On a dewy night where scoring chances skittered away like squirrels from a barking dog, crosstown rivals Chapel Hill and East Chapel Hill played to a 1-1 tie in a nonconference soccer match.
East Chapel Hill (2-2-2) and Chapel Hill (3-1-3) scored on similar plays less than seven minutes apart in the first half.
East tallied first at the 18:17 mark, with Jeffrey Solis stealing ball from a defender along the endline and centering it to sophomore Vinay Kathard, who touched it into the goal.
Chapel Hill answered when Ryan Shaifei sent a ball from the corner to Paul McClaughlin near the top of the six-yard box, and McClaughlin one-timed a hard shot that tied the game at 1-1 with 11:46 left in the first half.
Chapel Hill got off 15 shots and East 13, and both teams had at least five other good scoring chances inside their offensive third. Tiger goalkeeper Lu Lue and his East counterpart Lee Folger each came up with seven saves to preserve the tie.
“It was a wide-open game. That’s the way it usually is between us,” said Chapel Hill coach Jason Curtis. “Both keepers played well, and both teams missed some chances.”
The real winner on the night was the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. A portion of the proceeds from Friday’s match and concessions will go to the fun, which seeks to help veterans with traumatic brain injury and psychological health.
Both teams received permission from the N.C. High School Athletics Association to wear special uniforms as part of a commemoration of the 9/11attacks in the World Trade Center.
They said it
East Chapel Hill coach Austin Collins: “I wish we could have gotten a 2-1 results, but 1-1 is alright. We hung in there on defense.”
Quinn Albrecht was involved in two scoring opportunities for East late in the second half. In the 63rd minute he reverse-kicked a ball over his head to Porter Alexander, who fired a shot from beyond the far post that was saved by Lue. In the 70th minute, Max Feldman launched a shot from atop the penalty area that Lue knocked away as he collided with an East player; Lue was able to race back online just in time to save a shot by Albrecht from just off the corner of the six-yard box.
Three who mattered
Blake Johnson: The indefatigable Chapel Hill captain sparked repeated runs into East’s territory and continually raced back into Chapel Hill’s defensive third to blunt Wildcat counters.
Folger: East’s goalkeeper came off his line three times in the final 15 minutes to snare balls sent across the six, plucking them out of the air within an arm’s length of a Chapel Hill player. “The surface was extremely slippery,” Folger said. “I had to be ready to come off my line because the ball skipped so much.”
The 12th man: Students packed stands on both sides of the field at the standing-room-only event, providing a lively atmosphere.