After reaching the finals of the Big 8 Conference tournament, Chapel Hill’s boys lacrosse team must now refocus on the state playoffs.
As the No. 2 seed from their conference, the Tigers (10-7) were expected to draw a wildcard opponent in the state playoffs’ first round May 8. (See nchsaa.org for tournament pairings.) Possible rematches with Carrboro in the second round and Cardinal Gibbons in the third round are possible.
“We’ll do the best we can with what we’ve got,” Chapel Hill coach Brent Voelkel said Thursday, his team whittled down by injuries to almost half its original size. “We’ve got playoffs starting next week, and if we win two games, we’re back to playing them again.”
Cardinals Gibbons (13-4) blitzed undermanned Chapel Hill 18-4 on Thursday night to win its second consecutive Big 8 Conference boys lacrosse championship.
The game started nearly an hour late because of a thunderstorm that rumbled through the area Thursday evening. But Gibbons has an artificial turf field that held up despite the rain, and the game was completed without incident.
Chapel Hill started the Big 8 final with just four defensemen, and then it lost face-off man Jake Johnson early in the game.
“It’s frustrating for my kids,” Voelkel said. “We were down to four defensemen. That’s not an excuse, but that’s reality. They’re a very good team, and they’re going to take care of business. They’re talented, and they’re deep.”
Chapel Hill’s Mike Wasson scored with three seconds left in the first quarter to keep CHHS within a 3-1 margin. But Gibbons scored nine second-quarter goals, including three in the final 25 seconds, to take a 12-2 halftime lead. Gibbons then put the game away with six more goals in the third quarter.
“It means a lot,” said Gibbons senior Stephen Albright. “We definitely have our goals set higher, hoping to win a state championship – and next year get nationally ranked.”