Soccer coach excited about potential

Published 2:48 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

Marco Rebollar arrived in 2022 to reboot a long downtrodden team. He injected new energy into Davie varsity boys soccer and bled four wins out of the War Eagles.

Records of 4-18 overall and 2-12 in the Central Piedmont Conference might look like a fruitless season, but it was progress. The largest margin of defeat was 6-0 at West Forsyth – there were no mercy-rule defeats on Rebollar’s watch in 2022 – and Davie earned the most wins in eight seasons. The two CPC victories were noteworthy when you consider Davie went 1-65 in the league from 2016-21.

One of the best things about 2022: The War Eagles got better as the season wore on. Reagan had 12 seniors, but they were shocked 2-1 by Davie on the Raiders’ Senior Night. It was Davie’s first win over Reagan in 21 tries. Then came a 5-4 overtime win over Parkland on Davie’s Senior Night.

Now there are signs pointing to Davie taking the next step – climbing out of the CPC cellar after finishing last for nine straight seasons.

“Last year we started eight sophomores,” Rebollar said. “(A year older) is going to make a world of difference. They’ve got experience to play varsity now. We just have to get them to believe in themselves; that’s the hardest thing.”

It’s hard to win when you average 1.2 goals per game. Last year Davie generated 28 goals in 22 games, but that was marked improvement over 2021, when it had 12 goals in 19 games. Rebollar is looking for another jump in that area. The key guys at forward will be sophomore Justin Rayas and the Tarbet brothers – juniors Mason and Alex. When Alex plays forward, Mason will be working the midfield, and vice versa.

Last year as a freshman, Rayas led Davie in assists (four) and was second in goals (six). Alex Del Carmen, a junior, was tied for third in goals with four.

“Alex played in the State Games for me this summer,” Rebollar said. “I think that helped him facing some of the best players in North Carolina. That brought a lot of confidence to his game.”

Davie expects a big boost from Rafael Amaro, who attended Davie as a freshman, moved to Texas for his sophomore year and is back at Davie as a junior.

“Rafael is a nice addition to the team,” Rebollar said. “He’s a natural leader and I’m hoping he can control the tempo of games and put our forwards in good positions for them to score.

“One of the Tarbets will play up top and one of them in the midfield. Mason will probably help more in the midfield.”

Eight guys are competing for starting spots on defense. One of the leaders is junior Karson Yount. Will Davis is another one that Rebollar is counting on. Davis missed the last two games of 2022 with an ACL tear, but he’s back for his senior year.

“We have a lot of talent back there,” Rebollar said.

Rebollar has high hopes for his goalie, junior Felipe Flores. In fact, he sees lots of reasons to be excited. One of the biggest is this: 12 varsity returners (Davis, Victor Calix, Alex Torres, Luke Kittleson, Emmanuel Alanis, Yount, Del Carmen, Flores, A. Tarbet, M. Tarbet, Zach Hill and Rayas).

“I think we have so much potential,” he said. “I can see us doing a lot better than we did last year.”

There’s only one problem: The CPC is a killer league. As always, Davie will have to earn everything it gets.

“This is one of the hardest conferences,” Rebollar said. “Man, it’s brutal. Reagan had (12 seniors), but their JV program was just as strong, so I think they’ll be just as competitive.”

Notes: Rebollar has everyone on his staff back and one addition. Tyler Dinkins, Nate Hinshaw and Scott McBain have been joined by Corbin Kopetzky, the head coach of varsity girls soccer. … The seniors are Micah Fryar, Mason Kuhnemann, Davis, Alanis, Kittleson and Calix. The juniors are A. Tarbet, M. Tarbet, Del Carmen, Amaro, Torres, Yount, Flores, Abdullah Guver, Brayan Reyes, Hill, Giovani Ramirez and Gage Whitaker. The sophomores are Rayas and Isaiah Beaty. Dylan Cassetta is a freshman.