Weddington defeats Cedar Ridge for 1A/2A/3A mens lacrosse state title
Posted May 19
Cary, N.C. — Weddington trounced Cedar Ridge, 21-6, Friday night at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary for the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1A/2A/3A men's lacrosse state championship.
“These guys have had a target on their back all year from the beginning of the season,” said Weddington head coach Erik Gundersen. “ A lot of people were talking about Weddington possibly being the best team in the state, and they got everybody’s best games. Everybody wanted a piece of us, and they answered the bell.
“To see a plan come to fruition – it was supposed to be a five-year plan, but it turned into a six-year plan – I won’t turn it away. I feel great for these kids, and I feel great for these coaches.”
Cedar Ridge controlled the first quarter, shutting out the Warriors with two goals off the stick of senior Cole Bullard.
The Red Wolves continued their scoring streak with a goal from senior Sean Tobin only 21 seconds in to the second stanza, but it was all Weddington afterward.
Weddington responded after a sloppy opening frame with a 12-1 run after Tobin’s goal over the final 10:53 of the first half to take a 12-4 lead at halftime.
“I think that was more just us having championship jitters,” Gundersen said. “I could see it; they couldn't pick up a ground ball for crying out loud. I called a timeout and I could see it in their eyes.
“It was just a matter of getting something to relax us. It took 13 minutes for it to happen. We finally got that goal and we took off from there.”
Junior Austin Leonard capped a hat trick in the second quarter, taking only 20:11 to accomplish the feat. Leonard led all scores Friday night with five goals and added one assist.
Leonard was named the championship game’s most valuable player.
The Warriors continued their offensive onslaught – and quickly – in the second half, scoring 50 seconds into the third quarter off the stick of senior Cole Dinwiddie.
Cedar Ridge fell down by 12 goals with 7:28 remaining in the third frame, succumbing to the running clock.
Despite an insurmountable lead, the Red Wolves didn't quit.
Tobin completed the Red Wolves’ lone hat trick three minutes in to the final quarter, but it was far too late for a Cedar Ridge comeback.
“Our legs ran out and they took advantage of it,” said Cedar Ridge head coach Patrick Kavanaugh.” Credit to them; tip of the hat."
Weddington seniors Hunter Fasanaro and Alex Helms joined Leonard and Tobin with hat tricks Friday night. Fasanaro tallied a five-point match with four goals and an assist.
Junior Michael Burns tallied a game-high three assists and added a goal for four points in Weddington's historic win.
Cedar Ridge finishes the season 12-4 overall and claimed it second-straight Conference 6 championship en route to its first NCHSAA state title game appearance.
We're the second-best team in the state, and I can live with it," Kavanaugh said. "We want to be the first best but we'll work on that next year."
The Warriors finish the season with a 19-1 overall record en route to its first NCHSAA men’s lacrosse state championship.