Cedar Ridge got off to a fast start on Friday at WakeMed Soccer Park, but was overwhelmed and eventually defeated by Weddington, 21-6, in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1A/2A/3A boys lacrosse championship.
Cedar Ridge came out with a determination that seemed to surprise Weddington.
They outworked the Warriors in the faceoff circle, attacked them with aggressive defense, and controlled the play on offense. The result was a 2-0 lead after the first quarter. Both goals came from defenseman Cole Bullard, first on an individual effort and next on a bullet from the right side with no one stepping up.
“We had a game plan and we knew what we could do,” said Cedar Ridge head coach Patrick Kavanaugh. “We knew we could compete physically. We got lucky on a couple of plays, but we were winning faceoffs. Maybe they were a little overconfident and I’ll take advantage of that when I can.”
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Cedar Ridge (12-4) made it 3-0 just 21 seconds into the second quarter on a goal by Sean Tobin.
The 0-3 deficit woke up Weddington (18-1), who ended the half with a 12-4 lead.
It started with UNC commit Alex Helms, who beat his defender and fired a shot past goalie Zak Berry to get Weddington on the board. That was quickly followed by back-to-back goals from Hunter Fasano and Anthony Leonard on identical looking plays. Fasano would score again on blast from center to give Weddington a 4-3 lead less than four minutes into the second quarter.
Kavanaugh called a timeout to try and slow the momentum, but Weddington had found their rhythm and matched the aggressiveness that Cedar Ridge opened with. Sean Tobin would cut the deficit to 6-4 with 5:38 left in the third, but Weddington would end the half on a 6-0 run to all but put things away.
“They’re a very skilled team,” said Kavanaugh. “It’s the type of skill that comes from hard work. I tip my hat to them. They are deserved champions.”
Berry was pulled at the half and replaced by Ryan Wallace, but it made no difference to Weddington, who continued their scoring onslaught. Austin Leonard finished the game with five goals and an assist and was named the Finals MVP. Hunter Fasanaro had four goals while Cole Dinwiddie and Alex Helms each had three.
Tobin finished off the hat trick in the fourth quarter, providing a feel good moment and showing that his Red Wolves wouldn’t stop playing until the final whistle.
“We’re the second best team in the state and I can live with that,” said Kavanaugh. “We want to be the first best, but we’ll work on that next year.”
Weddington 21, Cedar Ridge 6
Weddington: 0|12|7|2 - 21
Cedar Ridge: 2|2|1|1 - 6
Goals—Weddington: Alex Helms (3), Austin Leonard (5), Hunter Fasanaro (4), James Shipley, Patrick Burke, Cole Dinwiddie (3), Eamon Murphy, Michael Burns, Anthony Todaro (2)
Cedar Ridge: Cole Bullard (2), Sean Tobin (3), Jacob Miles
Assists— Weddington: Hunter Fasanaro, Austin Leonard, Eamon Murphy, James Shipley (2), Nathan Fasanaro, Michael Burns (3), Anthony Fasanaro.
Cedar Ridge: Kelsey Acome, Carter Danku
Records— Weddington 18-1. Cedar Ridge 12-4.