Hug pulls the upset, ending Carson High soccer’s title hopes
Carson High’s soccer team hopes of reaching the state championship ended with a stunning first-round playoff upset at the hands of the Hug Hawks on Tuesday night.
Jaffet Corona scored in the 77th minute to snap a 3-all tie and give the Hawks, the No. 4 seed out of the High Desert League, a 4-3 win over the Senators, who won the Sierra League regular-season title.
When the final whistle sounded, the Hug players stormed the field while many of the Carson players dropped to their knees in disbelief, tears in their eyes. Others covered their faces with their jerseys.
“It’s really tough, especially when you work so hard,” Carson coach Frank Martinez. “We played possession soccer beautifully. We still had a great season, and I enjoyed working with these kids.
“I thought we had a really good chance of getting to state again. Unfortunately we fell short. The best team doesn’t always win, and I felt we were the best team. We made a few mistakes out there. Hug is a scrappy team. Hug played hard.”
Carson let leads of 2-0 and 3-2 slip away against the Hawks. Carson had beaten Hug 2-1 during the regular season in less-than ideal weather. The Hawks never stopped playing, and it was the Senators who suffered a letdown.
The game was scoreless for the first 17 minutes, though it was Carson who had the better scoring opportunities, including an attempt by Efren Ramirez that went wide left in the 9th minute.
Carson went ahead 1-0 in the 17th minute on the first of two Ramirez scores.
“I saw Julio (Loera) and he sent the ball to me and I was able to get a head on it,” Ramirez said.
The Senators went up 2-0 nine minutes later on a score by Osvaldo Gomez.
That should have been it for the half, and maybe the match. Ramirez and Angel Gonzalez misfired in the 34th and 37th minute, respectively.
A minute later, Hug went on the attack. One shot went off the body of Guillermo Perez, and Corona was able to score moments later after a corner kick.
Less than a minute later, Carson keeper Jose Rodriguez didn’t put a lot of steam when he cleared a ball out of the Carson end. Nestor Perez ran up, intercepted the ball, and pounded a shot past Rodriguez.
“That’s what we do; play possession soccer,” Martinez said.
“He thought our guy was open. The other guy came in and made a good play and then beat him with a shot. That gave them a lot of momentum.”
Hug coach Nico Moreno agreed.
“That first goal was big for us,” he said. “When we tied it at the half that gave us a real boost. I told the team to play (hard) the last 40 minutes. We have 19 seniors on this team, and a lot of them played.”
Carson pulled ahead again, 3-2, in the 57th minute when Ramirez scored for the second time.
“Ronnie just sent a simple through ball and I just hit it,” Ramirez said.
Again, Carson couldn’t stand prosperity, as Hug’s Luis Romero tied the game at 3 in the 68th minute.
“That was the turning point,” Ramirez said. “That put a little more pressure on us.”
Carson had a couple of misfires, and then Corona broke the hearts of the Carson players and fans when he rifled a shot by Rodriguez to go ahead for good.