Men’s soccer dominates in first playoff match

Senior DJ Villegas dribbles the ball past three Chavez defenders.

By Chloe Sommer, Staff–

The Davis High men’s varsity soccer team took to the stadium confidently for their first playoff game, despite the loss of three injured starters. The Blue Devils started the playoffs strong, dominating Chavez with a 5-0 win on Nov. 4.

Much of the game’s first half passed with an empty scoreboard, though both teams had several close shots. Seniors D.J. Villegas and Raunak Manandhar continuously pushed Chavez’s defense to the limit.

Chavez had a few offensive breakthroughs, but to no avail. The Davis defense remained strong and constant throughout the match.

“The whole back line never gave up a goal,” coach Alex Park said. “In sections, it’s a big accomplishment.”

Finally, the Blue Devils took the lead in the first half with a fierce offence. Villegas and Manandhar led the team to four goals within the few minutes before halftime.

“There was no way [Chavez] was going to be able to hold that speed and that intensity for that long a period,” Park said. “We knew that we were going to score.”

But Chavez returned to the field after halftime ready to put up a fight.

Davis charged Chavez, with shot after shot aiming and missing the goal. Villegas and Manadhar, alongside senior Kyle Fix and others, continuously tried at the goal for several minutes.

Chavez rarely gained real charge of the ball and was unable to try for a goal more than twice throughout the entire second half of the game.

Eventually, the Blue Devils’ ruthless offense scored one last goal, sinking the ball in the net a few minutes before the match drew to a close. Even after the fifth goal, Davis was still avidly challenging Chavez lines as the clock ran out.

“We played pretty good, but we could be better,” Manadhar said. “We worked hard to get this far, but the whole team has to improve if we want to do well in the league.”

The match provided opportunities for four standout JV players to get some field time: Danny Castro, Kyle Cuvelier, Bobby Scott and Ryan Strong were all called up for postseason games.

In addition, all three of the team’s keepers had a chance for some field action, aided by the Blue Devil’s strong defense.

The Blue Devils will face Armijo next Thursday as the next step towards the Sac-Joaquin championship.

“As we come into this next round of playoffs, any team could beat any team […] we don’t take this win for granted, but we do come out strong,” Park said.

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