Davis does it again


New Hanover's Chris Davis and Hoggard's Vance Morvil chase after the ball at Legion Stadium on Wednesday night. (Photo by Photo by Paul Stephen)




Chris Davis has been clutch for the New Hanover boys soccer team all season.

After Wednesday night, you can add another clip to his highlight reel.

Locked in a scoreless tie, New Hanover was awarded a free kick in the 61st minute after Hoggard defender Jack Sordellini was called for a foul on Wildcat midfielder Franco Fernandez.

Davis was able to capitalize on the attempt from just outside the left part of the box when he curved the ball past Viking goalie Gage Tillotson, giving his team a 1-0 victory.

"It was a little bit nerve-wracking," Davis said.

"I felt the pressure from the crowd behind me. And, you know, I just had one thing in my mind and that was that front post."

The goal keeps a pleasant trend going for the junior midfielder.

In his team's meeting with Hoggard earlier this season, the midfielder banged home a penalty kick 8 minutes into the first overtime session to give the Wildcats a 1-0 victory.

More recently, Davis was responsible for the Wildcats' winning goal against Garner in the teams' second-round playoff game, when he scored on a free kick.

With Wednesday's win, the Wildcats sweep the rival Vikings 3-0 this season.

More importantly, however, the team advances to play Pinecrest in the fourth round of the NCHSAA 4A state playoffs.

"Hoggard came out competing really hard at the beginning of the game," said New Hanover coach TJ Rennie.

"They honestly knocked us back a little bit. I don't know that we were ready to compete physically with them right from the start. But we got kind of into the swing of things. We had a couple of chances in the second half and we luckily got one."

Hoggard was far from done after Davis' score, however.

The Vikings nearly answered in the 64th when Vance Morvil's shot from inside the box went wide left.

As the game wore on, Hoggard was afforded many chances with its aggressive offense drawing many fouls.

"We tried to set the tempo, but Hoggard was very good," Rennie said. "We adjusted some things at halftime that I think helped us but they weren't going to go away.

"It was a nightmare the last 10 minutes of that game with all the free kicks they got to try to not give up a goal that would tie the game."

Hoggard's night was effectively summed up in the 79th minute when the team lined up for a corner kick.

After the ball curved toward goal, Wildcat goalie Andrew Arant was able to get just enough of it, tipping the ball away before the defense cleared it.

For the No. 2-seeded Wildcats, they'll take any win no matter how they get it.

"We're thrilled right now," Rennie said.

"If you looked at our team before the season and asked anybody, you might pick us third or fourth in the league or maybe being out in the first round. These guys have overachieved. They've worked really, really hard and are having a little special run here. I'm really proud of them and I couldn't have a better group of kids."