Rivalry week for Carson, Douglas
Well, it’s rivalry week.
With at least one Carson-Douglas matchup scheduled throughout the week, Monday night set the tone for what could end up being one of the more heated go-arounds in recent memory.
The Douglas and Carson girls’ soccer squads meet tonight at 7 p.m. at Carson, the freshman and junior varsity football teams tangle at Douglas Wednesday night and the varsity football teams go at it at Douglas Thursday, while the volleyball teams meet up in Carson the same night.
But Monday night was something else.
After battling through an entire season of just not getting that break in the final minutes of its game, the Douglas boys’ soccer team appeared as though it would finally get the ball to bounce its way leading 2-1 with less than 30 seconds remaining at Carson High.
And then the unthinkable happened.
Douglas was called for a foul on a play on the edge of penalty box. Did the foul occur inside the box or outside? The referee awarded Carson a penalty kick and Julio Deleon put the ball just inside the right post to tie the game up.
The goal set off one of the more bizarre chains of events of the entire season, as the final whistle blew a few seconds after the ensuing kick-off.
Carson players began gesturing taunts at the fans packed into Douglas bleachers and Douglas players began shouting at the fans in the Carson bleachers.
“Anytime you have a rivalry, this is what happens,” Carson coach Jason Koop said. “This is what you’ll see, whenever these two teams meet up. Douglas is a good team, everyone played with a lot of emotion, and I know both of our squads will be playing with that same emotion Saturday in the playoffs.”
Oh yeah, the playoffs.
Just hours before kickoff in Carson City, Wooster defeated Reno 2-1, clinching a spot in the playoffs for both the Senators and Tigers. But neither coach revealed the fact to his team until after the game. In the end, Carson (6-4-2) had third-place in the Sierra League and Douglas (6-5-1) fourth-place heading into the Northern 4A Regional Tournament, which begins Saturday at Reed and Carson.
The fire shown from each team in the final two minutes pretty accurately reflected that fact, as each team played as though there would be no tomorrow.
Carson brought up a defender to help apply pressure in the offensive end for the final minute, a tactic which worked to near perfection.
The Senators peppered the Douglas net with shot after shot and somehow, the Tigers kept finding ways to get in the way. A clear with a little more than forty seconds left appeared to seal the game, but Carson was able to dump the ball back in, setting up the foul.
“We changed our strategy a little bit there at the end and it worked,” Koop said. “We put a lot of pressure on them in the last minute and it forced them into committing that error.
“Moving that guy up really sparked us up top.”
Carson took a 1-0 lead midway through the first half on a beautiful shot from Sam Rojas.
Douglas brought sweeper Colten Mellows up in the second half to apply some offensive pressure and Mellows was able to tie the score on a questionable call in the 54th minute. A long clear sprung Mellows loose all alone against Carson keeper Bud Kop. Mellows appeared to be just a step offside, but slipped past the Carson defense, challenged charging goalkeeper for the ball – and directed the ball into the net.
In the 62nd minute, Mellows took a pass from Martin Rubio and put a nice shot into the net to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
Chris Aguilar came up with some big saves for the Tigers down the stretch, especially in the final three or four minutes as Carson was able to put relentless pressure on Douglas in the offensive end.
“We’re glad we’re in the playoffs,” Douglas coach Phil Sheridan said. “We had to win to get that third seed, but it just didn’t work that way.”
Contact Joey Crandall at email@example.com or call 782-5121, ext. 212