East Chapel Hill has now won the North Carolina Field Hockey Association state championship eight consecutive years. In the mind of head coach Susan Taylor, Thursday’s 4-0 win over Charlotte Myers Park (16-6) was the best of the bunch.
“Because it gets better every year,” replied Taylor.
Thursday’s win – for the Wildcats’ 12th state championship since 2000 – was also a long time coming.
The game was delayed four times, three times by rain and once for a federal holiday (Veteran’s Day). Originally scheduled to be played in Winston-Salem, then at Northwest Guilford High School, it was finally contested at Mount Tabor High on Thursday.
“It was really tough,” said Taylor. “Im really proud of all the girls staying focused and working hard and coming out here to win.”
Once the NCFHA title match finally started, East (20-2) left little doubt as to who had the superior side. Junior Kila Hancock finished with a hat trick, while senior Caroline Kolk finished things in style by scoring on a penalty stroke with 8:00 remaining.
“I was so ready,” said Hancock. “I wasn’t going to lose this. This was three months of hard work and this wasn’t the day to work.”
Kolk will play at Northwestern next season.
“It’s good to know that everything I worked for and everything we worked for has paid off,” said Kolk, who played center-middle for four state championship teams at East. “It’s bittersweet. It’s nice to be going to college next year and experience something new. But it’s something sad because East field hockey is a family and it’s really sad to be leaving that.”
East outshot the Mustangs 12-3 and had eight penalty corners. Hancock finished with seven shots.
Eight minutes into the game, the Wildcats jumped to a 1-0 lead when Hancock knocked in a rebound off a shot by Sasha Bull. With 8:00 remaining in the first half, Hancock notched another goal, deflecting a shot from 30 yards away by Isabel Long past Mustangs goalkeeper Sydney Elder.
Up 2-0 at halftime, Hancock opened the scoring in the second half when when jabbed home a rebound from a feed by sophomore Maya Levin.
With 8:10 remaining, Reilly Reed was free on a breakaway when she was taken down by Elder, setting up a penalty stroke that was converted by Kolk.
East goalkeeper Lydia Treml posted the shutout on three shots.