For the first time in over five years, East Chapel Hill and Chapel Hill got to play twice in the same season in girls soccer, and this time it brought the Wildcats joy going into the state playoffs.
On what was “Senior Night” for East Chapel Hill, playing its last game of the regular season at Wildcat Stadium, sophomore Carolina Hayter chipped a shot into the net with 13:33 remaining in the second half as East defeated Chapel Hill 1-0 Thursday night. Hayter finished a cross from striker Sierra Lindquist for the game’s only goal.
Lindquist had missed much of a match Wednesday at Jordan after the Falcons’ trainer declared she could not play, despite testing negative for a concussion following a hard shot to the face. With Lindquist, East’s top goal-scorer this season, off the field, Jordan came from behind to win 2-1 and to create a tie for first in the PAC-6 conference.
East coach Austin Collins was proud of how his team responded Thursday against their crosstown rivals.
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“We were getting pretty good chances, and their goalie did a good job of keeping us out of the net,” Collins said. “It was a good feeling to finally see one get over the line there.”
East (13-2-1, 9-1 in the PAC-6) completed a season sweep of the Tigers, including a 2-1 victory on April 17.
Thursday’s game was a makeup of a rained-out contest, which continued an annual theme. Each year, the two schools schedule two contests against each other, (though they haven’t been in the same conference since 2009), but one of the games was rained out each of the past four seasons.
Like East, Chapel Hill was coming off a disappointing conference loss the night before, a 6-3 decision against Cardinal Gibbons. Now the Tigers can only hope to play another game this year.
Coming off the 3A state championship in 2014, CHHS (9-8-2, 9-5) finished an uncharacteristic fourth in the Big 8 Conference and will have to wait to see if they get a wildcard berth when the state playoff brackets are released this weekend.
“I thought our keeper played well,” said first-year CHHS coach Jason Curtis. “We’re getting there. We probably will be a wildcard and get in to the playoffs. Once you get in, you never know. We might get a favorable draw and try to be a tough out.”
The Wildcats created numerous opportunities throughout the first half, mainly from the aggressiveness of Lindquist. Five minutes into the game, junior Brynn Donnelly set up Lindquist in the box, forcing Chapel Hill goalkeeper Karolina Honkakoski out of the net, but Lindquist couldn’t control her dribble.
Twelve minutes later, Hayter’s header off a corner kick nicked the outside post.
The Tigers’ best first-half chance came when Lianna Malawski’s skykick from 20 yards out was fielded by East keeper Kayla Kern in net with 5:18 remaining.
“Those are the tough ones for the keepers to judge,” said Collins. “It’s a decision on whether to come out and leave the goal exposed or stay in. I thought she did a good job of determining whether to come out or not. We talked about that at halftime.”
CHHS midfielder Meg Testen also had a chance in front of an empty net from 15 yards, albeit at a bad angle, but was her shot was knocked away by centerback Claudia Sollee.
Honkakoski finished with four saves.
PAC-6 seeding goes down to a coin flip
Down 1-0 in the first five minutes of Wednesday’s game at Barringer Field, Durham’s Jordan High School rallied behind goals from Briana Pinto and Harper Ellis for a 2-1 win that gave East Chapel Hill its only conference loss of the year in girls soccer.
Pinto scored with 12:27 left in the first half after collecting a long pass from Natasha Pate over the top of the Wildcat defense. Pinto outran the Wildcat defenders into the penalty area and neatly slotted the ball inside the far post for a 1-1 tie.
Jordan out-shot East Chapel Hill 9-0 in the first 20 minutes of the second half before Pinto slammed a hard shot at the goal from 25 yards out. East’s goalkeeper dove flat out to knock away the ball, but Ellis was waiting at the 6-yard box to poke in the rebound for a 2-1 margin with 18:59 remaining to play.
The win for Jordan, which was ranked No. 9 this week by the News & Observer, was the Falcons’ sixth straight since a 2-1 loss at No.4-ranked East Chapel Hill.
Jordan (14-3-1, 9-1-0) made it seven straight by squeaking past an underdog Northern Durham team 2-1 Thursday night, ending the season in a tie for first place with East Chapel Hill.
East Chapel Hill won a coin flip Friday to get the PAC-6’s No. 1 seed in the upcoming N.C. high school state playoffs. Jordan was seeded No. 2, while Northern (7-8-0, 5-5-0) and Riverside (7-6-0, 5-5-0) needed to break their tie for third before the playoffs begin.
East Chapel Hill was in the driver’s seat to clinch the conference’s championship outright after a goal by Caelen Demuth barely 3 minutes into Wednesday’s game. Demuth ran onto a ball chipped by Callie Williams in between Jordan’s goalkeeper and the Falcons’ back defender. Demuth slotted the shot for a 1-0 East lead.
“That was a very unlucky goal,” Jordan’s first-year head coach Mary Napier said. “It was just something we had to shake off.”
Williams later left the game with a twisted ankle, one of three East Chapel Hill seniors to miss much of the action.
After taking a hard shot to the face with about 12 minutes left in the first half, Lindquist was declared ineligible to play any further by Jordan’s trainer, though Lindquist passed a test for concussion symptoms.
Emma Daum, second on the team in scoring behind Lindquist, sat out the first half, still nursing a strained thigh muscle aggravated in an earlier win at Northern.