Haircuts and penalty kicks: men’s soccer finishes season in quarterfinals

The Blue Devils gather for moral support before their penalty shootout against Oak Ridge on Feb. 20. Davis won the game and moved on to the quarterfinals. (Photo: S. Lodigiani)

By Rayan Tilmatine & Sophia Lodigiani, Staff–

The Davis High men’s soccer team took a 3-1 win against Grant for its final game of the regular season on Feb. 15. Senior Sebastian Alvarado scored two of the goals, one from a cross-field pass and another from a through-ball pass. Junior Iain Smith also scored from a cross-field pass.

After the win, the team had its annual playoff haircuts. Sophomore Cayden Hotaling, who was brought up from JV for playoffs, had the consensus vote for worst head of hair.

“It is common for the players who get pulled up from JV to have bad hair-dos. So I didn’t really expect much else,” Hotaling said.

The juniors and sophomores are still complaining about the seniors getting off easy.

“My cut isn’t really that bad, but the seniors literally got a clean-up,” Smith said. “Bad way to show their commitment to the team.”

Senior Kailas Dhond lays down the final word regarding haircuts.

“We’re the seniors and we make decisions; anyone who disagrees will suffer consequences,” Dhond said.

Davis High started its playoff run as the sixth seed, taking on the 11th seed Oakridge. Senior Aedan Enriquez put in a header for DHS’ first goal of the night. Oak Ridge received its only point in the first half as well, leading the second half to be a tense 40 minutes.

“That was a scary moment, because we thought we had momentum, but them scoring really had us losing the fight we had,” Smith said.

Junior Iain Smith controls the ball during the team’s close game against Oak Ridge. (Photo: S. Lodigiani)

The second half was a game of back and forth between the two teams, with painstakingly close shots by senior Justin Maddox and Dhond. The whistle blew and the players got ready for two 10-minute halves of overtime. Neither teams scored during these periods, leading the game to penalty kicks.

Oak Ridge made two of its penalty shots but the rest were saved by goalie and junior Jonah Henrickson.

The ball hit the back of the net all four times when Davis stepped up to kick. The kickers included Alvarado, senior Kieran Swenson, senior Daniel Castro and senior Elija Alba.

“Some teams tend to get nervous at the end, but I thought we played better as the game went on, and we worked on penalty kicks so the boys went into the penalties confident with them. Kieran [Swenson], our captain, took [penalty kicks] all weekend long, practiced all week long, and it paid off,” coach Alex Park said.

Junior Danny Smith feels the team increased its intensity in the second half.

“The first half, we had some mistakes, we let in a goal, but we definitely played all the way to the end and finished strong,” Smith said. “Going into PKs […] it’s hard to calm your mind, but once you win, it’s an exhilarating feeling.”

Dhond agrees.

“Huge win for us, especially for me since it’s my senior year,” Dhond said.

The team then prepared to take on McClatchy in the quarterfinals on Feb. 22.

“We’ll be ready for the challenge,” Dhond said.

DHS ended up losing to McClatchy 1-0 in overtime.

“We had good strides and we worked so hard all year, we hoped that we would be rewarded,” junior Carsen Quick said.

After the disappointing loss, Dhond was still content with results.

“The ultimate goal that we were reaching for wasn’t accomplished, but we grew well together as a team and I enjoyed my time. So all in all it was a successful season,” Dhond said.

The Blue Devils ended their season second in the league to Jesuit, finishing with a total of 17 wins, five losses and five ties.

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