The first time Chapel Hill met East Chapel Hill in girls lacrosse this season, the archrivals produced another one of their instant classics.
Down 6-5 at halftime against the defending state champions, Chapel Hill rallied to tie the game in the closing minutes and got the game-winning goal on a shot from sophomore Paige Haskins with 11 seconds left in regulation for a 13-12 victory.
Within the first 15 minutes Thursday evening at Culton-Peerman Stadium, the Tigers removed all the drama from their rematch. Chapel Hill scored the game’s first 9 goals and went on to win 17-7.
“The first time we played, we were just about two weeks into our season,” Chapel Hill coach Christen Campbell said. “Now the team has been able to play together more and has gotten to know each other better.
“They all played together, and they weren’t relying on any one player.”
Be that as it may, Haskins alone scored enough goals to match the Wildcats this time. She scored twice in the game’s first 80 seconds and had 8 goals and 2 assists by game’s end. Heading into the weekend, she had totals of 32 goals and 39 points – both being team highs.
“Just playing East motivates us,” Haskins said. “They’re our crosstown rivals, and a win against them seems more fulfilling than others, with them being the defending state champions and us being an underdog.”
The Tigers seemed more fired up from the conference game’s opening minute. Taking a feed from Rebecca Heine off the opening draw, Haskins scored her first goal just 16 seconds into the contest.
“One of my favorite moments from this game was when Nugget (Heine) was open and saw that Paige Haskins was even more open, so she passed it to her,” Campbell said. “That just shows what sort of team we have become, playing together.”
While Chapel Hill scored 8 times on its first 9 shots, the Wildcats looked progressively more passive. East didn’t get on the board until Davida Halev scored off a free position opportunity with 8:23 left in the first half.
East got goals from Maddie Futch and Marissa Creatore to trim the margin to 10-3, but Chapel Hill answered with scores by Paige Childers and Haskins in the half’s last 75 seconds to lead 12-3 at the break.
Haskins scored her sixth goal of the game just 27 seconds into the second half to initiate a running clock, reducing East’s chances for a comeback as the time flitted away. The Wildcats never again got closer than 13-4 when Marina Jones scored off a free position chance.
East Chapel Hill coach Emily Sternbach found the Wildcats’ lack intensity stunning.
“This was just a real blow for us,” Sternbach said. “Hopefully, this is the low point for us, and we start back up from here.”
Halev and Creatore each ended up with 2 goals for East (4-5 overall, 2-3 in NCHSAA Conference 4,) while Jones, Futch and Lena Johnson each had 1 goal.
Childers and Jill McLeod each scored 3 goals for Chapel Hill (8-2, 5-0), with Childers adding 2 assists to bring her team-high total to 10. Rebecca Heine ended up with 2 goals and 2 assists, while Claire Heine added 1 goal.
With its fifth straight conference win, Chapel Hill remained neck-and-neck with Cardinal Gibbons (8-2, 5-0) for the top spot in Conference 4.
Led by Maryland signee Shelby Scanlon, the Crusaders host Chapel Hill at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday.
“That’s going to be another tough one,” Haskins said. “But if we play hard and play together again like we did today, it should be a good game for us.”