CARY — East Chapel Hill’s Sydney Holman became the state’s all-time girls lacrosse leading scorer, helped the Wildcats win the N.C. High School Athletic Association state title and was named the championship game’s most valuable player on Saturday.
Holman scored five goals and had four assists in the 15-13 victory against Charlotte Catholic at the WakeMed Soccer complex.
Holman, a senior, holds the NCHSAA record with 128 career goals. She passed Waxhaw Marvin Ridge junior Amy Collins, who set the career record earlier this season at 124 goals.
“I can’t be more proud of her. She’s a team player,” East Chapel Hill coach Michelle Michaels said. “She’s continued to improve every year, and she works on her game every year.”
Holman was conference player of the year four years in a row, and almost singlehandedly helped the Wildcats defeat 2012 champion Green Hope in the semifinals, scoring 13 of the team’s 18 goals.
East Chapel Hill (16-2) won three state club titles before the NCHSAA sanctioned the sport in 2010. Charlotte Catholic (17-3), last year’s runner-up, won the first championship in 2010.
There were four lead changes and seven ties. The largest lead was East Chapel Hill’s 14-11 edge with just less than seven minutes to play.
But the Cougars weren't done. Catholic’s Natalie Wallon scored a power-play goal to make it 14-13 with less than five minutes left.
East’s Christine Kolk scored a short-handed goal off a free position with 3:50 left to give the Wildcats breathing room.
Wildcats goalie Reilly Johnson may have been the difference in the game. She made 11 saves, including nine in the first half that helped East to a 8-6 halftime lead.
“[Johnson] set the key for our defense,” Michaels said. “As soon as she starts making those saves, our defense starts making some good stops because they know she’s on and it seems like they start to be on too.”
Wallon, a sophomore, had seven goals and helped spark a run that turned the 8-6 halftime deficit into a 9-8 lead.
“We’re a very quick team, and we can get points on the board very quickly and in a very short amount of time,” Charlotte Catholic coach Dee Bier said.
Holman evened it up for the Wildcats, then Emma Jette gave the Cougars a 10-9 lead with 15:51 remaining.
The Wildcats responded with four consecutive goals from four different players to go up 13-10 with 8:13 left.
“You don’t get far from just having one superstar. You need an entire team, and that’s what this team is,” Michaels said. “Having Sydney just motivates the other girls.”
A flurry of fouls and penalties ensued, and four yellow cards were issued in the final six minutes. At one point it led to a two-man advantage for Catholic, but East Chapel Hill was able to gut it out.
“We needed to basically stall to kill the penalties,” Michaels said. “I was hoping our stick skills would carry us through the end of the game.”