Prep Soccer Tournament: Carson 9, West Rowan 0
By Ryan Bisesi
SALISBURY — Carson’s David Garcia may be a senior, but his game is still evolving.
The 5-foot-5, 125-pounder moved from defender to striker over the summer and already showed a tendency to strike the back of the net Tuesday.
Garcia started the season off with four goals in the first half in Carson’s 9-0 win against West Rowan in the Rowan County Soccer Tournament at Salisbury. Carson’s season-opening win put them in the championship game against Salisbury tonight at 7.
“Last season was frustrating for the players because we tried everybody up there to put the ball in the back of the net and were unsuccessful,” Carson coach Noah England said. “David worked hard in the offseason and took it upon himself to be a leader this year.”
The Cougars outshot West 16-1 and dominated play, keeping it in West’s end much of the time.
“We want to play at this level every game no matter what the situation,” England said. “That’s our biggest objective.”
Carson capitalized when West Rowan defender Rodolfo Trujillo was given a red card for stopping a ball headed for the net. The card resulted in a penalty kick that Ivan Hernandez swished for the first goal two minutes into action.
“They’re a good team and we lost a guy early,” West coach Rob King said. “We just got to keep our spirits up.”
Garcia scored his first goal five minutes later, escaping the West back line and walking in to make it 2-0. The second goal came on a through ball that he booted past West goalie Zack Sheppard.
Garcia scored twice in the final minute of the half to put the Cougars up 6-0. With 59 seconds left, Garcia finished a nice maneuver around a defender with a tap to himself and booted it in from close range.
“I saw him come to me so I just hit it and ran,” Garcia said. “I just finished the chances I had.”
The final goal came with two seconds before the horn.
Sophomore Sylvestre Lopez scored a first-half goal and Ricky Maldonado tallied one in the second. Daniel Nova scored twice in the second, including the clincher with 24 minutes left that ended the game due to the new mercy rule.
Carson’s Garrett Owens and Marco Salazar combined in goal for the shutout.
The Cougars fell to Salisbury in the county title game last year and are looking to win their first county championship. Salisbury has won three straight county titles.
“I want to win the county tournament and we’ve got a great chance,” Garcia said.
NOTE: West faces South Rowan today at 5 p.m. in the third-place game.