Chapel Hill’s girls soccer team exited Saturday’s state championship with some hardware and a little history as well.
The Tigers took home the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3A state championship with a 1-0 win over Cox Mill at N.C. State’s Dail Soccer Stadium.
The title they earned will live forever.
The record they set might also.
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Chapel Hill completed its 2018 season with allowing just two goals, which ties the state mark set by two teams in 2015: Carrboro (which won its first of three straight 2A titles that season) and Hickory (which was upset 1-0 in the second round of the 3A playoffs).
“They’re just fantastic,” Chapel Hill coach Jason Curtis said. “Two goals all year, are you kidding me?”
The Tigers’ opponent from Concord was more than talented enough to jeopardize that record.
With speedy forwards who have been the nucleus of three straight 3A West final appearances, the Chargers put forward an attack that threatened the Chapel Hill in a variety of ways.
The back line of Mikayla Brenman, Isabel Leinenweber, Kyra Pollock and Elise Ederle blocked close-range shots amid a number of scrums. Holding midfielders Maddie Reiter, Ella Matishack, Claudia Reiter stepped in front of well-linked passes. Goalkeeper Audrey Calhoun was given no rest amid a pressure-filled evening when the Cox Mill shots came firing in from near and far, but no goal went into the back of the net.
“We have level after level of bodies and they just will not quit. They will not quit,” Curtis said. “They just have an engine that keeps going.”
The game started an hour and 10 minutes later than originally scheduled due to a lightning delay that postponed the start of the 1A title that preceded the 3A match. Lightning struck again in the 48th minute and the match was delayed for an hour, resuming play just after 11 p.m.
If the game could not be resumed, it was a possibility that the Tigers would have been awarded the 1-0 victory before regulation was completed. Fortunately for all involved, the storm passed quickly and the game resumed.
Chapel Hill’s lone goal came in the 16th minute off a corner kick, as Maddie Reiter headed in a ball from Leinenweber. Reiter was voted the game’s MVP.
The Tigers have now won two girls soccer state titles, the first coming in 2014.
And here’s another notable feat: Chapel Hill is the first school since 2015 to win both the boys and girls state title game in the same athletic season, when Weddington accomplished the feat.
“This ride is unreal,” Curtis said.