RALEIGH – East Chapel Hill netted three goals in the opening eight minutes of play to build an early lead and push on to a 14-8 win over Weddington in the girls lacrosse state championship March 27 at Cardinal Gibbons High School.
The Wildcats got five goals from Riley Ellis and four from Talia Zuco to grab the program’s second state title.
In addition to her four goals, Zuco was dominant on draws, helping the Wildcats maintain possession after their scores and earning her the game’s Most Valuable Player award.
The Warriors got the scoring started as Elektra Koulouris found the back of the net off a feed from Ava Myers three minutes into the contest. That was the only lead the Warriors held in the game. East Chapel Hill scored the next three and six of the next seven goals on their way to a 6-2 lead and cruised from there.
The two teams traded early second half goals before Weddington’s Jordyn Case netted a goal off a free position shot with 15:22 to go in the game. With storms entering the area, the game was suspended for just over two and a half hours with the Wildcats up 12-6. Case finished with a pair of goals and pair of assists, leading the Warrior efforts.
After the weather delay, each team tacked on a pair of goals, but East Chapel Hill managed to hold possession in their attacking end, forcing the Warrior defenders to chase as the clock dwindled.
Weddington finished the season 17-2. The Warriors were 10-0 in Conference 13 play, winning the league championship.
In the playoffs, the Warriors defeated Panther Creek 18-5 in the first round, West Forsyth 17-4 in the second round, Northwest Guilford 15-4 in the third round, Charlotte Catholic 11-8 in the regional championship.
Weddington reached the state championship for the first time in program history.
The North Carolina High School Athletic Association recognized a player from each team for demonstrating exemplary sportsmanship throughout the year. Mia Farley won the award for Weddington.
Weddington Warriors roster
• Freshmen: Elektra Koulouris, Allie McNulty, Ava Nuckols and Taylor Reda.
• Sophomores: Emma Berg, Abbey McCarthy, Ella Russano and Allison Vickers.
• Juniors: Rylee Climer, Ellie Cote, Charlotte Hoffman, Karolina Kacinskas, Lindsay Moulton, Ava Myers, Ella Papke, • Maison Walters, Ellie Webb, Bella Wirth and Natalie York.
• Seniors: Lily Barger, Kylie Barsz, Jordyn Case, Mia Farley, Kerin McCarthy and Kendal Williams.
• Coaches: Peter Case and Robert Salminen.