Fast start propels Carson girls past South Tahoe
Once again, the Carson High School girls soccer team wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. Unlike their wins over Reed and North Valleys in the past eight days, however, the Senators jumped out to an early lead against South Tahoe and then had to scramble to hold on for a 3-1 Sierra League victory at home Saturday afternoon.
Sammy Valerius scored on a penalty kick in the ninth minute and Cassie Bowman scored off a Sarah Stalling corner kick in the 13th minute as Carson took an early 2-0 lead in a matchup between perennial playoff contenders. But the Senators needed some key defensive stops before they were able to close the door on a win that improved their league record to 3-0.
“We didn’t play very well,” Carson coach Randy Roser said with a shrug. “We came out strong, but then the girls started having trouble communicating and possessing the ball.
“One thing about being the defending (league) champion, you know every team’s going to be gunning for you, so we emphasize that it’s important to get out fast,” the coach added. “I was kind of surprised when South Tahoe didn’t play better. We came out hard and excited to play, but then all of a sudden, we had control of the match after 12 minutes.”
Carson and Douglas are tied for first-place in the league, while South Tahoe is third with its 2-2 record. All three teams figure to be in the thick of the Northern 4A Regional playoff picture when November rolls around.
“This was a close game between two evenly matched teams,” South Tahoe assistant coach Clint Lockhart said. “We started off a little flat. We were playing back on our heels, but the girls came back and played well in the second half. We just needed a little more time.”
The momentum began to shift before halftime. The Vikings appeared to have one scoring opportunity in the 34th minute when they put the ball in the mouth of the goal, but they were unable to get off a shot when Valerius cleared the ball out.
Opportunity knocked again in the 48th minute when Cybil Robinson pushed the ball past Carson goalkeeper Allie Otto and appeared to have a shot on an open net before Sarah Johnston came over and tapped the ball away. Robinson recovered the ball, but pressured by Johnston, her low shot attempt veered wide left.
The Senators turned the ball around and answered with an attack that culminated when Danielle Benamati grounded a left-foot shot into the corner of the net to make it 3-0 in the 49th minute.
Carson had a fourth goal waved off by an offside call in the 56th minute.
Meanwhile, South Tahoe continued to mount threats in the last 20 minutes. Otto stopped one shot and Johnston cleared the ball out before Robinson could get a shot off in the 71st minute. Johnston and Ashley Briscoe shared time while replacing regular defender Katie Davis, who missed the game due to a sprained ankle.
South Tahoe got on the scoreboard in the 72nd minute when Luauna Brinkley took a short left-foot shot that deflected off a defender into the net to make it 3-1.
Valerius blocked another shot, South Tahoe had a free shot that sailed over the net and Otto stopped another shot before the final whistle blew.
“It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win, and we’ll take that over Tahoe,” Roser said.
South Tahoe, coming off a 3-0 loss at Douglas on Tuesday, has yet to play a home game because its own field has just received new sod.
“We’ve been doing a lot of traveling. That’s been hard, especially when you consider Douglas and Carson are two of the strongest teams in the league, but this just makes us stronger and it gives us something to shoot for the second half of the season because we’ll play these teams on our home field.”
DOUGLAS 11, HUG 0
Nine different players scored as the Tigers remained unbeaten in league and improved their overall record to 4-0-1. Morgan LeFever and Christina Bradshaw scored two goals each to lead the Tigers, who took a 2-0 lead in the first two minutes.
Douglas is scheduled to host Carson to end the league’s first round on Tuesday, Sept. 28.