Midway through Chapel Hill’s game last week against Big 8 opponent Oxford’s J.F. Webb, as the Tigers passed the ball back and forth between themselves, looking for an opening to increase their 7-0 lead, one of the Warrior players turned to another and said, “They’re just playing around.”
Webb’s head coach, Tyree Barbee, standing along the sideline, looked back over his shoulder and asked rhetorically, “Wouldn’t you if you were ahead by 7-0?”
Looking as relaxed as in a pre-game shoot-around, the Tigers eventually tacked on two more goals to bring an early end to Wednesday’s 9-0 win. Nine different players scored for Chapel Hill, which extended its current unbeaten streak to four matches.
Coming off a 4-0 win against Northwood on Monday, Chapel Hill (5-1-2, 2-0-0 Big 8) scored four times in the opening five minutes Wednesday.
Head coach Jason Curtis was able to play his entire varsity roster, allowing some players to experience fresh positions. For example, Chapel Hill goalkeeper Lu Lue spent much of the game playing in the field. Forward Harrison Broun filled is as keeper after scoring a first-half goal.
“We have 22 players, and a game like this allows us to play all 22,” Curtis said. “This helps keep them motivated in practice, and it helps with with competition for spots on the field. Everyone wants to keep their spot.”
The win against Webb (4-7-0, 1-2-0) was Chapel Hill’s first shutout this year and the Tigers’ first game ended by the state’s “mercy rule” since 2014.
Midfielder Jeff Richardson scored the coup de grace with 10:49 left on the clock, knocking in a rebound off the hands of Webb goalkeeper Jacob Capps after he knocked away a shot on goal by Chapel Hill defender Justin Meacham.
Chapel Hill led 7-0 at halftime after goals from Nick Hebert, Johnson, Sam Linker, Alexis Rodruigez, Brown, Matthew Arnold and Shamin Zarei.
Linker led the night’s scoring by assisting on three goals, including the first two.
“He didn’t get to play against East Chapel Hill, so he was ready to play this week,” Curtis said. “He’s defintely a playmaker. He makes things happen.”
By the numbers
19: saves by Webb’s Jacob Capps.
0: saves by Lue and Broun, who never faced a shot on goal, though Broun needed to come off line to smother one Webb chance in the 66th minute.
2: total shots by Webb, both by sophomore Jesus Prezas.
2: straight wins by Chapel Hill.
9: goals scored by Webb in three matches preceding Wednesday’s game at Chapel Hill.
They said it
“We’ve been working a lot on one-touch finishes in practice. Tonight we had nine goals, and all but one were on one-touches, either off assists or a rebound,” Curtis said.
Three female officials comprised Wednesday’s crew: head official Kayla Polonsky in the middle, Kristian Scott and Sarah Curry serving as the lines officials. Though they’ve officiated many girls games, Wednesday marked only the second time the three worked together at a high school boys game.
Polonsky said some boys still were adjusting to their presence this season.
“I’ve been shoved a few times, and the players feel free to disagree with your calls,” she said.
Still, she said, Wednesday’s game went well, with few fouls and even fewer arguments over any call.
Webb played next-door rival Franklinton on Thursday and returns to Big 8 Conference action Monday with a match at Northwood.
About midway through its season, Chapel Hill has a busy week coming up, starting with a game at conference leader Cedar Ridge (5-3-1, 3-0-0) at 6:45 p.m. Monday. Wednesday at 6:45 p.m., the Tigers host Orange (5-4-1, 1-1-0) and then head over to East Chapel Hill at 6:45 p.m. Friday for the second leg of their annual series with the Wildcats (4-1-2, 2-0-0 PAC-6). East and Chapel Hill tied 1-1 in their first meeting of the season.