With an offensive outburst in the first half and a near-shutout in the second half, Charlotte Catholic cruised past Marvin Ridge 17-3 to advance to the NCHSAA girls’ lacrosse state finals.
Natalie Wallon led the way for Catholic with nine goals, which was by far the most in the game. Catholic’s Natalie Italiano was next with three.
“Is it silly to say I think it’s a quiet night?” Catholic coach Dee Bier said of her top scorer. “She’s good. She’s a hustler; she takes care of the ball; she’s got such a quick little shot.”
The win was much easier than the 13-12 regional semifinal win over Lake Norman High School last Friday. With the state on Saturday, Bier said the team is in good shape.
“I was really happy with the way they played overall,” Bier said. “I thought it felt like in the semifinals everything was coming together for us today.”
Much of the Cougars’ improvement came on the defensive end, where they did a better job double-teaming Mavericks players on isolation plays. Even when the double teams left Catholic down a man guarding the rest of the Marvin Ridge players, the Cougars did a good job of picking up Mavericks cutting toward the goal.
“We had that mindset where now I know the little things are going to matter,” Bier said. “I think we followed through on that, and I think we did the little things, whereas last game it wasn’t always clean and we didn’t always secure the ball.”
The Cougars Apex on Saturday in Cary for the state championship. Apex defeated Cardinal Gibbons 15-14 on Tuesday.
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