After Tuesday’s thrilling win against Grant, the Davis High boys soccer team found itself banged up and undermanned for Thursday’s game against Laguna Creek.
But that didn’t matter in the Delta Valley Conference contest at Yudin Field, as the Blue Devils used yet another solid performance to stomp out Laguna Creek, 4-0.
The Cardinals (1-11-1, 0-6-1) looked outmatched from the start against DHS (11-4-3, 6-0-1). Just under nine minutes into the game, Devil junior Raunak Manandhar collected a perfectly weighted through ball from Joe Rainer, but pushed the chance just wide of the goal.
But Laguna Creek hardly had a chance to catch its breath before Manandhar redeemed himself just minutes later. Daniel Perez played a left-footed cross on the money, and Manandhar headed it home to put the locals in front 1-0.
It was 2-0 just two minutes later, when Davis’ Rami Rashmawi attempted to flick a pass to Manandhar, but it bounced off a defender back to Rashmawi’s feet. The senior defender powered through the two Cardinal center backs and put the chance away.
It was the first of two goals for Rashmawi, the team’s second leading scorer.
“For me, when I get goals is when I use my speed to get up the line and beat their defense,” Rashmawi said. “But it’s also dependent on my teammates giving me good balls. Really, a lot of our goals are teamwork; it looks like one person, but it’s really a team effort.”
The Blue Devils went on to create several more chances throughout the half, but the players were sometimes a bit too passive in the final third of the field; passing the ball instead of taking a shot. But despite scoring “only” four goals, head coach Alex Park was not concerned with the offensive performance:
“Nah, I’m not too concerned. Watching the Grant game the other night (a 1-0 DHS win), the guys can turn it on, turn it off at any given time. They understand when they have to pick it up, and it’s nice to see.”
And coming out of intermission on Thursday, the Devils showed exactly that, creating four quality chances in five minutes, though none were turned into goals.
In fact, it was Rashmawi who broke through again for Davis, this time in the 52nd minute.
Brian Birt found a huge gap in the Cardinal defense, and his pass hit Rashmawi in stride. From there, Rashmawi took a long touch, performed a fake kick to get the keeper to slide, and tapped the ball into the goal to put the game out of reach.
And Rashmawi still wasn’t done. Just under five minutes later, Rashmawi chested down a lofted ball from Alex Perez and one-touched a pass to a streaking Joe Rainer, who beat the keeper with a simple cut, and completed the Blue Devil scoring for the day.
Next week, the Blue Devils will close out league play by hosting Monterey Trail (3:40 p.m. Tuesday) and traveling to play Elk Grove on Halloween. After the solid performance against the Cardinals, Park only saw one thing that DHS could improve on in the final week before postseason play.
“Health,” Park said. “The bug’s going around, people are getting sick. Staying healthy, hydrated, eat well, sleep and catch up on homework. That way they won’t be freaking out when it’s sections.”
Notes: The Blue Devils outshot Laguna Creek 19-2. … Although the offense was effective, the Devils were caught offside 11 times in the game. … Senior Paul Hinton returned from injury to get his first minutes of the season. … Several injured Davis players — Ajay Klein (ankle), Alex McIntyre (ankle), D.J. Villegas (hip flexor), Ricky Gonzalez and Tim Baxter (hip flexor) — are all expected to be back next week.
— Reach Thomas Oide at firstname.lastname@example.org