The Davis High girls soccer team only needed Sophia Hernandez’s 17th-minute headed goal to win its Delta Valley Conference match against Grant on Monday night at Yudin Field.
But thanks to a new formation, and quality games from multiple players, the Blue Devils (12-3-3, 4-1-2 DVC) added seven insurance goals to Hernandez’s strike in a just-as-close-as-it-sounds 8-0 victory.
“We tried a new system (Monday), just moving things around. We played a 4-4-2, so it gave us more options on the wing,” explained DHS coach Sara Stone. “It’s always how you end (the season), not how you start, so that’s our goal, just trying to fine-tune what works best.”
The Devils controlled the vast majority of the possession of the game and outshot the Pacers, 46-0 — including 29 shots on goal — but continued their trend of not putting away makeable chances.
“First half (we were) really flat, super slow, still having a hard time in the 18-yard box just putting stuff away,” Stone said of her team, which had scored just one goal in its past three games — losing twice and tying once.
“I think at this point now, it’s more of a fear that they’re going to miss. At some point that’s going to turn, hopefully sooner rather than later.”
After 13 unsuccessful shots, Davis finally opened the scoring when Renee Schuman collected a through ball from Sidra Bugsch on the right wing.
As the ball was about to roll past the end line, Schuman lofted a cross into the 6-yard box and Hernandez was able to out-jump the Pacer keeper to head it powerfully into an empty net.
The locals quickly doubled, then tripled, their advantage when an own goal by Grant (4-10, 1-6 DVC) was followed by a 10-yard blast from Suleikha Sutter that put the Blue Devils up 3-0 at the half.
Any hopes of a Pacer comeback were stifled four minutes into the second half when Schuman controlled a goal kick near the half-line, dribbled past two defenders and rocketed the ball into the upper corner.
“I think the girls responded well after (a 2-1 loss to McClatchy on April 14),” Stone said. “I think long-term-wise, fitness is what’s going to get us to the next level in those tough games and just staying united, staying together.
“I think they’re looking forward to it. We’re just trying to make sure that we separate ourselves between being good and being great and in those big-time games, that’s key.”
Up 4-0, Stone went to her bench, inserting every active player into the game except for back-up goalkeeper Marianna O’Brien.
With the reserves in the game, DHS did not slow down as it put four more on the scoreboard. Hernandez and Sutter each scored their second goal and Julia Curtis and Gaby Herrera both added single tallies.
Notes: Stone says that she’s not sure if she’s going to continue to play with a 4-4-2 formation rather than her usual 4-3-3. … The Devils had 10 corner kicks to Grant’s 0.
— Reach Evan Ream at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @EvanReam