Reed was unfazed by a two-goal deficit at halftime. The Raiders rallied to force a 2-2 deadlock and earned a tie by the same score in a crossover league affair. The match marked just the second time this fall Carson (9-0-2) had failed to post a win.
The tie allowed Reed (5-4-2) to snap out of a recent tailspin that included a three-game losing skid.
"We talked after the loss Tuesday at Reno that this was about character, not soccer," Reed coach Jason Saville said. "To come back from down to goals against a great team like Carson, we found out today what the character of this team is."
Carson sophomore Karla Reyes tallied the first goal of the match when she took a pass from Senators teammate Emmy Heller and drilled a shot into the Reed net at the 15-minute mark.
The Senators wasted no time extending their edge. Just a minute later, senior Michelle Sandage scored an unassisted goal for Carson and the guests had a 2-0 advantage.
From there, the Reed defense settled back in and stopped the bleeding, leaving the scoreboard to read 2-0 at halftime.
"We were pressing and dominating in the first half and then they got a goal. That kind of rattled us and they got another one," Saville said. "We got into halftime and settled in. It was disappointing to be playing the way we were and still be down two goals."
The Reed offense came to life in the second half. It didn't take long after the intermission for the Raiders to cut into Carson's lead. In the 44th minute, Reed's Kennady Whitehead beat the Senators defense for an unassisted goal and the score was 2-1.
It looked like Carson might still get away with the win. Neither team scored for the next 20-plus minutes, but Reed wasn't about to leave with a loss. In the 68th minute, Reed was awarded a penalty kick and Whitehead cashed in, burying the freebie in the Senators' net and knotting score at two goals apiece.
"We didn't play our game," Carson coach Greg Lehman said. "We didn't step up. We let this get away from us ... We were up 2-0, but Reed did what it had to do to get the tie. When you're up two goals, it would've been nice to get the win; so yes a tie is frustrating.
"We got a little sloppy. We just weren't as intense. We knew how good Reed was, but we didn't have our 'A' game. And if you don't bring that, anyone can play with you."
Reed, which was also playing without two key players -- all-league candidates Vanessa Arzaluz and Katelynn Raatz, nearly stole a win. In the 78th minute, Reed's Kendra Bujnovsky sent a high-arcing corner kick into the middle of the Carson defensive box, but no Raiders could control the cross and get off a clean shot.
Shortly thereafter, in stoppage time, Reed freshman Lindsay Marsh corralled a loose ball in the Carson box and got a clean look at the Senators' net but she sent a shot just inches wide, keeping the tie intact.
"In the end, we were patient and looking to connect passes instead of just banging balls. We went after 50-50 balls. In our recent losses, we had been getting beat on 50-50 balls. Those hurt us. Today we showed the hunger and desire of a team that can use this as a springboard to right our ship.
"It's not about the first three games or the middle three games. It's about the last three games," Saville said. "It's nice to be undefeated but you have to peak at the right time. I want us to keep getting better and peak in the playoffs."
Reed is in action again Tuesday when it hosts Hug at 7 p.m.