LINCOLN — Davies Tech head coach Victor Oliveira usually has an inkling as to how his squad will execute prior to a contest. It’s based on collective attitude, and how they’re conducting themselves.
On Wednesday afternoon, he had no doubt.
Senior tri-captain Paulo Chavez and classmate Daniel Munoz each netted a pair of goals and junior Mauricio Agudelo chipped in a tally and two assists as the sixth-seeded Patriots walloped No. 11-ranked Johnston High, 7-0, in a R.I. Division III Tournament preliminary tilt.
“I can tell when I talk to the players in the locker room before a game; I can almost predict it,” Oliveira grinned afterward. “They weren’t goofing around. You could tell they were just thinking ‘Game.’ I made sure they knew they had everything to lose and nothing to gain because they were seeded higher. I made sure they knew it wouldn’t look good if we lost.”
With the triumph, Davies not only improved to 9-5-1 overall in divisional play but also secured for itself a quarterfinal matchup with third-seeded Prout (in Wakefield) either Friday or Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers’ campaign closed at 3-9-2.
“I can believe we scored that many goals because I know what I have here,” Oliveira noted. “I also know Johnston. The last time we played them, we won, 4-1, and the last time we played here, we beat Warwick Vets, 6-1. These guys are capable of scoring a lot if they have their heads in the game.”
It didn’t take long for the Patriots to take a 1-0 lead. At the 2:20 mark, Johnston senior goalie Justin Simao came out of the net to make a rather routine save, but – as it sat in a mud puddle – Munoz arrived first, pulled it out with his foot and promptly tucked the ball inside the netting.
About seven minutes later, Chavez chased after a through ball down the right side and drilled a 16-yard grounder at Simao, who sprawled to make a stellar save.
He wasn’t as fortunate at the 17:51 mark; that’s when Agudelo fed Chavez racing down the right side, and the latter juked a defender before driving his shot under a diving Simao.
The same tandem provided Davies a 3-0 advantage at 24:59. Agudelo intercepted a Panther pass about 10 yards beyond midfield and poked a feed into Chavez, who poked a pass to himself and rifled it home.
A mere 3:05 later, freshman Josue Mota – stationed deep down the left sideline – sent what appeared to be a line-drive feed inside the goalie box. Simao immediately approached the left post and leaped, but the ball sailed over his head and just inside the far corner to make it 4-0.
Exactly seven minutes later, at 35:04, sophomore James Puello pushed a cross to senior tri-captain/midfielder Andy Donis, who knocked the ball down and unleashed a low liner into the goal.
Ahead 5-0 at the break, and while Johnston head coach Dan Mazzulla talked to his team at the far end of the field, Oliveira decided to make some changes. He placed Chavez, his leading goal scorer, back on defense, and made other subtle changes. He also asked his Pats to make proper decisions, and not do anything crazy.
Davies more than obliged. Just 2:29 into the final stanza – and not quite 30 seconds after senior Rob Ferrante drove a try inches outside the left post – Agudelo tucked sophomore defense Jose Hernandez’ feed past Simao, and Munoz headed home Donis’ feed on a pretty pass at 13:14.
Less than five minutes later, Oliveira replaced senior tri-captain and goalkeeper Victor Cano, who finished with eight saves, with classmate Adonis Ovando. Not long after giving his husky keeper a breather, he put Cano in as a forward, and he ended up taking about three shots.
“He’s already scored once this season, on a penalty kick, but we wanted to get him another one,” Oliveira chuckled. “Victor’s got a really strong foot, so we thought, ‘Why not?’ I wanted to do some running.”
Both Oliveira and assistant Candido Matias – not to mention players sitting on the bench – laughed on a few occasions while watching Cano strut his stuff near the opposing cage. With approximately 13 minutes remaining in regulation, he drilled a 25-yard direct kick over the right post, and – maybe a minute later – rifled a shot from the right side at new keeper Mike Bogda, but the latter leaped and made a superb save.
Perhaps 20 seconds after, Cano delivered a premier pass to freshman midfielder Jorge Castro, and it looked like he was about to earn his first assist of the season, but Castro’s header caromed off the right post.
Starter Simao mustered 13 saves for the Panthers, while Bogda had three. Ovando closed with five to preserve Davies’ shutout.
After the tilt, Oliveira instructed his troops to enjoy the lopsided victory, but not to get too full of themselves. He had good reason, as Davies’ next foe will be Prout, a different type of team.
“We actually played them here earlier his season, and we played a really good first half,” Oliveira offered. “It was 0-0 at the half, and we thoroughly outplayed them. But they outplayed us the rest of the way and won it, 4-0. They play a physical style, and we’re going to have play really well if we want to continue (in the tourney).”