May 16, 2012
The North Carolina High School Athletic Association's third annual state lacrosse championships are scheduled for this weekend at the WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, with a stellar field that includes only one loss among the four teams.
The men's final is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Friday, with the women's championship starting at 11 o'clock Saturday morning. In the third year for lacrosse in the NCHSAA, the tournaments have been conducted as "open" tournaments with all classifications competing for a single crown. As the number of schools fielding lacrosse teams grows, it is anticipated that the sport will become classified as other sports have been.
The men's lacrosse state championship can be heard live on 99-9 HD-3 The Ticket or on HighSchoolOT.com.
Unbeaten Lake Norman (22-0) will take on unbeaten Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons (20-0) for the men's state crown, and then undefeated Cary Green Hope (19-0) will battle Charlotte Catholic (19-1) for the women's title. That women's state championship is actually a rematch of a dramatic regular season contest, as Charlotte Catholic's only loss on the season was a 9-8 defeat at the hands of Green Hope.
Lake Norman eliminated Charlotte Myers Park in the men's Western Regional final 13-7 while Cardinal Gibbons won a 6-5 nail biter over Raleigh Athens Drive.
High scoring Lake Norman is paced by senior Danny Brown, who has found the back of the net 65 times this season to go with 36 assists while Will Scott has contributed 56 goals.
Matt Skowron leads the Gibbons attack with 40 goals, and he has committed to Princeton University to play football. Ben Huger (Virginia Military Institute) has tallied 24 goals and senior keeper Pete Shammas has come up with some huge saves, including 15 in the win over Athens Drive.
Charlotte Catholic, which won the inaugural NCHSAA women's lacrosse crown in 2010, is topped in scoring by Natalie Waller (62 goals, 16 assists), and Perri Strassner tallied six goals in the Cougars' regional win over Marvin Ridge. Danielle Ruffalo has been excellent in goal, allowing just five a game.
Green Hope held off East Chapel Hill 17-14 on Tuesday night behind six goals by sophomore Katherine Smith to enable the Falcons to advance to the state final for the first time.
Green Hope has been led all season by a strong midfield of Maggie Auslander, Mackenzie Koeller and Campbell Stanley. The Falcons are averaging over 17 goals a game, with Auslander, who will continue her playing career at North Carolina, and Smith leading the attack.
Tickets for the championship are eight dollars. Parking at the facility is five dollars, and no outside food and beverage may be brought into the stadium.
In last year's finals, Apex rolled past Charlotte Myers Park 24-3 in the women's championship and Northwest Guilford beat East Chapel Hill 13-9 for the men's crown. The games will be available to watch on demand on Time Warner Cable systems throughout the state.
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