Apex boys’ lacrosse coach John Hayden knows a lot about Charlotte Catholic, but he isn’t going to try to overwhelm his players with tendencies and an elaborate scouting report before tonight’s N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A championship game.
“We’ll talk a little about what we want to do and what they like to do,” Hayden said. “But the game is going to come down to who picks up the ball, or who gets a shot on the cage, or who makes the big defensive play.”
Hayden said both teams are strong defensively and that the game might be decided at midfield. Apex is strong there with Colby Lalicker and Mike Daum.
But Apex is balanced. Lalicker leads with 49 goals, but five players have 30 or more.
Charlotte Catholic (18-2) advanced with an 11-7 win over Northwest Guilford. Apex’s defense was stellar in its 10-2 semifinal win over Durham Jordan.
“We played really well on defense against Jordan,” Hayden said. “I don’t think we’ve played our best game yet. You hope that you can play your best in the biggest game.”
Role models: Cary High junior Justin Ress got a lesson in role modeling last week while swimming with the Marlins of Raleigh club team.
The team worked out with the Raleigh Racers, a club for youth with impairments, on Tuesday and participated in the Charlotte Grand Prix on the weekend. The Charlotte meet included former Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps.
“It hit me that the Raleigh Racers looked up to us just the way that we look up to the college swimmers and Olympians in Charlotte,” said Ress, the 2014 N.C. High School Athletic Association 500-yard freestyle champion.
Ress swam beside seven-time NCAA All-America Dan Wallace in the consolation finals of the 400 individual medley. Wallace was recently suspended from the University of Florida team for violating team rules.
Nevertheless, Ress said it was was exciting to swim beside the NCAA runner-up in the 500 free and 400 IM.
“He beat me, but it was it was fun racing against him,” Ress said.
Sherman resigns: East Chapel Hill football coach Jon Sherman has resigned after only one season as head coach. The Wildcats were 3-8 and won two of their last three games.
Sherman is leaving to become an assistant coach at Fayetteville Byrd under new Byrd head coach Scott Barbour. Sherman and Barbour coached together at Fayetteville Britt.
“My coaching roots are in Fayetteville,” Sherman said. “I’m going back to a place where I’m going to be with a lot of my friends.”
Sherman, 32, was an assistant on ECH coach Bill Renner’s staff before assuming the head coach when Renner retired last year. Sherman previously had been an assistant coach at Britt and Fayetteville Methodist University.
Undefeated teams: The NCHSAA 4A softball playoffs has four undefeated teams: Richmond County (20-0) and Fayetteville Cape Fear (23-0), which play each other, plus Alexander Central (30-0) and North Davidson (29-0).
West Johnston (16-6) plays at Middle Creek (19-2) in an Eastern semifinal on Friday at 7.
Lost drawing: A lost coin flip puts Chapel Hill on the road to Swansboro Saturday night for a 3A quarterfinal girls’ soccer game. Chapel Hill and Cardinal Gibbons shared the Big Eight 3A Conference title after splitting regular-season games.
Gibbons won the flip and advanced as the league’s top seed while Chapel Hill advanced as a No. 2.
Chapel Hill beat Gibbons 2-1 on Wednesday night, but Chapel Hill (20-1) must travel to Swansboro (19-4).
Sanderson plays at Wilmington Hoggard in a 4A game while Raleigh Charter travels to Whiteville for a 2A matchup in other Saturday games.
Leesville coach: Jack Rogers, the Leesville Road athletics director, said the school anticipates naming a new head football coach within the next two weeks. The Pride is replacing Chad Smothers, who resigned to become the athletics director at Knightdale.