In a game that started out very tightly, Cardinal Gibbons used a 6-1 run late in the first half that extended into the opening minutes of the second half to stretch out a lead and outpace Charlotte Catholic 14-8. The Crusaders claimed their third straight state championship with a dominating performance in the draw circle and offensively.
Charlotte Catholic grabbed the lead just more than a minute in as Megan Flesch popped a shot in with 23:56 to go in the half on a free position shot opportunity to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead. About a minute and a half later, Gibbons tied the score as Grace Nelson ripped a shot in off a feed from Catherine Field to tie the game. The goal was one of three for Nelson on the day, who was also dominant on draws, helping Gibbons to a 14-10 edge in establishing possession. Nelson was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
After the two teams traded a couple goals in the first half, Kylie Skovira scored the first of her three goals to help Charlotte Catholic tie the game at 4 with 4:04 to go in the first half. Gibbons answered with the next six goals of the game, three to close the first half and three to open the second. The six goals were all scored by different players and pushed the Gibbons advantage to 9-4 with 21:08 to go in the game.
Blake Palmer kept the Cougars in the game, making nine saves while facing 31 shots from the Crusaders. Cardinal Gibbons kept the pressure on most of the contest, winning the groundball battle substantially and outshooting the Cougars 29-15.
Charlotte Catholic finished the season 14-5. The Cougars made the program’s fifth appearance in the NCHSAA State Championships after winning the Western Regional Final for the fifth time in school history.
Cardinal Gibbons concluded the season 18-4, with a perfect 10-0 record in conference play. The Crusaders won the Regional Championship for the fourth consecutive season and claimed their third straight State Championship.
Press release provided by the NCHSAA