ECH eases past Northern and into girls' 4-A soccer quarterfinals
East Chapel Hill breezed into the Elite Eight of the state 4-A girls’ soccer championship with a 3-1 win over Northern on Tuesday, but Wildcat coach Austin Collins kept it in perspective.
“I’m the first coach to not win the conference in East Chapel Hill women’s soccer history, so technically I’m the worst coach to ever coach the girls,” Collins said, referring to Jordan’s PAC-6 4-A title this season.
But in his first year as girls varsity coach, getting to the state quarterfinals matches the best any of his predecessors accomplished.
“Our goal is to try to make it one step further,” he said. They play the winner of Panther Creek and West Johnston on Friday.
“This is as far as we’ve been since my freshman year. I’m hoping we can have a win this time” in the quarterfinals, said senior Lauren Douglass.
“I think tonight was the best we’ve played all season. The midfield was totally dominating and just was working it around their team,” she said.
Douglass banged the net in the fourth minute of play to give East Chapel Hill a 1-0 lead. She now has four goals and 16 points.
“Eva Killenberg played it out wide, and I took it to my right foot and just had a rip at it,” Douglass said. “I saw that the keeper was a little off balance, and I just went near post up in the corner.”
East Chapel Hill sophomore Brynn Donnelly took a cross shot from Riley Foster to make it 2-0 at 17:12. Donnelly now has six goals and 17 points.
“I just hit it left foot to the top corner,” Donnelly said. “It was kind of a rebound shot; a lot of people touched it.”
Ball pressure won the day for the Wildcats, she said. “We didn’t let them breathe at all on the ball.”
Killenberg, the Wildcats freshman phenom, scored with under 12 minutes remaining in the first half, taking a second chance cross-in from Claudia Sollee. Killenberg now has 15 goals and 34 points.
“It kind of bounced around, and rolled back out to her, and she hit it again, and I got it in with a header,” Killenberg said.
With 10:29 remaining in the game, Northern junior standout Nicole Crutchfield broke up the shutout, drawing Wildcats freshman goalie Kayla Kern out of the net and drilling the ball to the right. She ended the season with 41 goals and 98 points.
“She really is dangerous,” Collins said. The key to the win was not just containing Crutchfield, but smothering her teammates from making passes to her, Collins said. “The defense did awesome for sure, especially Dylan Bedell in the middle, who won every header.”
NCHSAA 3rd Round Playoff
East Chapel Hill 3, Northern 1
Northern |0 |1 — 1
East Chapel Hill |3 |0 —3
36:26 — Lauren Douglass (ECH)
17:12 — Brynn Donnelly (ECH)
11:44 — Eva Killenberg (ECH)
10:29 — Nicole Crutchfield (N)
Records: Northern 10-9-2, East Chapel Hill 14-4.