CHAPEL HILL — In a match that took two days to complete, Cary became the fourth team from the Tri-9 Conference to move into the second round with a 2-1 first-round win against East Chapel Hill on Thursday night in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A playoffs.
The Imps (11-6-2) and Wildcats (12-5-4) started the game Wednesday evening, but just over 26 minutes in, bad weather moved in and lightning forced the teams to stop, finishing Thursday night. Host East Chapel Hill was leading 1-0 on a penalty kick by Dylan Bedell in the 15th minute.
The Imps scored just over a minute before halftime as Bria Dixon beat a couple of defenders and knocked in a shot from 15 yards out to tie the score at 1.
Cary’s Phoebe Shurtleff scored the eventual game-winner early in the second half on a shot from the left on a pass from Kyra Kandel.
The Imps played at Millbrook – which defeated Apex 3-0 – Saturday.
Holly Springs 6, Northern Durham 1: Rachel Noel and Mary Anne Savage, senior co-captains for Holly Springs, have seen the program grow during their time with the Golden Hawks.
Noel can recall her freshman year, when the Golden Hawks struggled to post a winning record; but after two consecutive years reaching the postseason, Holly Springs has recorded the most wins in its history this season.
On Wednesday, Holly Springs defeated Northern Durham 6-1 in the first round, setting up a second-round matchup at perennial power Leesville Road on Friday with a chance to make history. The Golden Hawks (14-5-2), who also won a 2011 playoff contest against Jordan, have never reached the third round.
“Every year we’re getting more and more skilled,” said Noel, who scored against the Knights (13-5). “Tonight we definitely played quick and got the ball moved up the field, which scored the goals.”
Junior Kathryn Vollrath opened the scoring a minute in on a cross from sophomore Abby Sanders.
Dominique Babbitt made it 2-0 on a header on an assist from Noel during the 16th minute. In the 20th minute, the Golden Hawks added a goal when a cross from senior Megan Poth caused a Knights error close to the goal.
“Megan Poth has incredible speed and she set up a lot of our goals because she’s so hard to contain,” said Holly Springs coach Brian Miller.
Noel added a goal 10 minutes before halftime, giving Holly Springs a 4-0 lead.
The youngest Golden Hawk got into the scoring column during the second half when freshman Sierra Raynor found the net before Vollrath added her second goal to put Holly Springs ahead 6-0.
Defensively, Holly Springs is anchored by a trio of seniors: Savage and Rachel Mitchum, with Jensen Brendel in goal. Brendel had few shots against her Wednesday because of the speed and play of Savage and Mitchum, who each stopped potential first-half breakaways by senior Carly Baker.
“We defend and attack together as a team,” Savage said.
Panther Creek 2, Wakefield 0: As storm clouds rolled in, there was drama on and off the field Wednesday night at Panther Creek.
The Catamounts got on the board when Lindsay Pasteris scored with 11:06 left in the first half of her first varsity game. The sophomore, moved up from junior varsity for the playoffs, scored again with 37:16 remaining in the second half.
Two seconds later, shortly after 8 p.m., the game was delayed due to lightning. The delay lasted more than an hour before officials called the game in favor of Panther Creek. NCHSAA rules state that if a game is suspended at or beyond halftime, the score is final if it cannot be finished the same night.
The rain-soaked pitch was no longer playable after the lightning subsided.
While Panther Creek coach David Grant said he would have loved to complete game, he understood why the decision was made to call it final.
Panther Creek played at Jordan on Friday.
Green Hope moves to third round: Undefeated Green Hope played two rounds in two days and cruised through both. The Falcons defeated Riverside 6-0 on Wednesday, then eliminated Sanderson 6-1 on Thursday.
Green Hope awaits the winner of Cary-Millbrook in the third round.
Correspondents Dave Malenick, Steven J. Justice and Shannon Scovel contributed to this report.