Riley Harrison ended her career just like it began with Charlotte Country Day’s girls lacrosse team – as a state champion.
Harrison scored four goals and assisted on four others as the Buccaneers routed Durham Academy 18-2 on Saturday to win their fourth straight N.C. Independent Schools state title.
“It feels amazing – as a senior, this is the way you want to go out,” said Harrison, who has committed to play at North Carolina. “This is the ultimate feeling, and it’s going to be pretty hard to top this in college and beyond.
“It’s a great memory to go out with. Nobody wants to go out losing. Unfortunately, only one team can go out winning. I’m glad it’s me and my team, because we’ve worked pretty hard for this.”
County Day (20-1-1) took command early en route to winning its sixth state title in eight finals appearances.
With Harrison drawing attention from the Cavaliers’ defense, it came down to her teammates to provide the scoring – and they delivered.
Dartmouth commit Natalee Palmer scored Country Day’s first three goals, Ohio State commit Jaclyn Perkins scored twice in a 21-second span, and Graham McIntosh (Dennison), Julia Loesch (Connecticut College) and Carter Williams (Coastal Carolina) also scored in building an 8-2 halftime lead.
“They face-guarded her and doubled her, which we though they’d do,” Country Day coach Kristy Boyles – who got doused with water by her players after the match – said of Harrison. “But she’s a very smart player, and has learned over the years to recognize that right away. She knows she needs to be a feeder instead of a finisher.”
But when Durham Academy (11-5) pulled the special defense, Harrison went to work. She scored all four of her goals and had her fourth assist in the second half as the Buccaneers ripped off 10 unanswered goals, and played the final 10 minutes on a running clock.
Quote: “We worked a lot this season on not forcing things. That’s why we were slowing it down and waiting for the right opportunity to score. But their pressure was incredible. A couple of mistakes led to a lot of their goals. We’ve just got to put a couple pieces together in the coming years, and hopefully we can have a different outcome next time.” – Durham Academy assistant coach Beth Roberts, who subbed for head coach Debbie Rebosa after she delivered a baby boy two weeks ago.
Worth mentioning: Palmer also scored in the second half, and finished the match with four goals for Country Day. … Williams scored twice in the second half, and finished with three goals and an assist. … McIntosh also had a second-half goal, and finished with two goals and an assist. … Lucy Pedlow and twin sister Charlotte Pedlow, both Cornell commits, each scored second-half goals for the Buccaneers. … Loesch also had four assists for Country Day. … Durham Academy, which won the state title in 2009, got first-half goals from Hannah Pope and Spencer Woody.