The two best girls’ soccer teams in the NCISAA squared off last Thursday with first place on the line.
Cary Academy was undefeated in the conference heading into a showdown with rival Durham Academy, which sat a game behind. When the smoke cleared, the Chargers were still alone at the top (11-0, 6-0 Triangle Conference) after a 6-2 win.
The Cavaliers (9-2, 4-2 Triangle) were left two games out of first with three regular-season matches left.
“They are really good,” said DA coach Susan Ellis, whose team lost to Cary earlier this month by the same score. “But our team didn’t give up. They fought hard.”
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Cary relies on its offense to set the tempo, and Thursday was no exception. It took less than four minutes into the match for the Chargers to score off a header by UNC recruit Abby Staker.
Jessica McCoppin made it 2-0 with an unassisted goal at the 32:37 mark.
“We have outstanding offensive players who have been outscoring everybody,” Cary coach Jeff Costa said.
DA caught a break on a foul, and Lakin Berry took the assist off a kick by Austen Dellinger and knocked in a score to cut the lead in half.
But the Chargers’ defense was as stifling at their offense was powerful. Cary reeled off three consecutive goals to take a commanding 5-1 lead with 25:11 left.
The Cavaliers ended the drought on another penalty opportunity. Grace Drewry’s kick was blocked by Cary goalie Aiden Lefebvre, but the ball bounced right back to Drewry, who punched it in.
The loss ended DA’s streak of four consecutive wins. Ellis said a third match with Cary is not out of the realm of possibilities.
“We plan on seeing them again, and the next one will be even more important,” she said. “Our ambition is still to win a conference championship.”
Out in style: North Carolina Central women’s tennis team ended its season with a 4-1 loss to Florida A&M in the MEAC tournament semifinals. Senior Aissa Muamba was the lone winner, earning her 59th singles victory, the best record since the Eagles transitioned to Division I.
NCCU advanced to its fourth semifinal in the past five seasons, but have yet to advance to a championship.
All-Academic golfers: Three Eagles teammates were named to the 2016 MEAC Men’s Golf All-Academic Team. Seniors Michael Wilson and Jerome Bostwick and sophomore Jordan Bohannon, along with 19 other student-athletes, were honored for GPAs of 3.0 or better.
Blue-White: The University of North Carolina has several local players on its football team, and it appears a couple are moving their way up the depth chart. At least that’s the way it looked at North Carolina’s annual Blue-White Game in Kenan Stadium on April 16.
Rising senior Khris Francis, an all-state running back when he played at Hillside, carried the ball eight times for 50 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown run in the first half.
True freshman Jordon Brown of Southern Durham had the best performance of any area player in the Blue-White game. He rushed 11 times for a game-high 85 yards and caught two passes for six yards.
Jordan’s Joey Mangili, last year’s starting punter, performed well, with four punts for an average of 38.3 yards. But he may get some competition from rising junior Corbin Daly of Charlotte, who averaged 43 yards a punt on his three tries.
Women’s basketball: NCCU coach Vanessa Taylor has signed two freshmen to National Letters of Intent.
Kieche White is a 5-foot-5 guard from Washington, D.C. White scored over 1,900 points and led Friendship Collegiate Academy to four consecutive state championships.
“Kieche is a talented guard with a great feel for the game,” Taylor said. “She brings great skills to us, with sharp shooting from the perimeter, craftiness getting to the basket, and good court vision.”
Erin Houser is a 6-foot-2 guard/forward from Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School in South Carolina. She averaged 12.8 points and six rebounds in her senior season.
“Erin is a long athletic forward who has a very versatile skill set,” Taylor said. “She runs the floor well, dominates the boards and can score inside and out.”