EAHS sweeps Chargers, Warriors, Panthers for Central Conference regular season title

Members of the Eastern Alamance High women's soccer team come together following their 3-0 shutout victory the evening of May 10 at Western Alamance, which clinched the Central Conference regular season championship for the Eagles. Eastern heads into the NCHSAA 3A state playoffs next week winners of 11 straight matches, including 13 out of the last 14 matches. The Eagles completed an 11-1 run through Central Conference play with a series of victories in a three-day stretch over Northwood, Western Alamance, and Orange. 

The Eastern Alamance High varsity women’s soccer team wrapped up the first Central Conference regular season championship as they closed out league play with a trio of victories in three nights over Northwood, Western Alamance, and Orange. The victories over the Chargers, Warriors, and Panthers completed an 11-1 league run for the Eagles this spring, and extended the team’s current winning streak to 11 matches heading into the postseason. With it, the Eagles earned a top five seeding in the NCHSAA 3A state playoffs, which begin Monday. 

Prior to the recent three victories, back on May 5, the Eagles picked up one of their biggest victories of the season thus far, as they shut out Williams, 3-0. Eastern got two goals from freshman Abby Brinker, as well as another goal from junior Molly Widderich, while junior MacKenzie Webber and Alena Pak each contributed assists. 

Eastern managed seven shots on goal against the Bulldogs, while the EAHS defense, led by a variety of veterans such as seniors Grace Dobson, Jessica Hampton, and Avery Griggs, among several others, contributed alongside junior goalkeeper Karsyn Johnson to shut out Williams. Johnson saved 10 shots as the Eagles earned their eighth shutout of the season. 

The win over Williams catapulted the Eagles into first place in the Central Conference standings heading into the final week of the regular season - a challenging stretch of three matches in three days on the road at Northwood May 9, at Western Alamance May 10, and the regular season finale back at home against Orange on May 11. But Eastern was up for the challenge, as they swept the Chargers, Warriors, and Panthers to increase its winning streak to 11 straight matches, and 13 wins out of the last 14 matches. 

Against Northwood, the Eagles got two goals each from Brinker and Widderich, in addition to another goal from sophomore Ainsley Dial, on the way to a 5-3 victory. While the Chargers broke Eastern’s streak of four consecutive matches without giving up a goal, Karsyn Johnson managed six key saves to help the Eagles pull out the victory. Eastern had 10 shots on goal against the Northwood defense, while Widderich contributed two assists, and veterans Jessica Hampton and junior Audrey Hupman each also added an assist in the victory. 

With the win over Northwood, all the Eagles had to do was beat Western Alamance to secure the Central Conference championship. But it wouldn’t come easy, as the Warriors were the last team to beat the Eagles, having earned a 2-0 triumph over EAHS back on March 30. But the Eagles, hungry for revenge, broke out to a 1-0 halftime lead and then scored two more unanswered goals in the second half on the way to a 3-0 victory, which clinched the regular season conference title and what will surely be a favorable postseason seeding for EAHS in the upcoming NCHSAA 3A state playoffs. 

Brinker continued her breakout freshman season by scoring two goals in the win over the Warriors, while Widderich also added a goal. MacKenzie Webber set up two Eastern Alamance goals with a pair of assists, while Johnson also added an assist. Johnson saved six shots in goal for the Eagles, as they earned their ninth shutout of the season. 

In Wednesday night’s regular season finale, the Eagles settled the issue quickly, scoring three goals in the first half for a commanding 3-0 halftime lead. And while EAHS did allow Orange freshman Caroline Cathey to penetrate the defense for a second half goal, the Eagles held on for a 3-1 victory to complete a 13-3-1 regular season, and an 11-1 run through the Central Conference. After falling in the Central Conference opener to Western Alamance back in late March, the Eagles swept their league slate the rest of the way. 

Widderich, Brinker, and Hupman scored the three first half goals for the Eagles in the revenge triumph over Western Alamance, while Widderich, Brinker, and senior Macy James provided the assists. EAHS had a whopping 15 shots on goal against the Panthers, while Johnson saved nine shots for the victory.  

The Eagles opened up play in the NCHSAA 3A state playoffs at home the evening of Monday, May 19 against Fayetteville’s Seventy-First High School. The Eagles are the No. 5 seed in the East Region of the state playoffs, with Seventy-First coming to Mebane as the No. 28 overall seed. 

Eastern’s 11-1 run through the demanding Central Conference schedule, in addition to a tough non-conference slate that included local 4A powerhouses East Chapel Hill and Chapel Hill, ensured that the Eagles had of the top RPI ratings in the entire East Region, and favorable seeding. EAHS will get at least two home playoff matches if they keep advancing, and could get more home playoff games depending on how the brackets play out. 

If the Eagles knock off Seventy-First, they will play the winner of the first round match between First Flight, the No. 12 seed in the East Region, and longtime rival Western Alamance, the No. 21 seed, back at home in the friendly confines of Fred Brady Stadium the evening of Thursday, May 19.