Standout athletes Morgan Brandewie and Ali Cyr-Scully are eager to get their college careers started, but both have one last high school task to finish before they’re done.
Both plan to play in one of this week’s N.C. Coaches Association East-West All-Star Games in Greensboro. Brandewie, a four-year starter and an all-state selection as a midfielder for Chapel Hill, is set to play in Tuesday’s women’s soccer game at MacPherson Stadium. Cyr-Scully, East Chapel Hill’s all-time top scorer in women’s basketball, will play Monday in the Greensboro Coliseum.
“Morgan was arguably the best captain we've had, male or female, in my time at CHHS,” Chapel Hill soccer head coach Jason Curtis said. “She talks the talk and walks the walk. Her passion for the team and game is contagious, and she is a great role model for our younger players.”
“Ali was a true leader both on and off the court, and I will miss her attitude and toughness,” Wildcat basketball coach Michelle Wood said. “I am truly looking forward to being able to see her play at UNC next season.”
Cyr-Scully already has matriculated at the University of North Carolina, where she’s begun classes and has been practicing as a member of head coach Sylvia Hatchell’s women’s basketball team.
“The practices are much more intense,” Cyr-Scully said. “Everything is faster. The girls are all bigger, stronger and quicker. Everything is a notch above high school.
“Everything is still so new to me. It’s very familiar, because I grew up here, but it’s still a new experience.”
Though she’s already had a taste of college, Cyr-Scully said she still would enjoy playing one last game with the high school class of 2016.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it,” Cyr-Scully said. “It does feel a little like going backward a bit, because it’s a high school game, but it will be fun.”
Brandwie has been in Chapel Hill most of the summer. She will head to Emory University on Aug. 15. But she’s been far from idle this summer.
Brandewie played with her club team, ’97 CASL, as they won their U.S. regional and went to nationals in June in San Diego as one of the U.S. Youth Soccer Association’s top 16 clubs.
Last Monday, she played with the Railhawks College Program players in two full scrimmages against the U.S. U-17 national team, losing the first match but tying the second.
“That was a really good experience, knowing we were playing against the top 36 under-17s in the nation,” Brandewie said.
Brandewie also anticipated a good match on Tuesday.
“I’m excited to get a chance to play with all these girls,” Brandewie said. “I’ve met some though ODP (the Olympic Development Program), or played against their club or high school team.
“It’ll be nice to play a full 90-minute game instead of just working out on my own or playing in small-sided games.”
Brandewie, who also has been working out individually as per instructions sent from Emory’s trainers, was eager to join her college teammates in Atlanta.
“I’m super exceed about going to Emory,” Brandewie said. “The academics there are awesome.”
Curtis said he was less excited to see a player like Brandewie graduate.
“You cannot replace a player like Morgan, but we will refer to her and her leadership when we set the expectations for future captains,” Curtis said. “That is her legacy.
“She is a special player, and we were so lucky to have her for four years.”
Brandewie was one of four players named all-region off Chapel Hill’s 17-3-2 conference champions, who went undefeated in Big-Eight matches: joined by fellow senior midfielder Emily Ball; sophomore defender Elise Ederle; and first-year forward Alex Kerr.
Brandewie played center back for her CASL club, and Curtis suggested she might play that role at Emory.
“She has the mentality for it,” he said.
Cyr-Scully was the most prolific scorer in the history of women’s basketball at East Chapel Hill, with 1,661 points. Her senior year, she averaged 21 points a game, with 2.2 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals per contest. She hit 196 of 549 3-point tries (35.7 percent) over four years.
“Ali will be extremely hard to replace,” Wood said. “She started every game for the past four years, played almost every minute of those games, and never missed a practice for her career at East.
“We will definitely miss her stats – scoring, assists, steals, etc. – but what I think I will miss most is her character and mental toughness. She is the most fierce competitor I have coached.”
Wood said Cyr-Scully’s toughness will help the 5-5 guard find her way at the college level. She’s joining a group of recruits who were rated by ESPN as the No. 13 class in the nation, and that was before adding Olivia Smith, the all-time leading scorer (1,709 points) at Cardinal Gibbons.
“She is small for the ACC, but I think about how hard she works and how smart a player she is,” Wood said. “She plays just as hard defensively as she does offensively, and that should help.”
If you’re going ...
The N.C. Coaches Association East-West All-Star Games are spread over three days at three different locations.
Basketball: Monday, July 18, Greensboro Coliseum – women’s game at 6:30 p.m.; men’s game at 8:30 p.m.
Soccer: Tuesday, July 19, MacPherson Stadium – women’s game at 6:30 p.m.; men’s game at 8:30 p.m.
Football: Wednesday, July 20, at Jamieson Stadium (Grimsley High School) – game begins at 8 p.m., fireworks at halftime.