SPARKS - Even with their much anticipated game against Reed pending, the Carson High girls soccer team still couldn't keep from grieving over the victims associated with the most horrific disaster in the history of the United States.
"We had a moment of silence for them (the victims) before the game," said the Senators' Erin Stieber.
Then Stieber and Carson went out and got revenge on the Raiders, the team that knocked the Senators out of the Northern 4A tournament a year ago, with a 3-2 win on Tuesday at Reed High.
"Our girls were really pumped up for this game, especially after what their coach said after last year," said Senator coach Mike Popp, referring to Reed's Jim Verdi following the Raiders 2-0 win last year in the Northern 4A semifinals.
"We just killed them. It could've been six or seven to nothing," Verdi said.
That wasn't the case last night. In the first half, the Senators jumped out to a 2-0 lead after goals from Ali Banister and Haley Zook. Banister's goal in the opening minutes was her fourth of the season after her hat trick in last week's 4-0 season-opening win over Sparks.
Reed, though, battled back. In the 36th minute, forward Mandy Herald beat three Senator defenders, then did the same to goalie Krissy Rose with a far post shot as Carson went into halftime leading 2-1.
The Raiders had the better scoring chances of the two teams in the first half, but Popp attributed that to adjusting to the absences of four starters, including sweeper Allison Kop. Kop, the Senators' best defender, and forward Erika Landis both rolled their ankles earlier in the week and weren't able to play.
"I'm just really proud of the girls," Popp said. "They did a great job considering we didn't have any subs."
In the second half, Reed got the equalizer it was looking for after Herald's second goal of the game, this one coming in the 42nd minute. Then in the 60th minute, the Raiders appeared to score the go-ahead goal off a corner kick. But the goal was nullified because of an offisides call.
Five minutes later, Stieber did get the game-winning goal, the product of Banister's hard work. After a collision between Banister and the Reed goalie, the ball ended up ricocheting 25 yards from goal. And right in front of an unmarked Stieber, who calmly placed the ball in the net for her first goal of the season.
Another meeting between the two teams may loom in the Northern 4A playoffs once again this year. But when Stieber was asked if she would rather have saved a win over the Raiders for then, she reacted:
"I'd rather just beat them both times," Stieber said. "I love games like this, the real close ones."
Carson returns to Sierra League play on Saturday, when it hosts Reno at 11 a.m. at Carson High.