Enterprise staff writer
There is no rule that says soccer goals have to be aesthetically pleasing or even intentional to count.
They just have to go in the net.
Matt Austin broke a halftime tie with an intended cross that floated into the far post and Hyato Kawaguchi clinched the victory with a mishit that did the same, as the Davis High boys topped Del Oro, 4-1, on Wednesday at Yudin Field. Chuy Herrera and Cyrus Ghaffari also added goals for the Blue Devils, who scored three times in the second half.
ÒIt doesnÕt really matter how they go in as long as they go in,Ó said DHS assistant coach David Robertson. ÒWe knew they had a makeshift goalkeeper and that he was unpolished so we just wanted to send in a lot of crosses.Ó
Though the Blue Devils (8-2) dominated the game, outshooting the Golden Eagles 21-2, it was Del Oro (1-6) that got on the board first in the eighth minute. A ball was played through to forward Kolby Mitnick, who touched the ball past DHS goalkeeper Erik Anderson, then slid it into the net at a tough angle from the left side of the goal.
But it didnÕt take long for Herrera to provide the Blue DevilsÕ answer. Less than three minutes later, Quinn Kesser passed to Herrera on the left side of the field and the defender first-timed a shot with the outside of his right foot from almost 30 yards out, curling it into the upper corner of the near post.
That was all DHS would manage in the first half, though it wasnÕt for a lack of effort. As the half went on, the Blue Devils began to control the ball and the flow of play, and Max Flye, Jacob Weiss and Ghaffari all had shots saved by Eagles goalkeeper Sean Lee in the last 10 minutes.
The closest the Devils came was when Flye hurled a long throw toward the goal and Ghaffari headed it in the goal. The referee, however, ruled that the ball had already crossed the line when Ghaffari touched it and a throw-in must be touched by someone from either team before going into the net for it to count.
Robertson said Flye has scored three times this year on throw-ins that have touched the goalkeeper and gone in.
ÒIn the first half they came out ready to play,Ó Robertson said. ÒWe were a little sluggish early and the (Del Oro) goal was a good wake-up call.Ó
The momentum that Davis had built late in the first half carried through the intermission, with DHS head coach Ashley Yudin hoping to jump-start the offense by adding a third forward to the mix.
Only 38 seconds into the second half, the Blue Devils took the lead for good when Austin floated a high cross toward the far post that Lee misjudged and had to watch fall into the side netting. Nine minutes later, Ghaffari doubled the advantage by knocking the ball in from a couple of yards out after a pair of failed clears from the Golden Eagles.
Kawaguchi then sealed the victory for DHS in the 68th minute. The ball came off the side of his right foot and sailed right over LeeÕs head and into the goal Ñ perfectly placed but certainly, judging by the smile on KawaguchiÕs face afterward, not intentional.
ÒThey had been playing nine men behind the ball but once we got the second goal, they had to change how they played,Ó Robertson said. ÒWe felt pretty comfortable after that.Ó
Up next for the Blue Devils is a road game against Napa on Friday. DHS has three more nonleague games Ñ it also faces Lincoln and Dixon Ñ before opening Delta Valley Conference play against new league foe Grant on Sept. 28.
Ñ Reach Conor Tekautz at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 747-8049. Comment on this story or check out The Enterprise sports blog at www.davisenterprise.com