North Carolina Boys' Lacrosse Playoff Preview - NCHSAA

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) playoffs are set to get underway on Friday in both girls' and boys' lacrosse. On the boys' side, Myers Park opens up its title defense against Lake Norman Charter. However, with talented squads like Wilmington Hoggard, Apex, Cardinal Gibbons, East Chapel Hill, Lake Norman and Charlotte Catholic all coming off stellar regular seasons, it appears that the 2011 title is up for grabs.

Best First Round Game: Charlotte Catholic vs. Providence

These two talented squads could easily meet in the sectional round. But this year, both teams find themselves battling just to reach the district round. Another intriguing aspect is that Charlotte Catholic and Providence both faced-off on April 8, a thriller that saw Providence win, 6-5. With these teams matching up well, lacrosse fans can expect another fantastic showdown this weekend.

Charlotte Catholic (12-7) enters tournament play having won three games in a row against quality opponents, including Wilmington Hoggard (15-2). Meanwhile, Providence (10-6) is hoping that its tough late-season schedule will show dividends. The Panthers faced top-ranked Georgia competition earlier this month and played well against Lambert (17-1), St. Pius X (11-6) and Alpharetta (12-5).

Tournament Dark Horse: Charlotte Catholic

Don't let Charlotte Catholic's 12-7 record fool you. The Cougars have endured one of the state's toughest schedules this season, playing a number of in-state and out-of-state powers such as Louisville Collegiate (KY), Lassiter (GA), Milton (GA) and Lake Norman (NC). Additionally, the team has shown the ability to compete among the region's best programs and should be battle-tested for the 11 tournament.

The Cougars will have to defeat a tough Providence team in the first round and then possibly RJ Reynolds in the district round to even get a possible shot at Lake Norman in the sectional round. While the Cougars lost to Providence, 6-5, back on April 8, the team has posted big wins over Hoggard, Marvin Ridge and defending champs Myers Park. Head coach Bo Turner will likely turn to senior midfielder Adam Hebert (Presbyterian) to spark the team offensively.

Upset Alert: Wilmington Hoggard over Apex in Sectional Round

Despite back-to-back one-goal losses to enter the tournament, Hoggard (15-2) should still be considered one of the state's most dynamic teams. The Vikings proved to be consistent throughout the regular season, frequently dominating the opposition whether through shutdown defense or its high-powered offense. The last time Hoggard and Apex met was in 08, with Hoggard pulling off a 10-9 win in overtime. Look for Hoggard standout Hunter Edens to have a big say in the outcome against Apex this time around. The attackman serves as his team's catalyst and will likely find the ball in his hands if the game proves neck-and-neck down the stretch.

Toughest Road to the Finals: Apex

At 16-1 and loaded with one of the deepest rosters in the state, it's no surprise to find that Apex is widely considered a favorite in this year's tournament. But if the Cougars can get to the finals, they will have certainly earned it. Following a first round game against Carrboro, the Cougars will face the winner between Chapel Hill (11-6) and Durham Jordan (14-4) should they advance. If the Cougars can move on from there, the team is possibly looking at a battle with Hoggard in the sectional round and then a rematch versus Cardinal Gibbons (16-1) in the regional round. On April 2, Cardinal Gibbons handed Apex its only loss to date by coming away with a 5-4 win in overtime. Apex goalie Emil Weiss should pose as a major roadblock for the opposition while teammate Jonathan Avedesian is among the state's top scoring threats.

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2011-04-28



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