Riley Harrison ended her career just like it began with Charlotte Country Day’s girls lacrosse team – as a state champion.
Harrison scored four goals and assisted on four others as the Buccaneers routed Durham Academy 18-2 on Saturday to win their fourth straight N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association state title.
“It feels amazing – as a senior, this is the way you want to go out,” said Harrison, who has committed to play at North Carolina. “This is the ultimate feeling, and it’s going to be pretty hard to top this in college and beyond.
County Day (20-1-1) took command early en route to winning its sixth state title in eight finals appearances.
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With Harrison drawing attention from the Cavaliers’ defense, it came down to her teammates to provide the scoring – and they delivered.
Dartmouth commit Natalee Palmer scored Country Day’s first three goals, Ohio State commit Jaclyn Perkins scored twice in a 21-second span, and Graham McIntosh (Dennison), Julia Loesch (Connecticut College) and Carter Williams (Coastal Carolina) also scored in building an 8-2 halftime lead.
“They face-guarded her and doubled her, which we though they’d do,” said Country Day coach Kristy Boyles of Harrison. “But she’s a very smart player, and has learned over the years to recognize that right away. She knows she needs to be a feeder instead of a finisher.”
But when Durham Academy (11-5) pulled the special defense, Harrison went to work. She scored all four of her goals and had her fourth assist in the second half as the Buccaneers ripped off 10 unanswered goals, and played the final 10 minutes on a running clock.
“We worked a lot this season on not forcing things. That’s why we were slowing it down and waiting for the right opportunity to score. But their pressure was incredible,” said Durham Academy assistant Beth Roberts, who subbed for head coach Debbie Rebosa, who gave birth to a baby boy two weeks ago.
“A couple of mistakes led to a lot of their goals. We’ve just got to put a couple pieces together in the coming years, and hopefully we can have a different outcome next time.”
Durham Academy, which won the state title in 2009, got first-half goals from Hannah Pope and Spencer Woody.