two Northern 1A teams to advance to state. The Muckers finished as co-champions of the Western 1A with Coleville, finishing at 13-1 in league and will open the zone playoffs at 2 p.m. Friday against Eureka at Spring Creek.
In the Northern 3A, Yerington will begin its run for a third straight state title on Saturday, entering the zone playoffs as the No. 2 seed. Yerington finished as co-champions with Truckee, but Truckee enters as the No. 1 seed and will host the zone playoffs.
The Lions will face the winner between Dayton, the No. 3 seed, and Spring Creek at 3 p.m. Saturday. Dayton will face Spring Creek at 11:40 a.m. Friday.
Fernley, the No. 4 seed, will play Lowry at 10 a.m. Friday. If Fernley wins, it would advance to face Truckee at 1:20 p.m. Saturday. The top three teams advance to state.