High School Sports

Chapel Hill Tigers turn away Northwood in boys lacrosse playoff opener

T.J. Malloy (22) of Chapel Hill moves the ball up field against the pursuit of Jordan Dalton (27) of Northwood. The Chapel Hill Tigers played the Northwood Chargers in a boys lacrosse game that took place in Chapel Hill, N.C. on Saturday, May 7, 2016. Chapel Hill won 11-5.
T.J. Malloy (22) of Chapel Hill moves the ball up field against the pursuit of Jordan Dalton (27) of Northwood. The Chapel Hill Tigers played the Northwood Chargers in a boys lacrosse game that took place in Chapel Hill, N.C. on Saturday, May 7, 2016. Chapel Hill won 11-5. newsobserver.com

Northwood played better in its second meeting with the Chapel Hill boys lacrosse team, and it won the second half. But Chapel Hill’s 7-0 run in the first half mattered more, and it gave the Tigers a commanding lead that led to an 11-5 victory in the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1A/2A/3A boys lacrosse playoffs.

“I was disappointed that we turned the ball over a lot. It was kind of sloppy and we need to be playing better this time of year,” Chapel Hill coach Brent Voelkel said. “In that regard, I was a little disappointed, but you know, we did get a victory and we advanced. But we’ve got to clean up a lot of things.”

Northwood fought as hard as they could, led on the offensive end by Riley Koch. Koch is listed as 5 feet, 5 inches and was often the smallest player on the field, yet always found a way to fit in the gaps in the Tigers defense and make things happen. Koch had his team’s first goal and represented a lot of the qualities that coach Kevin McDaniel was proud of in his team.

“I’m proud of these guys. They didn’t give up, that’s all you can ask for in a state playoff game,” McDaniel said. “We are still trying to get past the first round, this is still a new program, growing every year, we are trying our hardest to get past that first round, and it didn’t go down this time.”

Northwood season ended in Chapel Hill Saturday night, but Coach McDaniel and his program have a lot to build off of after a strong season.

“This was the best record we’ve had ever, in the history of Northwood, so this group goes home today still breaking record for our program,” McDaniel said.

Chapel Hill will move on to visit Topsail in the second round of the state playoffs. Coach Voelkel would like to see his team play a full game like how they played during that 7-0 run that propelled his team to victory against Northwood.

“There was about half the time especially in the second quarter where we had some really good plays, which I was pleased with, but we’ve got to do it for a full game,” Voelkel said.

Over the next few days of practice, the team will look to clean up a few things and prepare for their next opponent as they hope to keep advancing in the state tournament.

“We have a good quality team,” Voelkel said. “When we play a full game, we are a very competitive team and we can go as far as we want.”

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