We’ll be honoring the best performances of the fall sports season as the year moves along in boys soccer, volleyball, cross country, girls tennis and girls golf. Nominations are encouraged. Email.
Top football performances will be honored in The Starting 11 feature that appears midweek.
Athlete names are in bold.
The fastest hat trick: Not only did Cleveland’s Hunter Lee score seven goals in three games to lead Cleveland to the JUSA Cup title, he did the near-impossible on Thursday. In 54 seconds, Lee scored three goals in the championship game win over West Johnston.
To break open a scoreless game, Lee found some room at the top of the box and beat the keeper and make it 1-0 early in the second half. Twelve seconds later, Lee was on the end of a cross for his second goal. Forty-two seconds after that, the Rams had another cross near the goal. This one got away from the goalie, and Lee was there to tap it in for what’s likely the quickest hat trick you’ll see this season.
Top goals: Lee, a junior, is now tied for second in the state in goals after the first week, tied with Greenfield School’s Jackson Stone. Garner’s Lucas Quiroga and North Lenoir’s Taiwan Hines each have six.
Wilson champions: Fike and Hunt went 3-0 in Rotary Cup, a boys soccer competition held at Wilson’s J. Burt Gillette Complex.
Fike’s girls tennis team won the Wilson Cup competition hosted by Barton College. Jena Hebbard, Macy Hebbard, Avery Rose Brown and Anna Blair Thomas went undefeated.
Lee County takes the Bell: Lee County’s boys soccer team started the year off right by winning the Battle of the Bell tournament at Fayetteville’s Terry Sanford High. Cesar Yanes had four goals and Jose Aguirre had three in the tournament.
NRCA, Carrboro overcome the field: Playing in one of the toughest volleyball tournament fields ever assembled, defending N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association champ North Raleigh Christian won the Best of North Carolina tournament at Concord’s Cox Mill High.
The Knights beat reigning N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A champ Cox Mill in the title and 4A champ Green Hope in the semis. Cardinal Gibbons and Broughton were also in the field, giving it four teams in the PrepsNow area preseason top six.
Carrboro, meanwhile, went 4-0 in the Chapel Hill tournament. The defending 2A champs were led by UNC recruit Destiny Cox, who had 50 kills in the tournament. Chapel Hill’s Kaya Merkler had 70 kills in the first week alone.