The hat trick wasn’t the first of Sam Linker’s career, but the Chapel Hill senior said it was his sweetest.
The 5-foot-8 midfielder scored once in the first half and twice in the second to lead the Tigers to a 4-0 non-conference victory Wednesday over Carrboro in a match Wednesday on the Jaguars’ field.
“It’s great to get (a hat trick) in a rivalry game,” Linker said. “They’re a good team. This was a fun game.”
The Jaguars (2-2-3), though, weren’t good by their own admission against the Tigers (5-1-0), who won their fourth straight contest.
“Our defense was off,” Carrboro Coach Jared Drexler said. “We didn’t win 50-50 balls. They did and they had great chances off of it. We weren’t organized. I’m very disappointed, especially with the effort.”
Carrboro’s loss was its second straight of the week at home. The Jaguars fell 3-2 Monday night to East Chapel Hill. Ralph Nayo and Osvin Ordonez-Gonzalez each scored one goal with an assist from each other, and McLaren Cantrell scored the game-winning goal with an assist from Jeffrey Solis.
Chapel Hill dominated play Wednesday from the start, despite leading only a 1-0 lead at halftime. But less than five minutes into the second half Linker provided a 2-0 lead.
With the ball in open field, Carrboro goalie Jonas Herfarth and a defender charged it. But Linker was there first to get foot on the ball with a shot that wasn’t much more than a flick. The ball’s slow roll was enough to cross the goal line before Carrboro’s Julien Gaut could retreat in time for a back save.
Three To Know
Aidan McCormick, Chapel Hill: The senior goalie preserved his shutout with three strong second-half saves off of Carrboro corners or free kicks.
Alexis Rodriguez, Chapel Hill: The Tigers celebrated the senior’s goal for the final score of the night more than any other. Linker explained, “He’s had some great shots like that in practice; it was great to see him get one in a game.”
Jonas Herfarth, Carrboro: The senior goalie may not have played his best game, but he was subjected to target practice with the lack of defensive communication in front of him. He made one spectacular save with the deficit still only 2-0. He was caught leaning to his right, but he looked back to get the block with his extended leg.
They Said It
“We’re playing great as a team. We have a couple great young sophomores (Tom Morioka and Cameron Kerr) and we have strong juniors coming off the bench. The chemistry is very good on this team.” – Linker.
Assists Roll Call
Linker’s hat trick came on assists from three players: senior Paul McLaughlin, senior Ryan Shafiei and sophomore Cameron Kerr.
Sophomore Conner Kimball accounted for the assist on Rodriguez’s goal.
Next: Carrboro will host the N.C. School of Science & Math at 6 p.m. on Sept. 7. Chapel Hill will host Eastern Alamance on Thursday evening at approximately 6:20, following a 4:45 p.m. junior varsity match.