It seemed like Davis High’s Rachel Foley was still doing pregame shooting drills in the opening minutes of Wednesday’s field hockey matchup against Lassen at Brown Stadium.
Foley, a junior, scored three times in the first five minutes and finished with four goals as the Blue Devils pounded the Grizzlies, 8-0.
Coming off of a lackluster win over Yuba City on Monday, during which DHS (8-1-1, 6-1 Eastern Athletic League) played down to the competition, Wednesday’s was the performance head coach Sandie Marotti-Huckins has been waiting to see from her Devils.
“It was a complete 180 (degree change) from Monday. We finally scored some goals and that’s what we’ve been waiting to do,” Marotti-Huckins told The Enterprise. “I hope this is the turnaround … that we’ll build on it. They played with a lot of energy (Wednesday) and did everything we asked them to so I was very pleased.”
Davis took control from the outset, using a steal near the Lassen goal to get the ball to senior Sara Pinto, who assisted on Foley’s first goal just two minutes into the contest. Less than a minute later, a shot by senior Kelly Ragsdale rebounded right to a crashing Foley, who made it 2-0.
Moments later, Pinto — who finished with a goal and two assists — set up another Foley tally and the locals led 3-0 with just under five minutes gone by.
“We had most of our players get on the goalkeeper, we had almost our whole offense in the circle … so it was just shots on shots on shots and eventually the ball went into the cage,” Foley said. “It was just right place, right time (for me). I just tried to angle it so I would send it to the corner … where the goalkeeper couldn’t get it.”
The Blue Devils peppered the Grizzly goalie with 23 shots — 12 in the opening half — while Lassen could not manage even one legitimate chance.
After the initial scoring flurry, DHS kept the pressure on, but used a more deliberate approach.
“Instead of just going hard, hard, hard, which is a lot of passing and it’s really fast-paced … we dribbled the ball more and sent it outside and down the wings,” Foley explained. “It’s just a slower game that is more about possession.”
Still, less than 10 minutes before halftime, senior Natalie Silver set up Amy Reed, whose shot put the Devils up 4-0. Pinto’s goal then made it 5-0 at intermission.
Following the break, Davis was able to use the second half to experiment with different lineup combinations.
“We subbed a lot of people in and moved some people around to try people at different positions in case we have injuries,” Marotti-Huckins said.
But the scoring barely slowed down as Silver converted on a deep shot with just over 20 minutes left and Foley’s fourth goal came off a corner with 4:57 remaining. Sophomore Hannah Denton got the assist.
As time expired, the Blue Devils earned another corner. Though the clock showed 0:00, the rules allowed DHS to attempt to score and the game would end if Lassen cleared the ball out of the box or the Devils found the cage.
Senior Elizabeth Leshuk opted for the later scenario, finishing the contest by sending the ball in for Davis’ eighth goal.
“Our two corners at the end were probably the best two we’ve had all season,” Marotti-Huckins said.
Next up for the locals is a road match at Pleasant Valley on Monday before River Valley comes to town on Wednesday.
Note: Friday, Oct. 4, is another date to watch as the Blue Devils will host Chico, their biggest league rival and the team DHS is competing with for an EAL title. That night is a Play 4 the Cure event, with the players wearing pink uniforms and the Devils using the game to raise money for breast cancer research and awareness. With the Davis football team having a bye that week, the field hockey squad is hoping for a record-breaking crowd to watch a key matchup and contribute to a good cause.