MINDEN - Following most of the Douglas High boys soccer games this year, coach Phil Sheridan hasn't came away feeling positive about his Tigers. After all, Douglas hasn't won a game since a season-opening win over Elko, its best result since then being a tie against Hug.
But after Wednesday's 1-0 loss to Carson at Douglas High, Sheridan feels his team might be heading in the right direction.
"I thought we were competitive (against Carson). We didn't do a good job in the final third, but we had our opportunities." Sheridan said of the Tigers offense. "But this was our best effort of the season. Hey, this is still just the first half of the season and the kids are still positive. We're going to win some games."
A much different tone, no doubt, from Sheridan, even though he saw his team's Sierra League record fall to 0-2-1 with yesterday's loss to the Senators.
Carson coach Jim Nealis, meanwhile, was displeased with his team's effort.
"I was happy with the win, but I wish my team would've came out with more intensity," Nealis said. "But we had some injured and sick players, and so did they, so maybe that had something to do with it. But it was a real lackadaisical game."
In the 32nd minute, the Senators' Joel Alcaraz scored his second goal of the season, a beautiful left-footed blast to the far post. At first, it didn't look like Alcaraz' goal would be the only one, as both teams created many scoring chances throughout the first half.
Douglas' Chris Honer appeared to score the equalizer towards the end of the first half. A deflected shot out of the midfield landed in front of Honer, who put it away, but a questionable offsides call negated the goal. The call almost proved consequential, besides the obvious, because Carson's Christian Losche almost put the Senators (5-0, 3-0) up 2-0 a few minutes later. But his shot was saved by goalie Chase Zumpft and then cleared away by a Tiger defender.
In the second half, neither team threatened one another's goal.
"I don't think either team showed up to to play, it just didn't look either of us were prepared," Nealis said. "It was just one of those games. I wish it would've been more of an intense game It's tough to come up with positives in a game like this but I understand we weren't at full strength, and neither were they."
The Senators' John Shorrock missed the game because of a knee injury and several players, including goalie Sean Carter, have battled the flu this week, which limited their playing time. Nealis hopes to be healthier for Saturday's game against undefeated South Tahoe. But Nealis didn't think his team overlooked the Tigers in anticipation for this weekend's game against the Vikings.
"I don't think that had much to do with it because the players didn't really mention it in practice this week," Nealis said. "That's not to say some of the players were thinking ahead. But our players were focused on Douglas and we got the result we wanted today. But we didn't improve any since the Reno game with this performance."
As for Douglas (1-3-1, 0-2-1), it travels to Reno on Saturday for game against the Huskies. The Tigers haven been without several starters, none of the absences as crucial as Chris Bargman, who's missed the first half of the season because of a hamstring injury. Sheridan thinks Bargman, the team's best scoring threat, should be ready to play on Saturday against Reno. But if not, Sheridan still feels his team can pull out victories.
"I'm trying to tell the kids that we can still win some of these games without being at full force," Sheridan said.