RENO -- There's nothing like a loss to put things in perspective.
After reeling off 10 consecutive wins to start the season, the Carson High boys soccer team suffered its first defeat of the season, 2-0 to Reno on Wednesday at Foster Field.
The Senators have beaten everyone thought to challenge them this season. Sierra League opponents in South Tahoe and Reno. Non-league teams in Galena and Reed, the defending Nevada 4A State Champions.
But you play every league team twice. And first-year Carson coach Jim Nealis said his players didn't want to believe that the Huskies were capable of beating them, even though the Senators only edged Reno 3-2 earlier this season. His players thoughts were on something grander.
"Yesterday (Tuesday) in practice, the guys were talking about going undefeated," Nealis said. "We were definitely unprepared for this game and it showed today."
Both Husky goals came late.
In the 66th minute, Chris Madsen converted a penalty kick after Carson's Jesus Cid was called for tripping forward Jorge Cubero in the box. Then in 75th minute, Cubero put the game away after slicing through the entire Senator defense, then touching the ball around goalie Sean Carter, which left a wide-open net for an easy goal. Cubero nearly did the same thing at the end of the first half, but his shot bounced off the post for a goal kick.
"Reno has a couple of fast players and they were the ones who hurt us," Nealis said. "Reno was the better team today. We didn't play well. Hopefully, we can play them again."
Nealis is, of course, hinting at a possible Northern 4A playoff match up between the two teams. Carson (7-1 league) still leads the Sierra League with 21 points while Reno (6-2-1) is in second place, two points back of the Senators with 19 points. South Tahoe (6-2) beat North Valleys 2-1 on Wednesday and is in third place with 18 points. Douglas (4-3-1) is in fourth place with 13 points.
The top four teams from each league qualify for the zone playoffs.
"This loss takes a lot of pressure off us," Nealis said. "If we went into the zone playoffs undefeated, where a loss ends your season, the pressure might have been tough for us to deal with. I wish we could've won but if we can learn from it and become a better team because of it, this loss could be a good thing."
The Senators best chance of the game came in the first half when Kirkwood Harris' 25-yard blast struck the crossbar. In injury time, Harris nearly connected with Christian Losche in front of the Reno goal, but Losche couldn't knock it in. Other than that, Carson never seriously threatened the Reno defense.
"We can always be beaten, but we thought we couldn't," Harris said. "I guess it could help us (losing), but you never want to lose. I think we started to relax a little bit, so we need to keep stepping it up. We definitely didn't play our best today."
The first-place Senators travel to Reno on Saturday for a 3 p.m. game against North Valleys.
Carson JV 3, Reno 1
Ernesto Ayala scored a pair of goals and Chris Thorson scored the other as the Senators got past the Huskies. Goalie Robby Liebherr led the Carson defense.