CHAPEL HILL — Millbrook's Kenny Patch set East Chapel Hill on its heels with his goal just 2:54 into Tuesday's first-round game in the N.C. High School Athletic Association soccer playoffs, but the PAC-6 champion Wildcats responded with three unanswered goals to advance with a 3-1 win Tuesday night on their home field.
East Chapel Hill (15-1-2), No. 3 in the News & Observer's area rankings, extended its unbeaten streak to 12 matches thanks to Alexander Yokum's goal with 1:58 remaining in the first half and then his assist on Zachary's Lee's score 3:44 into the second half.
"We didn't worry too much about the first goal," Yokum said. "At (13-6-3) Carrboro, we were down 2-0 and won that one 3-2. We figured we could pull this one out."
Michael Krantz applied the coup de grace to Millbrook (9-9-3) with 8:04 left to play with his rebound-score off a punch-save by Millbrook goalie Andrew Feist.
East Chapel Hill next will host the winner of the NCHSAA 4-A first-round match between Apex (16-4-1) and Leesville Road (14-9-0).
Millbrook took the Tuesday's opening deep in East's half and never let it out until after a throw-in by Aaron Womble that Patch seized upon, spin and sent low past goalkeepr Jake Hilkey.
East Chapel Hill dominated possession after that and outshot Millbrook 15-3 the rest of the match, but couldn't find the equalizer until late in the half. East finally broke through on a controversial play, when Carlos Hernandez sent a long ball to the edge of Millbrook's penalty area; Yokum, two Millbrook defenders and Feist collided inside the box, and Yokem popped free from the crowd to put the ball into the empty net.
The two teams produced 30 fouls between them, most of them called after the collision.
East went ahead with 37:16 left to play, when Louis Levin sent a ball into the corner, from where Yokem centered it to Lee, who sent it low past the on-rushing Feist.
In the 72nd minute, Feist punched out a low ball sent across the six-yard box by East's Michael Balog, but Krantz ran onto it and sent it back to the far post for a 3-1 East lead.