CARY- For the first time, four North Carolina High School Athletic Association women’s state soccer championships will be decided this weekend in the 22nd annual NCHSAA finals at SAS Soccer Park.
The 4-A championship will be played Friday night at 7:30 p.m., and then a tripleheader on Saturday will feature the 1-A, 2-A and 3-A title games. This will be the inaugural year for a separate 1-A championship since the number of schools playing the sport has increased to the threshold for having a separate championship.
Apex (25-0-2) will take on Weddington (21-4-1) in that Friday night 4-A battle, with the Lady Cougars led by Tri-Eight Conference Player of the Year Jennifer Partenheimer. Apex has scored a whopping 128 goals on the season while allowing only 12 and has won 15 conference championships since 1990.
For the first time in the last five years and only the second time in the last 14 years, Raleigh Broughton is not playing in the state championship. Apex knocked off the defending champs and has marched into the finals for the first time since 2002.
Weddington makes its first visit to the NCHSAA finals and has gotten hot since finishing third in the Southwestern 4-A Conference. All-state senior Katie Lutz paces the Warriors and freshman Ashley Aragona tops Weddington’s goal-scorers with 19.
The 1-A championship opens Saturday’s program at 10 am, sending Raleigh Charter (18-2-3) against Kernersville Bishop McGuinness (16-4-1). Both are in the NCHSAA women’s soccer finals for the first time.
This is just the eighth season in the history of Raleigh Charter, although the Phoenix have made it at least to the quarterfinals in each of their three years as NCHSAA members. Junior captain and striker Camille Morgan is Raleigh Charter’s all-time leading scorer already and has 43 goals and 23 assists this far this season.
Bishop McGuinness has rebounded from an 0-4-1 start to reel off 16 consecutive victories entering the state final. Hannah DeAngelo is the Villains’ leading goal scorer with 14
At 1 p.m., the 2-A final kicks off with Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons (20-4-2) taking on Shelby (16-4-4), making its first appearance ever in an NCHSAA women’s soccer state championship. Senior goalkeeper Claire Carter has been a standout for Shelby all year long while senior forward Katie Raines has scored 19 goals for the Golden Lions.
Their efforts will have to counter the one-two punch of Lauren McAnallen (26 goals) and Lindsey Byrd (23 goals) for Cardinal Gibbons, which has outscored its playoff opposition 24-0.
Jacksonville White Oak (26-1) is back to defend its 3-A title and the Lady Vikings will battle Charlotte Catholic (22-1-3) in the 4 p.m. match.
White Oak is led by the MVP of last year’s state final, Tandy Banks, who has knocked in 48 goals and has 19 assists, but Stephanie Rose scored five goals on Wednesday night in a 7-0 victory in the regional final over Burlington Williams.
Catholic is in the championship match for the fifth time, with state titles in 2002 and ’03. Junior forward Casey McCormick has 21 goals for the Cougars, whose tough defense has helped shut out 19 opponents this season.
The Friday night game will be on the stadium field at SAS Soccer Park while the Saturday games will be on the Koka Booth Field.
This will be the 14th year in a row that the event has been held in the Raleigh area. The Raleigh Sports Consortium serves as the primary host city partner for the women’s soccer championship, along with the Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau. Wendy’s and the Carolinas Ford Dealers are the presenting sponsors for the NCHSAA sports program.
NORTH CAROLINA HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
22nd ANNUAL WOMEN’S SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS
SAS SOCCER PARK, CARY
FRIDAY, MAY 25, 2007
Class AAAA: Apex (25-0-2) vs. Weddington (21-4-1),7:30 pm
SATURDAY, MAY 26, 2007
Class A: Raleigh Charter (18-2-3) vs. Kernersville Bishop McGuinness
(16-4-1), 10 am
Class AA: Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons (20-4-2) vs. Shelby (16-4-4),1 pm
Class AAA: Jacksonville White Oak (26-1) vs. Charlotte Catholic (22-1-3), 4 pm