The Chapel Hill girls lacrosse team played on Friday like a group that clearly understood the concept of win or go home.
Facing Jacksonville in the second round of the N.C. Athletic Association playoffs, the Tigers prolonged their season with a 18-4 victory in which they dominated from start to finish.
The win comes one year after Chapel Hill (14-3) lost to Wakefield in the second round of the playoffs and the fear of another early exit motivated the Tigers to perform as well as they could.
“Last year we lost our first playoff game against Wakefield and I think that that was hard for us because we had a good season last year and then we were one and done,” Chapel Hill coach Dan Segal said. “I think we knew we had to have the urgency this year coming in.”
Segal couldn’t have asked for a better performance from his team against Jacksonville (9-4). It didn’t take long for Chapel Hill to get going as it began the game on an 9-0 run and Segal’s team wouldn’t allow the Cardinals to score until there were less than five minutes remaining in the first half.
Chapel Hill utilized a bevy of players on offense, as seven different Tigers scored, including sophomores Anne Crabill, Shannon Wulff and Julia Ziaee, who each finished with three goals apiece. Crabill and Wulff also led Chapel Hill with three assists each.
According to Crabill, she and her teammates executed well because of their patience and willingness to make the extra pass.
“I think our unselfishness came out tonight,” Crabill said. “We’ve kind of struggled in some of the others games because we were looking for a quick pass and I think tonight everyone had their heads up and that was nice to see.”
Despite leading by eight at halftime, the Tigers didn’t take their foot off the gas and scored the first seven goals of the second half to end any chance of a Jacksonville comeback.
Jacksonville coach Colin Stanford was pleased with the effort he got from his team despite the final result and he expects the Cardinals to make strides in the future.
“We’re a really new program and we’ve got some really young athletes,” Stanford said. “We’ve got nowhere to go but up.”
Sophomore Allison Ingraham scored a team-high three goals for Jacksonville. .
Chapel Hill’s win sets up a possible third round game against Broughton, which plays Greenville’s J.H. Rose on Saturday. The Tigers lost 15-13 against the Capitals in March and Crabill said the idea of a possible rematch excites her.
“We struggled last time we played them in the midfield, so I think our transition game coming off of this win will really help us,” Crabill said.
In another NCHSAA girls’ playoff game Friday, No. 3 East Chapel Hill lost 14-8 at No. 1 Wilmington Hoggard. The Wildcats finshed their season at 9-10 overall.
In boys matches, No. 2 seeded East Chapel Hill lost a heartbreaker, 13-12 Friday night at home, to No. 3 Raleigh Millbrook. East’s Wildcats led 10-7 entering the fourth quarter before Millbrook mounted a late rally.
East sophomore Taylor Greeno scored four goals, while his senior brother Jordan Greeno, senior Chris Cox and sophomore Simon Perkins each had two goals. Millbrook (12-6) was led by seniors Joe Cooper (5 goals, 1 assist) and Garrett Patnesky (3 goals, 2 assists) and junior Cruz Weariness (4 goals).
Elsewhere in the boys’ tournament, due to rain, Chapel Hill (8-9) postponed its Friday match with Northwood (11-5) to 7 p.m. Saturday night at Culton-Peerman Stadium. Conference 6 champion Carrboro had a first-round bye and is scheduled to host Croatan (11-6) on Tuesday. Cedar Ridge (14-3) also skipped the first-round bye and is slated to host Jacksonville Northside (13-2) on Tuesday.
A No. 3 seed, Croatan forced No. 4 Orange (8-8) out of the boys’ 3A/2A/1A tournament with a 9-8 decision Friday night in Newport.