Thursday, April 24, 2014

Defending champion DHS turns it on as playoffs begin

DHS goalie Andres Olmedo makes a diving stop on a key penalty kick during the Blue Devils' 6-0 victory over Napa on Tuesday in the first round of the section playoffs. Reem Rashmawi/Courtesy photo

From page B1 | October 31, 2012 | Leave Comment

It’s not every day a goalkeeper’s save turns a soccer game into a rout.

But on Tuesday, with things up in the air as Davis High led 2-0 early in the second period, netminder Andres Olmedo’s brilliant stuff of a penalty shot by Napa’s Leonardo Ortiz energized the Blue Devils and led to a 6-0 first-round playoff victory.

“I was thinking ‘This is my opportunity. I better take it,’ ” Olmedo said after his sprawling stop — which came on the heels of a collision in the box that sent starting goalie Derek Pleasants to the sideline with a yellow card.

“I’ve been on the bench most of the time. Derek is a great keeper … but I thought ‘Let me prove myself. That I’m ready to play.’ ”

Pleasants’ yellow came when he, DHS defender Alexander Nelson and Ortiz crashed together in the box. The official sent Pleasants packing, although the three bodies seemed to arrive simultaneously with the ball.

Olmeda, a junior who is the only Da Vinci student on the Devil roster, harkened back to his work ethic …

“I remembered all my training. I remembered watching the videos to prepare goalies, listening to everything my coaches told me. I just stuck to my training, and it paid off,” said the smiling Blue Devil.

Davis was ahead 2-0 — thanks to early goals 40 seconds apart from D.J. Villegas and Kian Bagheri — when Ortiz’s low shot was hit by a diving Olmedo’s hand, then a leg swipe cleared the ball.

If that ball goes in, it’s game on. But after the big block, the Devils put the hammer down.

At 44:51, Bagheri’s shot was deflected by Indian keeper Rodolfo Herrera. But Herrera could not control the rebound, which gave the crashing Collin Holtz a wide-open net for goal No. 3.

A poaching Antonio Mares redirected another DHS miss 15 minutes later as the locals were now assured of avenging a nonleague 1-0 loss to Napa way back on Sept. 14.

But it wasn’t over for the defending Sac-Joaquin Section champions.

With Nelson, Jacob Rutheiser, Rami Rashmawi and Connor Anderson playing take-no-prisoners soccer on the backline, the Blue Devils continued to pepper the Indians’ goal.

When Davis lost at Napa earlier this year, it outshot its hosts, 17-4. On Tuesday, the Devils put 19 shots on poor ol’ Herrera. The Indians had seven.

DHS sophomore Raunak Manandhar struck for a 5-0 lead at 71:56, then — with just a few ticks left, senior Lee LeVerrier rounded out the scoring.

“I think we’re peaking at the right time,” said Blue Devil interim head coach Alex Park. “Grant tying last week (gave us) a co-championship and that got us feeling good about ourselves. With six goals today, I think we’re very confident going (forward) in the playoffs.”

After some unlucky soccer in which Davis couldn’t buy a goal in DVC competition, did Park’s Blue Devils play like champions in Round 1?

“Yes!” Park responded.

DHS football coach Steve Smyte should have been in attendance to see Davis’ first goal.

Sophomore Villegas, a junior national team member, intercepted a Napa pass near mid-pitch, eluded two Indians early and went streaking past a last-gasp defender before encountering Herrera 10 meters out.

Villegas hit the air brakes, juked right, went left and placed a tantalizing roller past a spinning Napa keeper.

The Indians, who took third in the Monticello Empire League, finished at 9-10-3. DHS upped its mark to 13-4-5 and hasn’t lost since a 4-0 setback to Jesuit on Oct. 6.

Notes: It’s Halloween week. Create your own significance about LeVerrier’s game-ending goal: No. 6 scored on his sixth shot of the contest to tally goal No. 6 for the Devils. Hmmmm. … Davis hopes to keep up its demonic vibe on Thursday when it travels to McClatchy in Sacramento. The Metro League champ Lions (18-0-4) nipped Chavez of Stockton, 1-0 in overtime on Tuesday. … “It’s a huge boost for us. Winning with this many goals in the first playoff game?” Olmedo added. After the PK stop, Park had Olmedo finish the game. This afternoon belonged to the replacement goalkeeper.

— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at or 530-747-8047.

Bruce Gallaudet


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