Hoggard soccer advances after offensive clinic

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - For 24 minutes, Hoggard and Millbrook remained scoreless, and it looked every bit like the even, close game many expected Tuesday.

Then all of a sudden, that narrative was over.

The Vikings scored three goals in the final 16 minutes of the first half en route to a 7-0 win in the high school playoffs Round of 16 Tuesday night at Braswell Stadium.

Junior forward Chloe Whitaker summed it up flatly after the game.

"No, I didn't really expect a 7-0 win," Whitaker said.

Not many people would have expected it. Millbrook entered Tuesday's game 16-2-3. But Hoggard carried an undefeated conference record into the matchup, seemingly peaking at the perfect time of the season.

"Once we get going we kind of get on a roll," said Siara Southerland, whose hat trick helped open the scoring.

"We have an incredible senior class that has been with me for the last four years," said coach Justin Schatz, who has spent more than a decade with the program. "A lot of the girls that are seniors played varsity when they were freshmen."

Southerland is one of those seniors. She'll play soccer at Campbell in the fall.

She scored in a variety of ways Tuesday, including a one-on-three breakaway in which it seemed at any moment the ball would finally be cleared. Instead, it somehow ended up in the back of the net.

It was just that kind of night.

"There were two other people. I just kind of cut back to the middle, tried to put it back post and it went in," Southerland said. "I was happy that went in."

The Vikings have outscored their last four opponents 23-1, and it's hard not to think of what's now within their reach

"That was our goal in the beginning of the season, to make it all the way through the playoffs and to the championship," said Whitaker, who opened up the scoring.

However, there are still two more games until reaching the state title. Another 7-0 win would be preferable, but it's not expected.

"We are a one game at a time team. We do not look past who we have next," Schatz said. "Right now, we're going to focus on Green Hope. We don't look who we've played. We don't look who we have after. We look at the next game. That's all we do."

Looking at the latest scoreboard, their odds seem to be as good as they've ever been.

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