The Carson High boys soccer team has a message to the rest of the Northern 4A-bring it on.
The Senators have already taken down defending Nevada 4A State Champion, Reed, earlier this week. And on Saturday, Jesse Steele's game-winning goal with just over a minute left in regulation lifted Carson to a 3-2 win over Reno, one of two teams thought to have a chance at keeping the Senators from winning the Sierra League championship.
South Tahoe, also undefeated, is the other. Carson (4-0) plays at Douglas on Wednesday before a showdown between the Senators and Vikings next Saturday afternoon in South Lake Tahoe. But the Carson players still know that it can do some thing special things this year, regardless of it wins or loses that game.
"In our minds, we've already proven ourselves," said Steele, whose goal against the Huskies was his first of the season. "But we're not looking ahead to state right now. We're just taking it one game at a time."
The Senators won big-school state championships in 1998 and '94. And with the Raiders winning state last year, a Northern Nevada team has now won two of the past three state championships.
But if more championships are in store for Carson, whether it be league, region, or state, yesterday's game showed what it has to do and what it can't do. For most of the game, the Senators were in control, possessing the ball far more than Reno. The Huskies, meanwhile, played more direct, hoping for counter attacks and Carson mistakes, so their few skilled players could capitalize.
Kavan Lynn was that player for Reno (3-1).
Within the first few minutes of the game, Lynn ran down a long ball out of the back, and brushed it past Senator goalie Sean Carter. Carson's Carlos Hernandez, who scored the game-winning goal against Raiders, tied it at 1 with his second goal of the season in the 43rd minute, off an assist from Eric Libby.
Just after Hernandez' goal, the Huskies' Dominic Licata was ejected after one of several fouls he grew accustomed to committing throughout the game. Down to 10 players, Reno took control, and Lynn scored the go-ahead goal of a direct kick, which beat Carter to the far post.
"We had a lapse in our defensive coverage and they put one behind us (the first goal)," said first-year coach Jim Nealis. "But I'm really happy with the way our guys responded (to their second goal). For the first time all season, I think we the passed the ball well for all 80 minutes."
After two great scoring chances by Jesus Cid were denied by goalie Dane Meier, that passing finally paid off as the Senators finally got their equalizer in the 56th minute. Christian Losche threaded a through ball for Landon Roser, who tucked it past Meier. Then came Steele's goal in the 79th minute. After a mix up in the box, Steele ran onto a loose ball and placed the ball into the side netting for the game winner.
Steele said his goal was justice served because he thought Carson was the better team, even though in soccer that doesn't always mean that teams wins.
"We dominated today and the goals they score, those happen sometimes," Steele said. "They only had two really strong players and we knew that if we could shut them down, we'd be all right."