Senators deny Douglas title bid
With the Sierra League championship hanging in the balance on Tuesday, opportunity presented itself to the Carson High girls soccer team early in the second half.
And Isabella Wakeling was right there to capitalize with a goal in the 44th minute that helped propel the Senators to a 2-0 victory against arch rival Douglas on a cool and overcast afternoon.
Nahim Gutierrez Flores added an insurance goal in the 76th minute as Carson (13-3 league, 13-3-1 overall) knocked off Douglas (11-3-2, 13-4-3) to clinch the league championship and the league’s No. 1 seed into the Northern Division I Region Tournament.
Douglas, the Sierra League’s No. 3 seed, opens the postseason Monday night with a 6:30 p.m. game against No. 2 High Desert League seed Reed in Sparks.
Oh, by the way, the Senators and Tigers could possibly end up playing again in the semifinals on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at North Valleys High School in Reno.
“We’ll just have to get on a bus now and see where they take us,” Douglas coach Werner Christen said. “We just have to do the old turn the page thing and see what happens.”
Carson held a one-point lead over the four-time defending league champion Tigers in the standings coming into the regular season-ending contest. Douglas defeated Carson 2-1 in an earlier meeting on Oct. 10. The Tigers came into Tuesday riding a five-game win streak.
“Douglas is fast and physical and Werner does a great job with them,” Carson coach Greg Lehman said of the Tigers. “We knew we were going to be in for a good, tough game.”
Statistically speaking, the two rivals played evenly. Carson enjoyed a 9-8 edge in shots and both goalkeepers — Carson senior Samantha Bishop and Douglas freshman Jordan Smith gathered in three saves each.
“Give them all the credit,” Christen said of the Senators. “They played great. They deserved to win this thing and they deserved to win the league. We played on our heels a little bit in the second half and they took advantage of it. They were the more aggressive team.”
Carson broke up the scoreless duel when Molly Otto chipped a ball to the near post that was initially stopped. The ball glanced back up in the air and Wakeling capitalized with a shot into the net.
“We were down in the corner trying to get a service, the ball came back out to her on the outside and she just put it back in front of the goal,” Lehman said of Otto’s assist. “We had people in the box in scoring position and Bella was able to finish it.”
Gutierrez Flores blasted in a direct free kick from about 20 yards out to extend the lead to 2-0.
Douglas received solid play from its defensive line in the final 22 minutes, including plays by Hannah Mora, Sydney Woodward and Baylee Robinson that prevented the Senators from getting open shots on the goal.