Heritage, in only itssecond season as a varsity girls lacrosse team, decisively topped Greenville J.H. Rose, 20-8, Wednesday in the opening round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs.
The Huskies came out aggressive, scoring 15 goals by eight different players in the first half.
Madeline Ade paced the Huskies with five goals, followed by Sydney Collins and Carly Sullivan with four and three, respectively.
“They played more aggressive [than recent games],” Heritage coach Michell Kline said. “They had much better passes than I’ve seen in the past. Kids are playing with more confidence than they have before, so a lot more of them are taking it to the goal than in the past. I think we’ve been afraid to take it to the goal, so I think they’ve found their confidence and [they] are driving.”
The Huskies (7-7, 6-6 Conference 3) entered the playoffs having lost four of the last five games of the regular season.
Several Heritage players made plans for the weekend, not expecting to have a playoff berth. Kline said the Huskies may not have a full roster for the team’s second-round game at top-seeded Apex (13-1, 10-0 Conference 2).
Nevertheless, the No. 4 Huskies have been working on their game, focusing on ground balls, passes and transitioning in practice.
“They definitely proved that they’ve been working hard and want to get their name out there,” Kline said.
Boys fall at Green Hope
Heritage’s boys team, a wild-card selection, fell 12-8 at No. 4 Green Hope in the Huskies’ first appearance in the boys tournament.
“We exceeded (expectations) beyond belief,” Heritage boys coach James Riedel said. “It’s just something where you have to give a lot of credit to our kids. This is really the fourth year that we’ve been around, and to push a team like Green Hope, we went way beyond what we thought we were going to do making the playoffs.”
Heritage (6-9, 6-7 Conference 4) finished with the same number of wins as last season, but the team was more competitive, beating conference foe Wakefield once and pushing Millbrook to a one-point decision.
“Teams had to prepare for us, and that’s something that you have to take a lot of pride in,” Riedel said. “If you really look at how we’ve progressed, you can’t really see it in the win-loss column, but you can see it in the goal differential, and I think that was one of the big things where we were trying to get better on defense and trying to get better on offense.”
Senior Ryan Varner led the Huskies with five goals and two assists.
Caryn Grant contributed to this report