Yet again on Tuesday, the Davis High girls soccer team used a stellar defensive performance from its back line to earn a shutout. But this time — unlike last week’s scoreless tie against Will C. Wood — the Blue Devils actually found the net as two timely goals from Gabby Herrera got them past Rocklin 2-0.
The contest started off slowly, with both teams struggling to control the middle of Yudin Field, forcing each other into several turnovers apiece.
After DHS (7-2-1) settled down and got into its ball-possession offense, opportunities came easily.
Midway through the half, Herrera played a perfectly lofted ball to Kalani Ratnasiri, who took a great touch and found herself one-on-one with the Thunder goalkeeper. Ratnasiri tried to perform a chip shot, but the ball deflected off the Rocklin keeper’s back and bounced just wide of the far post.
The Devils quickly generated another opportunity after Ratnasiri’s near-goal. Through effective local teamwork, junior Brooke Palmer sent a beautiful wall pass to a waiting Herrera, who was just outside the 18-yard box.
Herrera turned the defender on her back, performed a fake shot to get the next defender in the air, and curved a wind-aided shot into the bottom corner of the goal.
Just before halftime, Davis sophomore forwards Jaha McClean and Suleika Sutter were able to create a chance due to careless defending by the Thunder (1-1-1).
McClean received the ball after a corner kick clearance and, unbeknownst to the Rocklin defense, Sutter was streaking behind them. Sutter received the ball 20 yards out from the goal, but her effort ended up going right in the keeper’s hands, keeping the Blue Devil lead at 1-0 at intermission.
Just like in the opening period, the beginning of the second half was a struggle for the midfield. The DHS back line of seniors Megan Casey, Jenna Farboud and Kylie Tierney and sophomore Olivia Haass stamped out any chances the Thunder could create before they fully developed.
“I’m most pleased with our back line,” said Blue Devil coach Sara Stone. “I think they’re really organized and they’re keeping their shape really well.
“You can’t play offense until you play defense, I’m a firm believer in that. They (the defense) make everyone look better around them.”
The strong Davis defense allowed the offense to struggle for a while, but 10 minutes into the half, sophomore forward Sophia Hernandez electrified the crowd by rocketing a Cristiano Ronaldo-esque shot that just missed the goal.
Later, after one of the Devils’ corner kicks, the Thunder attempted a counterattack. But sophomore defender Renee Schumann stuffed a Rocklin ball-handler at midfield, beat two defenders and sent a low cross to a waiting Herrera, who put away her second tally of the day.
Though that would end the scoring, the locals had a chance for several more goals. They generated nine corner kicks and took 12 shots in the contest.
“We’ve been trying to work on those opportunities, whether it’s a corner kick or a cross that we’re not finishing,” Stone said. “The great teams are able to capitalize on those situations. So we’ll continue to work on that and maybe fine-tune who’s gonna be where in the box when those situations happen.”