East Chapel Hill, Carrboro to meet for state field hockey title today
Elianna Goldstein’s goal on the second sudden-victory round of penalty shots lifted East Chapel Hill past Charlotte Catholic 2-1 after four tiebreaking rounds in the N.C. Field Hockey Association state semifinals at Forsyth Country Day School here Friday.
With the win, the No. 1-seed Wildcats (17-3) — nine time NCFHA state champions — advance to today’s state championship match against No. 2 seed Carrboro (14-7), also at Forsyth Country Day School, at 3 p.m.
Carrboro downed No. 6 Chapel Hill 3-1 in the day’s other semifinal.
Chapel Hill will play Charlotte Catholic in the consolation final at 1 p.m. today at FCDS.
East split two regular-season meetings with Carrboro, both in overtime. The first time the teams met, Carrboro won 2-1 in OT, but East returned the favor, winning in double overtime in the next go-round 1-0.
East, which has won five straight state titles, got off to a slow start Friday but was save by the shutout goaltending of Grace Haley. Haley saved all five shots she faced in the first half.
“Charlotte Catholic lost its first four games of the season but was undefeated since then,” ECH coach Susan Taylor, a former Wildcat player herself, said. “We were facing very tough competition and I think nerves got the best of us in the first half. They dominated us in the first half.”
No. 4 seed Charlotte Catholic might have dominated the period, but it was East Chapel Hill that drew first blood. Sophomore Farrell Guest broke up the 0-0 deadlock off a feed from Addie Agatucci for a 1-0 lead with 10:29 left in the 30-minute half.
Charlotte Catholic knotted it up with about 11 minutes left in regulation and that was it for both teams’ offenses.
The score remained tied through two 10-minute 7-on-7 “sudden-victory” overtime frames.
The teams then lined up for a shootout of five penalty strokes, each team alternating shooters through the five rounds.
Marissa Creatore and Goldstein each scored to offset a pair of goals by Charlotte Catholic and it was on to another sudden-victory round, this one of penalty shots.
When Charlotte Catholic made its opening shot, Creatore hit a win-or-lose goal of her own. Goldstein made hers and Haley blocked Charlotte Catholic’s second try for the win.
In Friday’s other semifinal match, Katie Wilson scored twice and Maddie Smith once to lift Carrboro into the championship game.
“This was the best game we played all season,” Carrboro coach Morgan Cloutier said. “We finally put together all the pieces we’ve been working on throughout the year.”
Cloutier said today’s state championship showdown will test both teams, physically and mentally.
“I expect it to be a high-strung, emotional game,” Cloutier said. “There’s pressure on them to repeat — they’ve won five straight — and there’s the intensity of the cross-town rivalry.”