In the second half of Davis HighÕs home game against Elk Grove on Thursday, the Blue Devil soccer attackers suddenly realized they had been held without a goal for 200 minutes of game time.
DHS ended that streak with two late goals and won a Delta Valley Conference match, 2-0, over the Thundering Herd at Yudin Field.
The scoreless stretch, which had lasted the final 62 minutes against Jesuit on Saturday and went through a victory at Monterey Trail on Tuesday because Davis won 1-0 on an own goal, ended when Ryan Gross finally found the net on Thursday. Matt Austin scored the other goal as the Devils improved to 15-3 on the season.
Elk Grove used a defensive style of play, pulling as many as nine of its 11 players back to protect the goal, but DHS was eventually able to penetrate.
The Blue Devils controlled the ball for much of the first half, but came away with only seven unsuccessful shots on goal. Sophomore keeper Derek Pleasants was challenged just once in that time, and made an easy save.
Davis was able to thread the needle and actually passed the ball quite well, but because of the HerdÕs pack-the-box strategy it was tough to get near the goal.
The game picked up quite a bit in the second half, and DHS had an opportunity to score early when Cyrus Ghaffari drove to the top of the penalty box and fired off a shot, but Elk GroveÕs keeper made a sliding save. Shortly after, Blue Devil goalie Eric Anderson one-upped his counterpart when he dove and knocked away what looked to be a sure breakaway goal, keeping the game scoreless.
ÒWithout that (play) … itÕs a 1-0 game and theyÕve got the adrenaline,Ó DHS head coach Ashley Yudin said. ÒThat save may have saved the game for us.Ó
Late in the second half, Davis finally broke through. After drawing a foul, Ghaffari booted the ball toward the goal, where Elk GroveÕs keeper seemed to have a play. Instead, it was Gross who deflected the ball into an open area of the goal to put the Devils on top.
Minutes later, Hayato Kawaguchi sent a long cross toward Austin at the top of the box. Austin made a quick fake to the right to free himself from a defender, then sent a rocket into the bottom left corner of the net. That goal gave DHS a 2-0 advantage, which would stand until the final whistle.
Yudin was not particularly concerned with his teamÕs offensive drought, noting that both Elk Grove and Monterey Trail Òplayed behind the ball. ItÕs harder to try and penetrate when they put nine guys back.Ó
Notes: Davis plays 11-2 Franklin on Tuesday, a team Yudin called Òour big rival in the conference.Ó Both DHS and Franklin are 3-0 in DVC play this year. … Devil forward Dylan West drew two yellow cards against Elk Grove resulting in his ejection and suspension for the game against Franklin. … The Blue Devils outshot the Thundering Herd, 12-2.