Powerhouses meet in opening round | NevadaAppeal.com

Powerhouses meet in opening round

Darrell Moodydmoody@nevadaappeal.com

Carson High’s girls soccer team’s present for winning the Northern Nevada Division I regional title is a first-round match-up with perennial powerhouse Green Valley.Green Valley enters the Division I playoff opener, Friday at Heritage Park in Henderson at 6 p.m., with a 17-0-1 record compared to 16-1-2 for Carson.If you wanted a clash of super titans in the first round, this is it. Quite simply, it doesn’t get any better.Greg Lehman, Carson’s first-year coach, admits he’d love to know more about Green Valley. However, he’s content to work on his own team. He likes how it has come together as a group since August.“We defend as a group and attack as a group,” Lehman said. “That’s what we’ve been trying to accomplish all season, getting them to play together. Our kids know how we want to play. They’re ready.“We’re ironing a few things out. We’re not going to make any drastic changes in a week’s time. They (Vegas teams) play a more physical game down there in general.”Carson has some players who are very physical including Michelle Sandage, Kenzie Tillitt, Danielle Sandage and Kiahna Pimental.“We have a good solid defense,” Lehman said. “Our midfield has been playing well.”The back line is led by Shannon Flaherty. She teams with Katherine Leist, Bailie Zuber, Alissa Hayes and Lindy Lehman. Pimental and Tillitt anchor the midfield.Michelle Sandage also has turned out to be Carson’s main scoring threat. She had points in all three regional games, including two goals in the championship win over Reno.“She is a talented player,” Lehman said. “She plays like a college player. Our girls find the open spaces and found her.”Tillitt is a force offensively because of her ball-handling skills, while Danielle Sandage, Mayra Olivares and Karla Reyes have shined offensively at various times this season.Sandage & Co. may have their hands full with the Gators, who enter the game on a 14-game win streak. The Gators, who average 3.5 goals per contest, have allowed only four goals the entire season. The Gators tied Palo Verde in the fourth game of the season and haven’t lost since.The Gators posted shutouts in eight of their last 10 games, as Kiyana Lopez and Nicole Dunn share time between the pipes.“We have two exceptional girls that split time,” Green Valley coach Roy Snyder said. “My defensive midfield and back line have played very well.” Despite his team’s gaudy record, Snyder isn’t taking anything for granted entering the four-team state tournament.“I told the girls at practice that any team still around at this point in the season was a really good team,” Snyder said. “Obviously if we were playing Centennial we’d have an advantage since we’ve seen each other and know their players.“With Carson I only know what little I’ve read. They have a great record. I don’t know much about their players. We’re not going to change our game. We’re just going to come out and play our game.”Green Valley isn’t just a team that is known for defense. Kayla Anderson finished with 18 goals and seven assists, while Lauren Avecilla and Cayla Imahara added seven goals apiece. Imahara also had nine assists. Nicole Westover contributed six goals and two assists, while Pauline Buskas chipped in five goals and three assists.The game will be played on grass, and Lehman’s team has been practicing on grass all week in preparation. “It’s a new park, and the field is pretty slick,” Snyder said. “It’s sort of like playing on field turf. I don’t think there will be much difference.”GIRLS STATE TOURNAMENTGreen Valley vs. Carson at 6 p.m. FridayArbor View vs. Coronado at 6 p.m. FridayFriday’s winners meet at noon Saturday