By Rowan Hart,
The Davis High School men’s varsity soccer team opened their season with a hard-fought scrimmage against Vacaville High School, finishing in a 3-3 draw on Wednesday, Aug. 26.
Despite having a young team with only six returning players, and plenty of first-game nerves, Blue Devils head coach Alex Park was quite happy with the tie.
“The overall teamwork and the heart was there, they all showed it and they all wanted to play hard, which is different heart from last year,” Park said.
DHS started with an early goal off of a turnaround shot from senior Matt Cheung after the ball dribbled out from a cluster in front of the net. Vacaville was quick to respond, scoring a quick shot in the middle off a soaring pass from the outside.
From there on, the physical game went back and forth. Davis regained the lead 2-1 after junior Kyle Cuvelier headed a corner kick into the back of the net.
Vacaville then zipped two in a row in on the Devils’ defense: a 25-yard rocket to the high corner and a picked-off pass in front of the goal, putting the Blue Devils behind 2-3 entering the final minute of the match.
Davis was creating good looks inside, but the VHS goalkeeper didn’t allow a single shot until senior Buddhika Ratnasiri, a center back defenseman, came all the way from the other side of the field for a big header to tie the game and end the contest.
Though a goal from a defender is rare, DHS was well prepared and executed it well.
“If you noticed when Buddhika went up, automatically somebody dropped back, which is what we want and worked on in practices,” Park said.
Looking ahead, DHS has a tough road, with a big senior class leaving as well as losing players to soccer academies. It will be a hard season for the Blue Devils, but they’re ready for the fight.
“It’s an uphill battle for them and they’re all willing to work and put the time into it, which is nice. The whole team is very very focused.” Park said.
DHS’ next contest will be at home Friday, Aug. 28 at 3:30 against Vintage High School.