Kaitlyn Holmes said last Saturday's regional championship win over Douglas was the biggest game of her life.
"There were so many emotions flowing and they all came together," said Holmes prior to Wednesday's practice. "The biggest thing was beating Douglas after losing twice in the regular season, and winning regionals. I hadn't been in that situation before."
Holmes, who scored six goals and dished out eight assists in helping Carson to a 16-3 record, is about to step onto a bigger stage at 2 p.m. Friday when the Senators meet Pahrump Valley in the 4A state semifinals at Damonte Ranch High School.
Holmes, one of four seniors on the Carson squad, admits that she enters this week with mixed feelings. She's obviously thrilled to be in the state tournament, but she knows this is the last hurrah, and that's a little tough to take.
"It's a little depressing because it's my last year of organized soccer," said Holmes, who is going to attend the University of Nevada. "It would be nice to end the season on a high note. It would be great to win state. It's the only thing left to do.
"I just want to be a student, at least right now. I think I could go somewhere like a JC and play next year, but that's not what I'm looking at. I would probably play intramurals, though."
Carson coach Randy Roser said that Holmes could play at the next level, perhaps as high as Division II.
"It's up to her," Roser said. "A lot of our players come in wanting to play college soccer, but then decide to concentrate on their studies."
Holmes is one of Carson's top all-around players. She's good enough to play anywhere on the field, but has found a home at midfield along with Kenzie Tillitt, Brenda Torres and Kiahna Pimental.
However, because of the success of the goal-scoring of Josilyn Daggs and Tillitt, Holmes often goes unnoticed by people. Don't count Roser in that group. He sings Holmes' praises, and said that on many teams around the league she could be the featured player.
"Her play is at a higher level," Roser said. "She's consistently running, and she controls things on her side of the field. She is very skilled; a very solid player. She's a phenomenal player.
"Kaitlyn is not a flashy player like Kenzie. She has a good feel for the game. She does well at finding the open player."
And, Holmes accepts her complementary role. In fact, she embraces it with open arms. It's a sign of maturity. Holmes knows her value, yet she doesn't mind when her younger teammates get more attention.
"They (Daggs and Tillitt) deserve everything they get," Holmes said. "I'm just the player to make the plays; to get them the ball. It's just my job. I don't like all the attention anyway.
"I try to bring a possessiveness to the team. I try to keep everybody under control. I try to lead by example more than talking. I just try to do the best I can."
The unique thing about Holmes is that she's like the Energizer Bunny on the field. It seems like her motor is constantly in high gear, and it never sputters. Halfbacks are attackers and defenders both, so you have to be able to play the entire field.
"She's very fit," Roser said. "She can run all day long. She can attack when we're on offense, yet get back on defense. It's not a problem running 80-90 yards for her."
Holmes, who plays basketball and also runs track at Carson, credits assistant coach Cassie Carter for helping her stay in shape.
"I've always been pretty fit," Holmes said. "Ever since high school started I've been working with Cassie to be the most fit I can be."
Noon - Douglas girls vs. Manogue
2 p.m. - Pahrump Valley girls vs. Carson
4 p.m. - Hug boys vs. El Dorado
6 p.m. - Legacy boys vs. Galena
Admission: $7 for adults; $5 students; Free for seniors 62 and older, and children 8 and younger