Men’s soccer battles Sheldon to draw in the heat

Senior captain Buddhika Ratnisiri
Senior Buddhika Ratnasiri (5) races for the ball in the Blue Devils’ 3-3 tie with Sheldon High on Monday, Sept. 21.

By Judy Park, Staff–

Playing soccer in close to 100-degree weather is not typically an ideal way to spend a Monday afternoon, but on Sept. 21, both the Davis and Sheldon men’s soccer teams really turned up the heat in a battle that ended in a 3-3 tie. It was so hot that the referee called for two additional water breaks for the players to re-hydrate.

The score bounced back and forth in a close game; both sides were right on each other’s heels and were quick to even things out if one team managed to pull ahead.

After 40 minutes of play, senior Ricky Gonzales, who had previously been injured and unable to play for a few weeks, burst through and scored the first goal of the contest a few minutes before half-time.

The match continued and seemed to slow down as the sun brutally beat down on the players.

Finally, one of Sheldon’s team members raced away from defenders and evened the score. Gonzalez quickly responded, scoring his second goal with a penalty kick that kept the Blue Devils in the contest.

Once again, Sheldon pulled ahead with a goal, but with just five minutes left in the game, senior Matt Cheung was able to make a header goal to end the match in a draw.

“Matt Cheung did an excellent job to win the header and we were lucky to tie the game that late,” senior captain Matthew Rowen said after the game.

Rowen said the team made too many mistakes throughout the contest to capitalize on the numerous opportunities it had to win.

“I wish we ended the game early by finishing our chances because then the mistakes in the back wouldn’t have happened,” he said.

Senior Buddhika Ratnasiri had a more positive outlook on the match.

“I think we should be optimistic about our performance because in the attacking half we created a lot of chances,” he said. “On the defensive side I think we had a few lapses in concentration and created our own problems. So from this game we can learn from our mistakes and work hard in practice so that we can win the rest of our games.”

Park attributes this lack of concentration to an evolving team that is learning to play with a multitude of new members, and said that if the Devils had “kept pushing” as hard as they did in the first half, they could have beaten the Huskies. Still, he complimented his team on its ability to pull through and make a comeback.

“They showed a lot of heart tying the game two times,” Park said. “I kept yelling at them not to let out because in the end, that’s what really matters.”

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