PHOTO: Senior Lily Byrne dribbles the ball around Rocklin High defenders to advance the Davis High attack.
By Gabe Lee,
The top-seeded Davis High women’s varsity soccer team played 17th-seed Rocklin High in the first round of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs on Wednesday, Feb. 19. DHS won 2-1 under the lights of the Ron and Mary Brown stadium.
The game got off to a fast start five minutes in when junior Franchesca Bolivar’s long through ball found senior forward Annabelle Lossin, who slotted a finish past the Rocklin keeper who had left her goal to challenge the ball.
“Goals always feel good but they feel even better when it’s a knockout round,” Lossin said.
However, it was difficult to build off of, as Rocklin countered with a similar goal less than a minute later to even the score, 1-1.
The two teams maintained a deadlock for the majority of the first half despite constant pressure from Davis High in their offensive third, including a number of chances from senior Lily Byrne and Lossin. The Devils nearly doubled their lead with a header that ricocheted off the post from freshman Olivia Johnson.
“We were able to get a lot of shots on goal,” said Byrne, one of the team’s captains. “Even though we didn’t score as much as we could have, the goals will come.”
With 10 minutes remaining in the first half, junior midfielder Megan Looney won a free kick just outside the box. Bolivar converted the chance on a direct kick from 21 yards out to bring the DHS lead to 2-1 heading into halftime.
The second half was more of the same, as the Blue Devils forced the Rocklin keeper to continue her busy day. The half saw a number of close chances from Byrne and junior Summer Baron, but the DHS attack was unable to convert.
Boosted by senior goalkeeper Mckenna Lutzker, who made her season debut in the second half, the Blue Devil defense stifled Rocklin as the game finished in a 2-1 DHS victory.
“Overall I was happy with the result,” Byrne said. “We came into the game knowing we had to win and that’s what we did.”
According to Lossin, the team is gearing up for another section playoff run.
“We’ve won four straight section championships and we’re trying to get a fifth, and obviously this is the first step towards that,” she said.
Despite their perennial success, Lossin is cognisant that the team will have to work for their results.
“Playoffs are always fun,” Lossin said. “The competition is always fun, there’s never a team that got this far because they’re lucky.”
Byrne is also excited for the coming games, although it means her high school career is nearing its close.
“I know it’s my last season, so I want to be sure to enjoy the experience while it lasts, being with my friends and just having fun,” she said.
The women’s varsity team will play Friday, Feb. 21, at home against River City in the tournament’s quarterfinal.