Denair High spent the majority of Monday afternoon chasing the soccer ball — and their Delhi High opponents — as the Hawks controlled the field of play and the match’s tempo. The Hawks (3-0) traveled to the Coyote’s stomping grounds in search of their third Southern Athletic League victory and it didn’t take long to forge that goal into reality.
Within the first five minutes of the match Delhi was on the scoreboard. By the end of the match five more goals were added to the Hawks’ total while the Coyotes (0-2-1) failed to make a scoreboard appearance; the day ended 6-0 Delhi.
“We’re using our defense a lot more; playing the ball back more and keeping the other players running,” Delhi’s head coach Armando Salazar said. “I think we tired them out.”
Denair was stifled by both the Hawks’ defense and offense as the team played keep away from the Coyotes, distributing the ball amongst each other in a new strategy geared towards inclusiveness and unpredictability.
“Everybody touches the ball and I think if we play that way we can win every game,” Salazar said.
Erik Tapia, Ismael Udave, Oscar Maldonado, and Daniel Hernandez each benefited from their team’s passing-based attack with Maldaonado and Hernandez scoring a goal apiece and Tapia and Udave scoring two. Delhi split the scoring evenly, finding the net three times in the first half and three more times in the second.
Delhi’s performance against its SAL rival further fueled the possibility of a perfect season with spectators whispering about a potential undefeated season. Coach Salazar acknowledged the possibility but said his main concern right now is to keep his team focused and avoid the ever-present danger of over confidence.
“If we keep playing the way we’ve been playing I think we have a good chance of going undefeated, but I’ve been doing this long enough to know you can’t guarantee that,” Salazar said. “Once you start winning the other teams start gunning for you.”
The Hawks host Waterford High today, one of the teams Delhi expects to challenge for this year’s SAL title. Denair also plays today, traveling to Le Grand High to face the Bulldogs.