North Carolina (NCHSAA) Finals Set for Saturday

The state of North Carolina can expect two brand new champions on Saturday. The North Carolina High School Athletic Association Championship games are on tap for this weekend in both girls' and boys' divisions and four different squads are making appearances from last season.

In boys' action, East Chapel Hill faces Northwest Guilford in a showdown between a pair of scorching teams. On the girls' side, Apex goes for its fourth title in the last five years when they face Myers Park. In our North Carolina Finals Preview, get the latest tournament updates and match-up details for Saturday's much-anticipated contests.

NCHSAA Boys' Championship: East Chapel Hill (18-2) vs. Northwest Guilford (19-2), Saturday, May 14 at 4:00 pm

The boys' championship game pits together two teams featuring contrasting styles. East Chapel Hill has been successful in the postseason through its quick-strike offense and strong transition play. Midfielder Steve Augustine has been a force at the face-off X all season, but has put up particularly strong numbers so far in the playoffs. In Tuesday's 12-7 Regional Round victory over Apex, Augustine went 19 for 26 overall with two goals and was dynamic for his squad down the stretch.

The East Chapel Hill offense features a well-rounded unit that's managed to blend talented young players with skilled senior leaders. Sophomore Baxter Perkins is fresh off a four-goal performance against Apex, and captain Chandler Zirkle is a multi-dimensional threat. Junior goalie Levi Brown has been a key component of the team's defense (just 8.5 goals allowed per game in the playoffs), while Ryan Dotson and Jackson Boyer have been consistent goal-scoring forces.

Even with three sophomores starting during the playoffs, the squad has averaged 16.5 goals per game during postseason action and enters the championship game having won 12-straight contests. Also, the team's finals appearance finally arrives after reaching the state semifinals for four seasons in a row.

Meanwhile, Northwest Guilford has been very steady this season, especially during the postseason. After a 13-5 victory over Mount Tabor in the opening round, the squad upended defending champion Myers Park, 10-8, in the District Round. After slipping past Grimsley 7-6 in the Sectional Round, the Vikings posted an impressive 8-1 victory over Providence in the semifinals.

The team will look for production from standouts Jay Goldsmith, Cole Abourjilie and Kyle Dorr. Abourjilie torched Myers Park in Districts with a game-high six goals. A major factor in deciding Saturday's outcome could be whether Northwest Guilford's defense can limit East Chapel Hill's attack from getting high percentage looks on cage, particularly on transition breaks. So far this postseason, the unit has been solid, holding opponents to an average of just five goals per game.

Saturday's finale is set for 4:00 pm at WakeMed Park in Cary.

NCHSAA Girls' Championship: Apex (19-0) vs. Myers Park (15-3), Saturday, May 14 at 1:00 pm

The Apex girls' lacrosse team will go for its fourth state title in five years on Saturday when they face Myers Park at WakeMed Park in Cary.

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2011-05-12



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