It rained Tuesday afternoon in Davis.
Sure, the only precipitation was on the brow of Elk Grove netminder Braeden Henderson, but there were nonetheless showers — of soccer balls by the host Blue Devils.
When the clouds cleared over Yudin Field, DHS’ new tornado-like attack had razed The Thundering Herd, 6-0, in a Delta Valley Conference boys soccer match.
Going to a 4-3-3 alignment with Alex Hearn, Collin Holtz and Cameron Cuvelier up front for much of the first half, the Devils poured down a season-high 43 shots in running their record to 9-4-3 overall and 4-0-1 in DVC play.
Elk Grove fell to 2-9-1 and 1-4 in league.
“I was pleased with our energy and heart,” DHS interim coach Alex Park said afterward. “(The changes) resulted in our highest goal count this season and hopefully this will continue over to Franklin.”
Davis will host the Wildcats on Thursday, and DVC games are now starting at 3:30 p.m.
Early on Tuesday, Park saw his new configuration pound like storm waters on The Herd net, but it wasn’t until Paul Hinton’s blast (off of a nifty flick from Holtz) that the dam broke.
After Hinton’s goal halfway through the first period, Blue Devils Ian Soffos, D.J. Villegas and Hinton again all took shots within an 80-second span. Elk Grove’s Braeden Henderson was Spider-Man in goal for two of those shots and, for the moment, held DHS to the 1-0 advantage.
But Hinton was playing his best game as a varsity cast member and, at 32:19, the only way The Grove knew how to stop him was to tackle him in the box.
Of course, that’s illegal in soccer. The foul resulted in a penalty kick, which was a no-brainer for U16 national team forward Villegas. Still — with 21 shots taken before halftime — Davis figured it should have had more than a 2-0 lead.
That frustration all changed in the final 40 minutes …
With Rami Rashmawi’s corner kick initiating a sequence of events, Kian Bagheri’s deflected shot settled near Holtz, who made it 3-0.
Moments later, Alex Herman was unlucky as his blast hit the crossbar. Then, Cuvelier and Soffos had shots rejected by an acrobatic Henderson.
From the What Goes Around, Comes Around Department: a hard foul against Bagheri gave DHS a direct kick from 35 yards out. Taken by Villegas, the centered ball first bounced off the heads of Alex Perez and Alexander Nelson before, you guessed it, Bagheri used his noggin and netted the ball.
Holtz then worked a give-and-go with Villegas, resulting in a defensive deflection that allowed a poaching Bagheri to score his second goal.
At the opposite end of the field, Elk Grove striker Noah Vitorelo was the Invisible Man. A combination of Jacob Rutheiser, Perez, Nelson, Connor Anderson and Rashmawi stifled the high-scoring junior.
In fact, Vitorelo didn’t get off a shot until 67:52 — and it was Elk Grove’s first of only two.
As Park substituted freely, moved starters around (for example, back-liner Rutheiser played at forward) and encouraged his troops to keep the pressure on, the Devils managed six more shots in the final nine minutes. One of those, a one-touch blast by Alex McIntyre on a poor clearance by The Herd, engraved the final score at 6-0.
Park believes scrambling his lineup late will build confidence and he praised the play of Soffos, Hinton, Villegas, Holtz and Bagheri for plugging a big hole on Tuesday with defender Lee LeVerrier (back, eye infection) out.
“That’s tough losing someone like Lee,” Park said, adding: “We had a lot of guys pick it up (Tuesday). We haven’t had a fun game for a long time. I can’t remember the last one we had. It’s a good one to have after Saturday.”
Park was alluding to a 4-0 setback to visiting Jesuit, ranked No. 5 nationally.
“I thought again (Tuesday) we showed heart,” Park said, smiling.
Notes: After Franklin on Thursday, the Blue Devils travel to Grant for a game Tuesday (7 p.m.) that could decide the DVC championship. The Pacers are 11-2-1 and tied with Davis atop the league standings. On Sept. 27, the two schools battled to a 0-0 deadlock. … Park says LeVerrier could be back by Thursday “but certainly in time for the Grant game.” … Derek Pleasants (first half) and Jesus Gutierrez shared Devil goalkeeping duties, with Gutierrez clearly having the better game — he touched the ball twice. … Davis has set an unsubstantiated section record: including their coach, DHS has six members named Alex.
— Enterprise staff writer Brett Johnson contributed to this story.