Plenty of streaks were broken when Chapel Hill visited N&O No. 1 Carrboro on Wednesday night for a girls’ soccer match, but one that would not fall was the Tigers’ six-game unbeaten streak against their crosstown rival, scoring two unanswered goals to leave 2-1 victors.
Carrboro hadn’t lost since the 2014 North Carolina High School Athletic Association championship game, a streak of 27 straight matches.
“It’s a crosstown rivalry and whoever is in a Carrboro jersey, we want to beat,” Chapel Hill coach Jason Curtis said. “These tough games are to see what you have, to play through adversity. These rivalries … elevate your play.”
Carrboro struck first when Kate Sparling delivered a pinpoint 35-yard set piece to the right foot of Alexa Wojnovich, who volleyed the ball inside the left post to give the Jags a lead in the 15th minute.
Despite doubling Carrboro in shots, six to three, Chapel Hill went into the halftime break with a 1-0 deficit.
Just three minutes into the second half, the Tigers found an equalizer when Meg Testen’s long-range chip went just under the crossbar – the first goal Carrboro had allowed since Feb. 29.
“Coach said we need to focus on first scoring one goal and then we could think about another goal,” Chapel Hill left back Iida Hirvoven said. “We started to play better together.”
Two minutes later, the Tigers doubled their lead thanks to a wonderstruck set piece from Hirvoven that powered straight into the top right corner. That goal broke another Carrboro streak – the first contest allowing multiple goals since an 8-2 win at Roanoke Rapids on May 21, 2014.
“I was watching where the other team’s players were standing and I just shot it,” Hirvoven said. “I had a good feeling it would go in.”
The Tigers tightened down the back line and held the Jags to only three shots for the rest of the match. When Wojnovich went down with an injury, an already-depleted Carrboro squad’s comeback chances diminished.
Carrboro coach Jared Drexler thinks the loss will make his team better in the long run.
“The message after the game was that you learn from the mistakes you make. Sometimes you have a loss and its not the end of the world,” he said. “It stings, but we’ll learn and keep working hard.”
Testen’s quick goal to open the second half gave the Tigers the momentum they needed to pull out the victory.
They said it
With Chapel Hill looking for its first 3A state championship since 2014, Curtis was pleased with how his team played with the lead against a top opponent.
“We didn’t panic on the ball. We had composure,” he said. “Our theme this year has been ‘What are you doing today to get better?’ So we can improve and peak before the playoffs.”
Three to know
Iida Hirvoven, Chapel Hill: Hirvoven had the highlight offensive play of the night but also held down the defensive end of the pitch.
Kate Sparling, Carrboro: Sparling’s touch on set pieces not only set up a goal, but several other dangerous attacking chances for the Jags.
Gabby Adams, Carrboro: A versatile center back, she wreaked havoc in the Tigers’ attack, clearing numerous opportunities.
By the numbers
1, 2, 3: Chapel Hill has played the top three teams in the N&O Top 15 the season.
10: Shots for Chapel Hill, five of which were on goal.
6: Shots for Carrboro, four of which were on goal. Also the number of starters Drexler said his team was down during the second half.