“I was just playing lacrosse.”
That was East Chapel Hill senior midfielder Chris Cox’s simple explanation of how he managed to score the game-winning goal 12 seconds into double-overtime Friday night to give his team a 7-6 win over crosstown rival Chapel Hill.
In reality, Cox managed to scoop up a heavily-sought after ground ball off of a faceoff before sprinting towards the goal. At that point, he fired away and his shot managed to get past Chapel Hill senior goalie Kyle Hornik.
Immediately after, Cox was mobbed by his wildly joyful teammates, evidence of how big the win was for the Wildcats.
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Prior to Friday, East Chapel Hill (3-2) had lost consecutive games to Green Hope by eight goals (12-4) and Pope, Ga. by nine (15-6) and the Wildcats were hoping to bounce back with a win against a rival.
East Chapel Hill did just that thanks to stellar performances from Cox and senior goalie Vance Perkins.
“Those two losses definitely helped us progress as a team,” Cox said. “Especially those last two losses; we definitely got so much better even though we lost and I think that helped us going into this game tonight.”
With the win, the Wildcats have now won seven straight contests against Chapel Hill (4-3, 2-0).
Earning the win was anything but easy, though. In what was a back-and-forth affair, neither team led by more than two goals. Much of that had to do with the stellar play of both goalies.
Nonetheless, with his team trailing 6-5 late in the fourth quarter, Chapel Hill sophomore midfielder Duncan Tart managed to tie the contest with less than five minutes remaining. Tart’s goal changed the direction of the game as it set up overtime.
During the first sudden-death period, the Tigers looked poised to win as they dominated possession, but the visitors couldn’t find the back of the net.
Even though his team came up short, Chapel Hill coach Brent Voelkel still took away some positives from his young team’s performance on the road against a rival.
“We can stay in a close game and still have an opportunity to win,” Voelkel said. “Although it was disappointing to lose to these guys again, I think we can take a lot of positives out of this game.”
It was more of an ending point than a turning point, but the game was up-for-grabs before Cox’s fourth goal of the night found the back of the net in double-overtime to bring the contest to an end.
They said it
“As soon as they schedule comes out, the guys circle this one on their calendars.” – East Chapel Hill coach Dominic Koplar.
Three to know
Chris Cox, East Chapel Hill: In what was a tough game with goals being few and far between, the Wildcats needed their go-to guy on offense to have a stellar performance. Luckily for East Chapel Hill, Cox brought his “A” game, accounting for more than half of his team’s goals while also recording three assists.
Kyle Hornik, Chapel Hill: In what would ultimately prove to be a losing effort, the senior goalie was magnificent in the crease for Chapel Hill, as he ended the night with 27 saves.
“The guy is the heart and soul of our defense,” Voelkel said. “He’s been a starter for three years now. He’s helped us out so much.”
Vance Perkins, East Chapel Hill: Hornik’s counterpart also performed at a high level. Perkins was able to keep Chapel Hill from getting in a groove on offense and he was also able to distribute the ball to his teammates well.
By the numbers
00:03: East Chapel Hill scored goals with just three seconds remaining in both the first and second quarters.
5: East Chapel Hill won five more faceoffs than Chapel Hill, none bigger than the one at the beginning of the final overtime period.
East Chapel hill begins conference play at home against Jordan on Monday and the Tigers will go the road to face Ravenscroft on Tuesday.