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6A quarterfinals: In blustery game and down a player late, Davis boys soccer survives at Syracuse

By Patrick Carr - Standard-Examiner | May 19, 2022

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Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Davis midfielder Roderick Sanchez. The Standard-Examiner regrets the error.

SYRACUSE — For all of the regular-season success the Davis High boys soccer team has had since winning the 2012 state championship, postseason success has largely eluded the Darts.

They were region champions in 2019 and lost in the second round. Last season, Davis also lost in the second round at home.

This year, the Darts are one of four teams left in the 6A state tournament after surviving 1-0 in a windy quarterfinal Thursday night at Syracuse, playing the final 15 minutes of regulation with 10 players on the field.

For as much as Davis (12-4) won and the Titans lost, a few inches was all that stood between a possible 1-0 win for Syracuse (13-4) instead.

Elliot Pehrson’s goal early in the second half was hit into the bottom right corner of the goal, right where Titans’ goalkeeper Britton Moline has his outstretched hands. The ball ended up in the back of the net.

“I didn’t know it went in until everyone started celebrating,” Pehrson said.

With 40 seconds left in regulation and long after Davis had been reduced to 10 players following Nash Jensen getting sent off, Syracuse’s Corbin Bodily had a golden one-on-one chance, the kind of chance the Titans had been searching for the previous 79 minutes and 20 seconds of the game.

“My heart dropped when that happened,” Pehrson said. “Right when they missed that shot, relief.”

Bodily sliced the ball wide, sending practically the whole Syracuse team to the turf. Forty seconds later at the final whistle, Davis was celebrating its first semifinal appearance in 10 years, while another high-watermark season for the Titans in a history mostly devoid of them had ended.

The Darts will face No. 8 Mountain Ridge, who upset No. 1 Weber, in the state semifinals at Juan Diego Catholic High School. That game will be played at 3 p.m. Monday, May 23.

A strong north wind blew in before the game’s 7 p.m. kickoff, so strong that many long-range kicks going from south to north held up rather comically in the air and sometimes just went backward.

Syracuse had the wind at its back in the first half but couldn’t fashion many scoring chances.

From the second-half kickoff, the Darts pressed the issue with the wind at their backs and were rewarded for their effort in the 43rd minute with Pehrson’s goal.

Roderick Sanchez and Kevin Barnes had good shots in the 62nd and 64th minute, respectively, that nearly made it 2-0 for Davis.

Syracuse wasn’t getting up the field at all and looked like it was done for, that is until Davis defender Nash Jensen picked up his second yellow card in the 65th minute and was sent off.

“We changed our formation to no forwards, and we just were pressing it so hard and giving it our all, knowing it’s the last 15 minutes of the game and we need to keep the lead,” Pehrson said.

The Titans turned the player advantage into some free kicks, corner kicks, deflected shots and also the final one-on-one chance, but never could make the player advantage count.

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