CARY – Charlotte Catholic put it together in the second half to record an 11-8 victory over defending champion Apex on Friday night In the North Carolina High School Athletic Association's state 4-A men's lacrosse championship at WakeMed Soccer Park.
Senior attackman Connor Pool had a hat trick for the winners, scoring three goals on eight shots, and was selected as the Most Valuable Player of the championship.
The game was close throughout, as the first quarter ended in a 3-3 deadlock and the score was knotted at 5-5 at halftime.
Catholic took its biggest lead of the night at 9-6 with 10:12 to play when senior defenseman Ryan Beltrando went coast to coast and tallied at point blank range. But Apex battled back, with Brandon Farrell scoring his fourth goal of the game and then Jakob Harrison scored to cut the margin to 9-8 with 7:52 remaining.
But Catholic struck back quickly, with two goals in a 14-second span, to take command and go back up by 11-8. Soph Zak Butz tallied for Charlotte Catholic and then Robbie Wallon took advantage of a loose ball and found the back of the net.
Farrell wound up with four goals and an assist for Apex, while Chandler Besser scored twice and had two assists.
Charlotte Catholic finished the season with a 22-3 record and was making its first trip to an NCHSAA men’s lacrosse final.
Apex wound up 19-3 and was in the championship for the third time in the tournament’s five-year history. The Cougars beat Lake Norman 12-11 in last year’s open championship and have compiled an outstanding 13-3 mark all-time in NCHSAA playoff action.
NCHSAA STATE 4-A MEN'S LACROSSE CHAMPIONSHIP
WAKEMED SOCCER PARK, CARY
Charlotte Catholic 3 2 3 3 — 11
Apex 3 2 1 2 — 8