Coming off of a tough loss in its Delta Valley Conference opener at Franklin last week, the Davis High girls soccer team had plenty of motivation for Monday’s game against visiting Laguna Creek.
And, riding another strong defensive performance, the Blue Devils conquered the Cardinals, 2-0, in gusty conditions at Yudin Field.
DHS (9-4-1, 1-1) set the tone early, when senior Makenzie Delaughder played a curving ball to a flying Sophia Hernandez. The sophomore’s shot deflected off of a Laguna Creek defender and landed at the feet of Kalani Ratnasiri, but traveled directly into the hands of the keeper.
After Ratnasiri’s near goal, the wind become a factor, negatively affecting the Devil game plan. With the back line of the Cardinals (1-5-3, 1-1-1) staying flat, DHS tried to play balls over the top.
Mother Nature, however, wasn’t cooperating. In wind-free weather, the local passes would have been accurate, but with 20 mile-per-hour gusts of wind behind their through balls, they sailed 2-3 yards too far.
This led to several offside calls, a problem that would torment Davis all afternoon.
The situation caused Blue Devil coach Sara Stone to make a tactical change, going from her normal 4-4-2 formation to a 3-5-2, then finally settling on a 3-4-3. The different formation had center back Jenna Farboud coming up to play center forward and sophomore Olivia Haass moving to left midfield, leaving the defensive responsibilities to Megan Casey, Kylie Tierney and Renee Schumann.
“I was just trying to change things up a bit, so that I’m prepared later down the line if we’re faced with injuries or depending on what type of team we’re playing,” Stone explained.
But the change paid dividends on Monday as Delaughder played a cross to sophomore forward Jaha McClean, who nearly found the net with a chip that went just over the goal.
Eventually, it was Farboud who provided the spark that the DHS offense needed. The senior captain received the ball with two defenders on her back, used her cat-like quickness to split them and was able to fire a shot on goal.
That attempt hit the crossbar, but Farboud would not be denied. With the half coming to a close, she got a pass from Hernandez at the top of the 18-yard box and found herself in a similar situation as her previous opportunity. This time, Farboud turned to face the three defenders, beat all three with one move, then got into a one-on-one with the keeper. When she slammed the ball into the top shelf of the net, it put the Devils up 1-0 at intermission.
“Jenna’s obviously very crafty,” Stone said. “(She) does very well with the ball at her feet, but she’s so solid on the back …. we don’t want to lose her on the back.”
The Davis offense came out firing in the second half, sending a barrage of shots at the LCHS goalkeeper, and Hernandez finally put the game away. She took a pass from Ratnasiri, beat two defenders on the dribble, and hammered home her shot from six yards out.
Notes: The Devils took 25 shots but converted just the two. … Next up for DHS is a stretch of two DVC games in two days. The Blue Devils play at Monterey Trail on Wednesday, then host Grant on Thursday at 7 p.m.