Whether its UCLA in men’s basketball, the Boston Celtics in the NBA or UNC in women’s soccer, all dynasties must end.
That’s what happened to East Chapel Hill field hockey on Wednesday night.
It just so happened that their crosstown rivals were the ones who ended it.
Midfielder Julia Grant launched a rocket from 16-yards past East goalkeeper Lydia Treml off a corner with 14:57 remaining for the game-winning goal as No. 1-seeded Chapel Hill defeated No. 5 East 2-0 at Forsyth Country Day School’s Smith Field. The Tigers advanced to Saturday’sNorth Carolina Field Hockey Association public school championship game.
Never miss a local story.
In the process, CHHS (17-1) ended East’s run of eight consecutive state championships.
The Wildcats earned its first two state championships during Chapel Hill coach Anna Long’s junior and senior seasons at CHHS.
“This is huge,” said Long. “I’m so proud of these girls to beat them three times in a season. We started so shaky. They’re an incredible team and coached very well.”
Chapel Hill (17-1) will face No. 2-seeded Charlotte Myers Park for the state championship on Saturdaymorning. The Mustangs defeated No. 14Carrboro 5-0 in the other semifinal behind a hat trick from sophomore Megan Frost.
It’s Myers Park second consecutive appearance in the championship game. Last year, they lost to East Chapel Hill at Mount Tabor High School.
“I think we got tired and deflated,” said East coach Susan Taylor, who will go without a state championship for the first time in her nine-year career. “We couldn’t get it in the cage and we got frustration. I’m so proud of every one of my girls.
Midfielder Carolina Murphy earned the corner after she floated into the box, where the ball was kicked by an East defender. Ines Yofree set up Grant with an unobstructed pass to the top of the box, where Grant notched the game-winner.
With 4:10 remaining, Bryn Davis added an insurance goal from the middle of the box, writing the ball over Treml’s outstretched pads.
As a sign of unity, many CHHS players designed their hair in power buns.
“We did it for the first playoff game,” said Grant, referring to a 4-1 win over R.J. Reynolds. “We played so well, we decided to do it again. We’ll definitely do it again during the state championship.”
East dominated possession in the first half, outshooting the Tigers 7-0. Senior Kila Hancock had the best opportunity to score first with 4:10 remaining, receiving a feed from Elizabeth Head. Hancock’s wrist shot bounced off the pads of Chapel Hill goalkeeper Ryann Brinkman, and the subsequent rebound shot by Head lofted into Brinkman’s chest.
Brinkman finished with five saves.
With 2:10 remaining in the first half, Hancock had another opportunity from the top of the penalty circle, but Brinkman kicked it away. The Wildcats had four corners in the first half, including one after time expired. East’s fierce pressing defense held the Tigers to only three shots, none of them reaching Treml.
The Tigers attacked strongly to open the second half, earning two penalty corners in the opening ten minutes.
“It took us awhile to get into the flow of the game,” said Long. “We did too much dribbling in the first half. We were able to play more at our pace in the second half. We created space for ourselves. We had some good two-touch passing, some give-and-gos. We were much better in the second half.”
Myers Park jumped out 2-0 against Carrboro behind goals from Frost and Shields Norvell. Frost scored two more goals in the second half, along with a marker from senior Sophie Levinson.
Saturday’s match ...
Was played well after the deadline for Sundy’s edition of the Chapel Hill News. See www.newsobserver.com and Wednesday’s Chapel Hill News for coverage of the championship game.