Chapel Hill had to travel a few short miles down the road to take on East Chapel Hill, but it seemed as if the Tigers had the home field advantage.
A quick rain shower prior to the contest left the field saturated, but that proved to be no challenge for Chapel Hill. Within the first 13 minutes of the first half, the Tigers jumped out to an early 3-0 lead that led to a 4-2 win over county rival East Chapel Hill.
The result improved Chapel Hill to 11-1 after the nonconference victory that boosted the Tigers to a 10-game winning streak, while the Wildcats fell to 4-3-3.
After neither team was able to retain possession towards the beginning of the game, Chapel Hill was the first to find an answer. Nine minutes into the first half, Sam Linker connected with the net on a penalty kick to give the Tigers an early 1-0 lead.
However, Linker was not satisfied.
In the minute following his first goal, Linker sailed the ball into the top corner of the net to further Chapel Hill’s lead to 2-0.
“It’s great to start the game off strong,” said Linker. “We knew that we were the better team, so we went out there and played like we wanted to win.”
The success continued for the Tigers in the 13th minute when Justin Mecham provided the assist for captain Ryan Shafiei to launch the ball into the goal to make it 3-0.
The Wildcats were not going to go down without a fight. Jack Roettig put East on the scoreboard to cut the Tigers lead down to 3-1.
Shortly after the goal by Roettig, Lee Folger came up strong after diving into the grass at the left side of the goal to stop a penalty kick that would have put the Tigers up 4-1.
East then gained momentum from Folger’s big stop to cut Chapel Hill’s lead to 3-2 after Osvin Ordonez-Gonzalez buried a penalty kick into the left side of the goal with 12 seconds left in the first half.
The Wildcats came out aggressive in the second half, but it was not enough to stop Paul McLaughlin from scoring the final goal of the game for the Tigers to push the lead to 4-2.
“We hung our heads after they came out early and scored three goals,” said East Chapel Hill coach Austin Collins. “I think we responded well, but we dug ourselves in too deep of a hole to get out of.”
From there on out, the rest of the game belonged to Chapel Hill’s defense.
“These guys are friends on and off the field and they talk trash all year,” said Chapel Hill coach Jason Curtis. “It’s a healthy rivalry and it’s always good to beat East.”
The two teams will face each other again in three weeks at Chapel Hill.