Carson High boys soccer coach Jim Nealis has mixed feelings about going into the Northern 4A playoffs undefeated, a very real possibility.
"You always think about going into the playoffs undefeated," Nealis said. "But you know that once you get there, a loss ends it for you. So sometimes you would like to get that loss out of the way, but you never want to lose, either."
Nealis didn't have anything to worry about on Wednesday against winless Wooster. Eight different Carson players scored in a 8-0 win over the Colts at Carson High. But it wasn't the goals that pleased Nealis. For the first time since a 3-1 win over the South Tahoe, the Senators (9-0 overall, 7-0 league) didn't play down to their competition.
"This was the first game we've played up to our ability since the South Tahoe game," Nealis said. "That's our biggest problem right now, getting up for every game. I think the important thing is not playing down to the other team's level. It's frustrating as a coach when that happens. You just rack your brain about it because if we don't show up to play, we can be beaten by anybody."
Wooster wasn't going to be that team. But Carson's next game, Saturday at 1 p.m. against Galena, it's quite possible that its first loss might come. The Grizzlies are also undefeated and on top of the High Desert League, setting up what could be a preview of the Northern 4A championship.
"They (Galena) are one of the top teams in their league, so it should be a good game," Nealis said. "It's just a matter of us coming prepared to play."
Against the Colts (0-9, 0-7) every player on the roster was prepared. Every healthy player saw extensive playing time and the starters were allowed to rest most of the game. One player who didn't play was John Shorrock, who broke his wrist on Monday during weight training. Nealis said it's disappointing that the Senators will be without Shorrock, but getting him back for the zone tournament is more important.
"We're really going to miss him because he's such a high energy player," said Nealis about the senior midfielder, who currently has a cast up past his elbow. "And it won't be for two weeks until he finds out if he can get a cast under the elbow, so we'll have to wait and see. But we definitely miss not having in there."
Joel Alcaraz and Jesus Cid each had a goal and an assist against Wooster. So did reserves Luis Rodriguez and Josh Greenspan, who scored their goals late in game. Defenders Landon Roser and Kirkwood Harris both scored first-half goals, along with Andrew James. Even backup goalie Tony Nunez scored on a penalty kick in the 55th minute, which made it 5-0.
"It's nice to have games like his when everyone gets to play," Nealis said. "Also, so many people can score on this team. But the biggest thing the past two games was we just weren't playing up to our ability. If we show up to play, we should be able to win the Sierra League."
Carson JVs 11, Wooster 0
Nine different players scored for the Senators, including Valente Duarte, Ben Peterson, and John Akerley, who scored their first goals of the season.
The Carson defense, led by Daniel Berger, Daniel Pascual, Brian Arce, and Julio DeLeon, controlled much of the game. The Senators JVs play Galena on Saturday.