2023 4A Men’s Lacrosse Championship

DURHAM – The Cardinal Gibbons Crusaders men’s lacrosse team followed the example set by their women’s team counterparts earlier in the day and held off the Charlotte Catholic Cougars to win the with a 12-10 win on Friday night at Durham County Memorial Stadium.

With the 2023 title, the Crusaders have six championships since the NCHSAA first sanctioned lacrosse playoffs 12 years ago. Charlotte Catholic has now finished as runner-up twice.

Senior Ollie Evans opened the scoring with an unassisted goal two and a half minutes into the game. Senior Ayden Turner added the second goal half a minute later, and the Crusaders never looked back as they never relinquished the lead. Evans added another goal later in the first, and Junior Holden Manuel also scored in the period to take a 4-3 lead into the second.

Turner caught fire in the second, scoring three goals and helping to push the Crusaders to an 8-4 lead at the half. Turner was the offensive catalyst for the Crusaders as he ended the night with four goals and an assist. Cardinal Gibbons only scored three goals in the second half, but that proved to be more than enough to secure the win. The Crusaders were also stronger on faceoffs in the second half, winning seven of 11 after the break compared to just five of 13 in the first half.

For Charlotte Catholic, juniors Jack Ransom and Colin Mendicino each recorded second-half hattricks as the Cougars attempted the comeback.  Mendicino found the net four times in the game and added an assist.

The Crusaders’ defense held firm down the stretch and did not allow a goal in the final six minutes of the game. For his efforts in goal, junior Chris Schwartz was named MVP of the title game. Schwartz finished the night with eight saves.

The NCHSAA is committed to recognizing and promoting good sportsmanship and has partnered with the NC Farm Bureau to honor two student-athletes at each of this year’s championships with Sportsmanship Awards for excellence throughout the season. The 4A Lacrosse Sportsmanship Award winners were Thomas Maken from Cardinal Gibbons and John Macuga from Charlotte Catholic.

Charlotte Catholic Scoring Summary Cardinal Gibbons
0-1 9:31 – O. Evans
0-2 8:56 – A. Turner
5:29 – J. Macuga 1-2
1-3 4:05 – H. Manuel
3:32 – B. Leonard 2-3
2-4 2:18 – O. Evans
1:57 – B. Leonard 3-4
3-5 8:38 – A. Turner
5:24 – C. Mendicino 4-5
4-6 5:06 – A. Turner
4-7 :51 – C. Carmouche
4-8 :04 – A. Turner
4-9 11:46 – B. Greco
9:53 – J. Ransom 5-9
5-10 8:00 – P. Brown
5-11 4:22 – B. Dolan
4:01 – C. Mendicino 6-11
2:18 – C. Mendicino 7-11
:59 – C. Mendicino 8-11
8-12 8:00 – C. Malone
6:32 – J. Ransom 9-12
6:25 – J. Ransom 10-12