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Blue Devils win third straight district title

By: Matt Long Telegraph Sports Editor
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For the third straight year, the El Dorado Hills Blue Devils are District VI soccer champions. On Dec. 9, the Blue Devils defeated Elk Grove 3-1 to win the under-14 division in the sixth district of the California Youth Soccer Association, a district that spans from Sacramento to as far north as Redding and as far east as South Lake Tahoe. To win one title and be the best team from an area that large is an accomplishment; to win three straight is exceptional. The Blue Devils are the first team from the El Dorado Hills Soccer Club to achieve a three-peat and are the first team in the district to win three straight titles since at least 1990 if not further, according to the team’s coach, Eric Davidson. The Blue Devils won the under-14 title a year ago as an under-13 team, and claimed the under-12 district cup in 2009. Last year the team’s record was 11-15-5, which is deceiving since they were playing teams a year older. In 2009 the team posted a 23-10-6 mark in the under-12 division. This season the team has posted a 24-10-4 record and has scored 100 goals, while allowing only 35. Defense is the team’s strength. “To allow 35 goals in 38 games is phenomenal,” Davidson said. “Anytime you allow less than a goal a game, I don’t care what level you’re playing in, that’s incredible. Defensively, we’re stout. In 10 league games we allowed seven goals.” Leading that defense is the team’s goaltender, Connor Gann, who Davidson said has had an outstanding year. In front of him the team’s defenders include Reese Benson, Maxwell Dillard, Matthew Fehr, Luke Johnson, JJ Musili and Austin Streetman. Benson is the team’s leader. “Reese’s nickname is Hammerhead,” Davidson said. “He plays with a presence in the back and just sets the tone for us.” Another key reason for the team’s strong defense is midfielder Mitch Hauser. “Mitch doesn’t score a lot, but he’s the heartbeat of our team,” Davidson said. “He works really hard and when we need someone to shutdown someone on the other team, Mitch does the job.” Other midfielders on the team include Trevor Engle, Cameron Madsen, Josh Mouzis and Cole Rickard. The team’s forwards include Brandon Bollengier, Jack Davidson, Sebastian Gardey and Sam Miller, who has carried the team offensively this season with 23 goals and 19 assists. “Sam’s had a special year by accounting for 40 percent of our team’s goals,” Davidson said. When the team needs some extra motivation, whether they’re playing in a tough game or need a pick-me-up in practice, the rallying cry is what they call ‘Blue Devil Hill,’ which is a hill that brings out the best in the team. “It’s a hill in El Dorado Hills that’s about a half-mile to the top and it’s almost straight up,” Davidson said. “Every Monday we do hill work there and it just motivates the boys. If we need to turn it up a notch in a game we tell them to think about Blue Devil hill.” The Blue Devils will play for the Association Cup in January. Two years ago they reached the quarterfinals before being eliminated.