Going on the road to face an undefeated opponent which won 14 games a season ago would be a challenge for most teams.
But this season, Cardinal Gibbons girls lacrosse has made everything look easy.
The N&O No. 1 Crusaders stayed in top form Thursday, defeating No. 5 Chapel Hill 18-2 to extend their winning streak to 27 games.
Since losing in the N.C. High School Athletic Association East final to Apex in 2014, the Crusaders are unbeaten against Triangle-based teams.
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Not wasting any time to get going, Gibbons (5-0) scored the game’s first four goals and led 13-2 at halftime en route to its ninth consecutive win against Chapel Hill (5-1).
Senior attacker Jordan Lappin, a Boston College recruit, led the Crusaders with a five-goal, two-assist performance. But she was just one of many who starred offensively for Gibbons as nine different players scored at least one goal.
Among those, junior midfielder Elizabeth Wilson found the back of the net four times, while junior midfielder Grace Nelson and senior midfielder Cassie New each had two-goal games.
“I was really proud of our execution on offense with our movement, and with our ability to play tight defense,” Gibbons coach Patricia Alexander said.
Through five games, Alexander’s team is averaging 17 goals per game and has scored at least 16 times in each contest.
Much of that has to do with the Crusaders’ chemistry, depth and pure athleticism.
On multiple occasions Gibbons was able to either force a turnover or scoop up a groundball and seamlessly transition from defense to offense in a matter of seconds, while doing so in a direct, but composed manner.
“We work on that a lot in practice,” Lappin said of Gibbons’ transition offense.
Still, the Tigers put forth a good fight and Chapel Hill coach Dan segal said his team needed to play a team as talented as Gibbons in order to improve.
“We hadn’t played a team anywhere near Cardinal Gibbons,” Segal said. “For our kids as individuals, it’s good for them to grow and play someone like this, and as a team it shows us what we need to do.”
Chapel Hill senior midfielder and co-captain Lundy Fine, an Elon recruit who scored a goal in the loss, echoed those sentiments.
“Those are the people I need to be playing against,” Fine said. “So honestly, it helps us all to play a team like this.”