Thanks to a pair of close-range goals from junior Sophia Hernandez, the Davis High girls soccer team defeated West Campus, 5-1, Thursday night at Yudin Field to improve to 8-1-1 on the season.
Freshman Sidra Bugsch also added two goals for the Blue Devils in a slow-starting performance (by DHS soccer standards) against the previously undefeated Warriors.
“I wasn’t very pleased with the first half,” said third-year Devil coach Sara Stone. “But I felt like the second half — just with the energy level with everybody — we were way more effective which wore them out.”
Though Davis scored in the fifth minute when Bugsch struck from the top of the box, the locals had trouble breaking down the West Campus defense, often struggling with possession and committing avoidable turnovers in the middle of the field.
“I’m not sure if it’s just a little bit of fatigue or if it’s just the mindset that we came in kind of a little more at ease than I think that we needed to be prepared for,” Stone said. “(The players) hear a lot about the big-name schools that we have a rivalry with: St. Francis, Franklin. They don’t hear a lot about West Campus. Part of the lack of connecting early on was a lack of showing up to play.”
Four minutes after the Blue Devils took the lead, the Warriors equalized on their only shot and corner of the game. The tally came because no one picked up a West Campus player at the back post, and she was able to volley it home before the ball bounced.
DHS went back up for good after a defensive miscue by the visitors in the 25th minute. Two defenders found themselves inside the box shielding the ball towards the keeper, but the Warrior goalie never came out to clear the ball.
Because of that, Hernandez was able to get in between the two defenders and toe poke the ball for the winning goal.
A halftime pep talk from Stone led to a reinvigorated Devil squad coming out of the break.
Eight minutes into the period, a high clearance in the West Campus box was spilled by their keeper. The ball fell directly to Davis sophomore Gabriela Herrera, who took a controlling touch and placed it neatly into the corner of the net from 18 yards out.
The dominating second half was complete 17 minutes later in a three-minute flurry that started when Hernandez nutmegged the new Warriors goalkeeper, who was subbed in after the previous goal.
Hernandez’s goal was followed by Bugsch’s second tally, a volley that took a massive deflection into the upper corner of the net.
“That’s one of the hardest things in athletics at every level,” Stone said when asked how her team avoids becoming complacent with such a good record. “You see it in the World Series. The same two teams aren’t in the World Series every year.
“Being consistent at a high level is obviously what you want and those (who can do that) are great teams. And we talk about that a lot: the difference between being good and being great.”
Notes: DHS outshot West Campus 26-1, including 16 shots on goal. … Herrera twice hit the crossbar from distance. … Thursday was the final nonconference outing of the season. Next up is the Delta Valley Conference opener, a Monday (6:30 p.m.) home match against Franklin. The Blue Devils will have no trouble getting up for a Wildcat squad that beat Davis in last year’s Sac-Joaquin Section title game.
— Reach Evan Ream at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @EvanReam