After a long, focused practice on Wednesday, the Davis High girls soccer squad came out hitting on all cylinders en route to 2-0 nonleague victory over visiting Vista del Lago on a brisk Thursday evening at Yudin Field.
Disappointed in their 3-0 setback to Rio Americano earlier in the week, the Blue Devils put pressure on the Eagles from the start, ultimately getting all the scoring they needed when Emily Gao netted a 20-yard rocket that settled top-shelf left beyond a disbelieving VDL keeper Shandy Nanomantube 12 minutes in.
With backliners Jenna Farboud, Brooke Palmer, Megan Casey and Kylie Tierney keeping Vista attackers off-balance, DHS wings Clara Goin and Renee Schuman were doing a good job keeping the ball in the Devil zone.
Part way through the first period, Davis coach Sara Stone stuck Meaghan Murphy at forward on the right side. The former midfielder was used sparingly at the position in the Rio loss, but Stone liked what she saw.
On this night, Murphy’s presence paid dividends …
As intermission neared, a driving Sule Sutter was knocked off the ball by Eagle Alyssa Wilson, but Sophia Hernandez was Johnny-on-the-Spot and hammered a shot that Nanomantube barely got an arm on. When the ball trickled out of bounds, Hernandez had earned a DHS corner kick.
After taking the ball to the flag, Hernandez let fly into a covey of Devils. Murphy broke free from her double-team mark and flicked in Davis’ second (and last goal) at 37:58.
Goin had made several terrific passes earlier, but no one was home each time. Twice, DHS took point-blank shots, but directly at the goalie.
Stone saw Murphy’s goal as a sign of improvement and a show of renewed strength from her charges.
“I was really looking for character (Thursday) after Tuesday’s (loss),” Stone told The Enterprise. “We worked hard on Tuesday and weren’t able to capitalize … Rio was just the better team. We had that tough practice … and (Thursday) was a response to the true test of their character.
“We had a lot of depth. The girls that came in — Meaghan (Murphy), Sule Sutter and Renee (Schuman). I think that the girls are hungry to do well at the end of the year and I was proud of them for not giving after Tuesday’s result.”
By halftime, the locals had outshot their Sierra Valley League visitors, 12-3. Overall, Davis showered 23 shots on the Vista nets while the Eagles managed just five.
More than 75 percent of the game was played in Blue Devil territory, but DHS goalie Maddy Purves was asked to make three saves in the first 40 minutes. Madison MacKenzie had one save in her second-half stint.
Coming out blazing after the break, Devils Ju-A Son, Kalani Ratnasiri and Makenzie Delaughder put pressure on Vista del Lago, but to no avail. At 45:43, freshman Gaby Herrera’s corner kick was dead-perfect, but it trickled through an open box devoid of any Davis jerseys.
“That needs to be a goal White,” came the admonishment from Stone on the bench.
Lots of shots but few goals has been the method of operation for the 7-3-1 Blue Devils — but Stone like what she saw in this one, especially from Murphy and Goin:
“Clara was looking to combination with (Murphy) and play the feet. They’re familiar with each other and I thought there were good combinations plays between the two of them.”
Notes: Son was smacked in the head by an errand elbow at 49:14. She fell hard to the turf as school training staff tended to her before she rose and walked off, not to return. Stone reports: “They’re going to check her out (Friday). We’re going to keep her out (of practice), just to be safe.” … Vista del Lago is now 3-3-2. … Next up for DHS is a Tuesday match with Vacaville and next Friday is against West Campus. Both games are in Davis with 7 p.m. starting times.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at email@example.com or 530-747-8047.