Wednesday’s first-round game of the North Coast Section girls lacrosse tournament probably will be the last time this season that Davis High will have a relatively stress-free night.
The fourth-seeded Blue Devils coasted by 13th-seeded Dublin, 16-4, at Ron & Mary Brown Stadium, but now face a more daunting matchup with No. 5 seed Monte Vista. The second-round game will be Friday (7 p.m.) on Halden Field.
“We have to play our best. We can’t have sloppy play (against Monte Vista),” said DHS head coach Jennifer Morris. “They’re excited for it. They like the challenge.”
The Devils were in control from the start against the Gaels, running up a 9-0 lead during the first 12:23 of the game.
“We played very smart, exactly how we needed to play,” Morris said.
Early on, DHS bottled up Dublin on its side of the field, using a combination of successful face-offs, hustle after ground balls, and intercepted down-field passes by taller midfielders like Monica Berry and Erin Chavanne. The good defense forced the Gaels back on their heels and far from threatening the Blue Devil goal.
“Our midfield was very strong and that always makes a big difference in the game (when) you’re keeping the ball on your end longer and you give yourself more chances,” Morris said. “We have great height on our team. We have a group that are small and good at ducking under and a group that are tall and great at taking passes away from people.”
On the rare occasion that Dublin did get near the Davis goal, first-half goalkeeper Kelly Richmond recorded three saves, while surrendering just two goals.
“She shut down the few opportunities that they had, and that’s always helpful if your goalie can get a couple of key saves,” Morris said. “Even though it might not seem like much, it can give the rest of your team more confidence to take more chances in the midfield, to go for more interceptions. You don’t have to play as tight, you can get a little riskier.”
The Devils scored their first points when Mari Cajandig’s goal was set up by an acrobatic interception by Berry at midfield. Moments later, Kylie Drexel slashed diagonally to the goal and scored off a pass from Lauren Blackwell.
Blackwell then found Ashley Pugh cutting down the middle for another goal.
By the time Caron Miller scored, off a pass from Laurel Darragh, DHS had taken a 9-0 lead. Later, after goals by Cajandig, Christina Son and Berry, the Blue Devils entered halftime ahead 12-2.
In the second half, Davis continued to pull away behind the defense of goalkeeper Briki Cajandig.
Her sister Mari Cajandig added three more goals after the break to pace the Devils, who saw 10 different players score.
There was a scary moment near the end of the game, when a Dublin player limped off the field after a collision, then lay on her back as trainers administered care. After the game ended, paramedics, along with an ambulance and two fire trucks, were called to the scene. She was diagnosed with a concussion.