Davie soccer pulls a shocker

Published 6:38 pm Wednesday, October 26, 2022

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

If you thought Davie’s varsity soccer team was going to walk meekly into the night and mail in the rest of this starting-from-scratch season, think again.

The War Eagles of first-year coach Marco Rebollar caught lightning at Reagan. The Raiders had pummeled Davie by an aggregate 85-5 during a 20-game winning streak in the series, but Davie had another script in mind on Oct. 18. It pulled a 2-1 shocker.

The fact that Davie, which had been outscored 41-6 during a nine-game losing streak, was missing three starters made the performance all the more impressive.

“(Karson Yount, Zachary Hill and Mason Kuhnemann) couldn’t play due to a band obligation,” Rebollar said. “The band concert was half of the kids’ grades, so I was like: ‘Yeah, y’all have got to go do that for sure.’ This was a sweet one to pull it out without those guys. I only had three guys on the bench that I could sub. It was a good team effort for sure.”

The War Eagles had not scored two goals against Reagan since a 5-2 decision in 2013. They beat the Raiders for the first time since a 3-1 home victory in 2012, when Alexis Hernandez and Arturo-Moure Garcia did the scoring for a team that was coached by Lance Everette and Mark McKnight.

What’s more, it came on Reagan’s Senior Night. Davie spoiled the party for 12 seniors.

“They still had some home games left, so I put in my guys’ minds that they chose to do it tonight,” Rebollar said. “I said: ‘That should fire y’all up.’ And it did fire them up.”

Reagan got a penalty kick in the first half. A Raider scored off a rebound to make it 1-0 at halftime. But senior Nick Ruff got desperate Davie’s goosebumps bumping with a game-tying goal. He was assisted by Emmanuel Alanis.

“I changed up my formation a little bit and put Nick up top instead of at attacking center mid,” Rebollar said. “As soon as I made that change, three minutes into the second half, he scored. He had plenty of shots, but I was so happy to see him take advantage of that one.”

With 13 minutes remaining, another senior, Peter Marks, came through with a free kick. That sent Davie to its first win since Sept. 6.

“Peter got fouled on a breakaway,” Rebollar said. “He lives for those kind of shots. Before that, we had a free kick and I didn’t pick him to do it and I could tell it kind of upset him. It was one of those shots where the keeper is frozen. He didn’t move; he couldn’t react fast enough. It was perfectly located in the right top corner. It was one I wish we could have recorded. It was awesome. I did a double take because I didn’t think the ball actually went in. I was surprised because I thought he had missed it right.

“Their reactions after that is what makes it all worth it. They were yelling and hollering. It was cool to see two seniors score.”

The Raiders (7-7-3 overall, 4-6-1 Central Piedmont Conference) came in with a far superior record. They had blanked Davie 3-0 on Oct. 3. But this day ultimately belonged to the last-place War Eagles (3-15, 1-9), who survived 80 grueling minutes with a short bench and celebrated a triumph of the heart.

Give credit to goalie Felipe Flores. Also give credit to the Tarbet brothers (Alex and Mason).

“Felipe was lights out,” Rebollar said. “Some of the saves he makes are just ridiculous. It’s cool to see that from a sophomore.

“I interchange (the Tarbets) a lot and they never complain. I move one from attacking center mid to defense and vice versa. They just do what they’re told and they hustle. They keep the same level of intensity even when I move them.”

This breakthrough gave the War Eagles hope going into the last week of the season. It’s a boost going into the offseason. It’s exactly what they needed as they keep one eye on the rest of 2022 and the other eye on 2023 and beyond.

“It’s a huge confidence booster for us all,” he said. “I always tell the kids they can compete, they can hang in there. They deserve a win like this because they’re used to taking it on the chin all the time. It builds confidence for years to come because we’re young. Now they know they can do this.”

Notes: Davie presumably had West Forsyth’s full attention on Oct. 19, and visiting West dealt Davie a 5-1 thumping. It was 3-0 at halftime as the second-place Titans improved to 10-7-4 overall and 9-3 in the CPC. Senior Ethan Pruitt had Davie’s goal. … In JV action, Davie lost 5-0 at Reagan and 1-0 to West Forsyth. The JV War Eagles lost 9-0 to West on Sept. 21, but they looked like a different team in the rematch. It was 0-0 at halftime. … The Davie JV records are 1-13-3, 0-9-2.