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High School Boys' Soccer | Currituck shuts out Whiteville in first round

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Currituck’s Connor Kelley is lifted up by teammate Ryan Vankirk after Kelley’s goal against Whiteville, Wednesday at Currituck County High School.

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By David Gough
Sports Writer

Friday, November 8, 2019

BARCO — The Currituck boys’ soccer team defeated the Whiteville Wolfpack 2-0 in the first round of the 2A NCHSAA playoffs at home Wednesday.

A goal in the first half and a goal in the second half helped the No. 13 Knights, while No. 20 Whiteville was unable to get too many scoring chances throughout the night.

“We came out aggressive and played well the entire time,” Currituck coach Lori Davis said.

Currituck (11-4-4) and the Wolfpack (11-8-1), who made the four-plus hour drive to Barco, played mostly an even game for the majority of the first half as neither team had a load of scoring opportunities.

But with just over five minutes to go, Knights junior Noah Cutler found senior Ryan Vankirk up the middle. Vankirk, from near the top of the penalty area, launched the ball past the Whiteville goalkeeper for a 1-0 lead.

After the goal, Currituck was mainly the aggressor from that point on until the end of the game.

“”It allowed us to kind of settle in, relax a little and try to focus on playing our game,” Davis said.

Wednesday night’s second half brought more physicality from both teams, especially from the Wolfpack.

Whiteville’s physicality, Davis noted, gave the Knights a good test for the first round of the playoffs.

Davis also noted that both teams played a little chippy in the second half as multiple fouls were called in the final 40 minutes.

Four minutes into the half, Cutler had an opportunity to get in the goal column as well as the assist column when he kicked a line drive from behind the box toward the goalie.

Whiteville’s Jacob Allgood made the save on the hard shot after bobbling it for a second.

Senior Raymond Venham also had an opportunity to give Currituck a two-goal lead about 10 minutes later, but his laser of a shot went over the goal.

A little past the midpoint of the second half, the Wolfpack had one of their few chances to tie the game.

But a hard kick from about six yards from the goal was blocked by junior Hayden Ray as it became one of the biggest defensive plays of the game for the Knights.

Currituck finally was able to put the game away with under 10 minutes to go when sophomore Connor Stodden set up for a corner kick from the right side of the net.

His kick went past the net where Cutler possessed the ball and passed it to the back of the box to senior Connor Kelley.

Cutler’s pass made for his second assist of the game when Kelley ripped a shot into the back of the net.

“We’ve been really working on our set pieces,” Davis said. “Between (Venham’s) throw-ins and our corners, we’re really trying to work on finishing and it worked out for us tonight.”

Davis also noted how big it was for Cutler to assist on both goals in a playoff game.

Currituck maintained possession of the ball throughout the final minutes of the first round playoff game against Whiteville to close it out and move on.

The Knights will take a three-hour bus ride to Teachey to face No.4 Wallace-Rose Hill in the second round Saturday.

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