Soccer team gives West Forsyth a scare

Published 12:30 pm Tuesday, May 28, 2024

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

The Davie soccer team’s first playoff game in eight years was the ultimate battle of Good vs. Evil.

Davie’s record from 2019 through the 2024 regular season was 25-39-9 overall and 10-24-2 in the Central Piedmont Conference. West Forsyth’s record during the same span was 73-14-3 overall, 48-2 in the CPC. The Titans were 63-1-2 all time vs. Davie, including 3-1 and 5-0 wins in the regular season.

For Davie, an upset over the annual powerhouse looked like a long shot.

As it turned out, though, Davie had a legitimate shot at a shock-the-world moment. West dodged a bullet, scored in the final 20 seconds on a controversial goal and escaped 2-1 in Clemmons on May 13. The No. 3-seeded Titans improved to 16-3-1, while No. 30 Davie closed at 7-9-2.

“We worked so hard to get here,” coach Corbin Kopetzky said. “They believed in themselves when nobody else did. People did not expect us to be anything this year. We made the playoffs and that is more than I can ask out of them.”

After managing just one goal in 160 regular-season minutes against West, the War Eagles found an answer in the first half, when star sophomore Lanna Robinson knocked in a breathtaking goal. It was Robinson’s 14th goal, the most since Claire Devereaux had 14 in 2015.

“We dropped (Robinson) back to center mid,” Kopetzky said. “I said: ‘We’re not just here to say we made it.’ And she played a heck of a game. That might be the best game I’ve seen her play in two years. She stole the ball at midfield and sprinted down. They cut down the baseline but she put it in the back of the net. Our crowd went wild. It’s a feeling I’ve never felt before as a coach.”

The West Forsyth ghosts were silent at halftime. Davie had a 1-0 lead in its first playoff game since 2016.

But Davie has endured some rough breaks, and West’s tying goal at 49:30 qualified as another. (Yet another would come in the dying seconds.)

“Off a corner kick, Aubrie (Pulaski) made a save on it,” Kopetzky said. “They got a weird deflection on that one and put it in the back of the net. It was a dribble; it did not go fast at all. We had shifted the defense and nobody was right there, and it rolled ever so slowly into the back of the net.”

It was still 1-1 with under 20 seconds remaining. The Titans got a free kick and missed. But wait – the referee blew his whistle and allowed another free kick. Davie was furious. The bleeping second try penetrated the goal. It left Davie with a nasty taste.

“The ball has to stop rolling before you kick it,” Kopetzky said. “She kicked it, that is her time and (the ref) stopped the clock. It went wide left, but (the ref) let her re-kick it. It deflected, Aubrie made a good save. They hit it off the rebound to score.

“They are hurt and that is justified. They did more than anybody ever gave them credit for. Those are my kids. I believe in them when everybody told me we would be down. I saw the offseason and all the work they did in practice. You know when you’ve got the right group of kids to make it successful, and right now that’s what we’ve got.”

Defenders Lydia Postell, Skylar Link, Kim Torres and Jaden Sink did what they do – they played beautifully and gave Davie a chance before coming up just short.

“I said: ‘Guys, we’re gonna try something different,’” Kopetzky said. “I put Lydia back there and she marked West’s best player for probably 60 minutes of the game. Kim shut it down. I am so proud of all of them.”

The War Eagles went 1-6 in one-goal games. The margin was razor thin between 7-9-2 and what could have been the first winning season since 2008. The silver lining: Next year could yield Davie’s strongest team in many years.

“We should have upset the No. 3 seed,” he said. “We are there, man. People may doubt us, but they better watch out (next year).”

Notes: The War Eagles recorded the most wins in eight years. … They are 0-9 in playoff games, also losing in 1994, 1996, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2016. … Seven seniors played their final Davie game: Ella Little, Torres, Maddie Hayes, Link, Jaden Smith, Lauren Colamarino and Tania Arellano. … Kopetzky said assistant Collin Ferebee deserves credit for Davie’s upward trajectory. He has two more assistants – Zach Wood and Jackie Gonzalez – who came on board this year. “I consider Collin a co-head coach,” he said. “He’s been absolutely great.” … In the second round, West nipped Cuthbertson 2-1 in overtime. West bowed out in the third round, losing 4-2 to Marvin Ridge.