RALEIGH — Already averaging 18.3 goals per game before Friday’s N.C. High School Athletic Association quarterfinals matchup with Broughton, the Cardinal Gibbons girls lacrosse team had proven itself as one of the top scoring teams in the state of North Carolina.
But by scoring 14 goals in the first half alone against Broughton (18-3), Gibbons (16-2) showed just how dangerous its offense can be in the team’s 22-10 win that secured the Crusaders a spot in the NCHSAA semifinals.
Senior captains Shelby Scanlin and Rebecca Wiley carried Gibbons on offense as the duo combined to score 12 times with Scanlin netting a team-high eight goals.
Gibbons head coach Taylor Chumney said that she and her team made it a point to jump out to a big lead early on, and the Crusaders did just that.
Gibbons led 9-3 just a little over halfway through the first half, and Broughton was playing catch up from that point on.
“I think that you always face some adversity when you’re behind, and have to fight back. So we certainly wanted to be the team that’s pushing the tempo, scoring goals and making it harder for the other team to think that they can comeback,” Chumney said.
Broughton was able to fight back and remain within striking distance for a bit, but Gibbons ended the first half on a 4-1 run to lead 14-6 at halftime.
Broughton senior Kelsey Dupere had a team-best five goal performance in her final high school game.
“She had a great game. I love her. I love that kid. She’s a great kid, she has a great family, and she’s going to play next year at Elon. She’s going to do amazing things there,” Broughton coach Patricia Alexander said.
While Dupere did all she could, Broughton struggled mightily at coming up with groundballs and winning draws which tipped the time of possession battle in favor of Gibbons.
Chumney recognizes just how important those two phases of the game were to her team’s success.
“The draw controls are key. Getting possession definitely helps us dictate the tempo of the game, and Broughton’s a team where if you don’t win the draw, they’re going to capitalize,” Chumney said.
Outside of Scanlin and Wiley, Gibbons also had a pair of underclassmen step up.
Sophomore Erica Skowron and freshman Jordan Lappin each scored three goals.
“Shelby and Rebecca are both seniors and they’ve done tremendous stuff, but we’ve got freshmen and sophomores who are all contributing on the offensive end,” Chumney said.
With the victory, Gibbons will host rival Apex next Tuesday, May 20, with the winner going to the NCHSAA championship game.
Chumney understands just how big that game will be.
“It’s always a rivalry. It’s going to be a great game. I think that the girls will be super excited to play them again,” Chumney said.
Gibbons defeated Apex 18-14 on March 14.
Alexander already knows who she’ll be rooting for now that her Broughton team is out of the playoffs.
“I hope Gibbons goes all the way,” she said.