The Second Round Match
East Chapel Hill 0, Eastern Alamance 0
PK Shootout: ECH 4, EA 3
aka The Match That Refused To End
An intense, scoreless match through all regulation time,
extra time and golden goal time.
Even the best of 5 PKs resulted in a tie.
East won on
A) the triple play of goalie Tierney McConnell who
1) scored on East’s 5th PK attempt to tie at 3
2) blocked EA’s 5th PK attempt to keep the tie after PKs
3) blocked EA’s 1st PK attempt in the shootout which meant
B) Anna Ford’s PK shootout goal between McConnell’s blocks proved to be the winner
In the context of Friday May 10th it should be remembered that the Wildcats Women’s Soccer 2nd round match was sandwiched between the Wildcats Women’s Lacrosse quarterfinals match vs Broughton (East won 10-9) and the Wildcats Men’s Lacrosse quarterfinals match vs Chapel Hill (East lost 12-11)
It made for a very long and late night for all the Wildcat faithful.
And, also, we were grieved to find out the next morning that beloved educator and founding principal of East Chapel Hill High, David Thaden, had succumbed to cancer that same evening. It would seem, in retrospect, that the Women’s Soccer Team carried the mantle of his memory, and the legendary teams that thrived under his auspices, as they progressed through the rest of the tournament.
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The Third Round Match
East Chapel Hill 1, Northwood 0
aka The Rubber Match
Northwood was the only Big-8 team to defeat East Chapel Hill in the regular season. The April 3rd match in Pittsboro went the Chargers way 2-1. The April 29th match in Chapel Hill went East’s way as they shutout the Chargers 2-0.
East finished 13-1 and won the conference title. Northwood ended at 9-5 and tied for 3rd with Northern.
This time they didn’t meet as conference rivals. East was the #6 seed and Northwood was the #19 seed. More than honor was on the line, the winner would advance to the quarterfinals.
So, on this cool mid-May evening, it was back to square one.
Amid an extremely close match it was only Brynn Adams’ goal at 5:15 in the first half that separated the two.
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The Quarterfinal Match
East Chapel Hill 1, Jacksonville 0
aka The East Regional Semi-Final
The lone goal was best described thusly:
“Jooste hammered twice and then Jeske drove in the winner.”
From the Jacksonville Daily News:
“They probably had a few more opportunities than we did, but we played hard,” JHS coach Dave Miller said. “The game was played 18 to 18. They had something in front of the goal and they knocked it in. We pushed late, but we couldn’t find the net. ‘”
Both longtime tournament players, the Wildcats and Cardinals paths finally collided in the 2019 3A quarterfinal match.
Recent Tournament Records:
2018 #4 Jacksonville fell to #2 Chapel Hill 2-1 in the East Regionals. Chapel Hill went on to win the 3A Championship. East Chapel Hill #12 was upset in the first round 2-0 by #21 Western Alamance.
2017 #14 Jacksonville made it to the 3A fourth round before falling to #1 Terry Sanford, along the way upsetting #3 Chapel Hill 5-4. East Chapel Hill #18 (4A) fell to Laney #14 2-1 in the first round.
2016 #2 Jacksonville (3A) made it to the Championship match before falling to Weddington 2-1. East Chapel Hill #15 was upset by #18 Heritage in the first round 2-0.
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The State Semi Finals
East Chapel Hill 2, Clayton 0
aka The East Regional Final
The Wildcats dominated in the first half and by netting a pair of goals before halftime effectively put the Comets on their heels for the rest of the match.
East got on the board as Anna Ford dribbled in from the left sideline and let loose a cannon shot that just whizzed past the Comets’ keeper’s outstretched hands into the right front corner at the 19:33 mark.
The Wildcats’ second score came on a corner kick by Sophia Coon that Emma Jeske headed in between two defenders and the goalie at the 7:29 mark.
East had not been to a championship match since 2004 when it won its third title. It was Comet’s winningest season in Clayton High School history and was only the third time this season that they had been shutout.
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The 3A Championship Match
East Chapel Hill 2, T.C. Roberson 0
aka The State Championship
It was the goal that came so early into the match, 38:10 to be exact, that set the tempo and momentum for the entire match that followed.
After Roberson took a shot on goal Abby Davis brought the ball across center midfield before passing ahead to Sophia Coon. She then passed to Anna Ford on the left wing who instantly threaded a dart crossfield to Kate Sheslow who was slicing in from the right wing. She met the ball very near the endline and booted it back to the center where Coon waited and drove the ball into the back of the net.
Fifteen minutes later, 23:07 to be exact, saw Coon dribbling the ball up the left side looking to all the world like she was waiting for a passing lane to open. Instead, from almost 30 yards out, she unleashed a cannon shot that was going to pass under the crossbar. Roberson’s goalie, #33 Amber Gay, was able to get her fingertips on it and deflect it upwards into the crossbar. For a second or two it appeared she had gotten the save as the ball seemed to come straight down from the crossbar but as she struggled to wrap the ball up it became apparent that the ball was indeed across the goal line.
The 3A Championship was last match of the Women’s Soccer Championships day at NC State’s Dail Soccer Stadium. Originally scheduled for an 8PM start it finally got started shortly after 10PM. It was the only championship match of the day that DID NOT go into extra time. It was a little less than quarter ’til midnight when the final seconds ticked off.This was #3 seed Roberson’s 7th visit to the championship match and would have been their first victory. Their last appearance was in 2008 when they lost to White Oak 4-0. Averaging 5 goals per game, the championship match was the only time this season that the Rams were shutout.
From the Asheville Citizen-Times:
This was #6 seed East Chapel Hill’s 4th visit to the championship match and became their fourth title. The others came in 1998, 2000, and 2004.
The Wildcats did not allow a single goal through the entire NCHSAA tournament.
Sportsmanship Awards went to Roberson’s Caroline Hemphill and East’s Caroline Parker.
The 3A Championship Match MVP went to East’s Sophia Coon who scored both of the Wildcats’ goals.
Photos by Phil Stapleton and entire tournament gallery is here.