Falcons Continue Play-Offs and State Championships

Lulu Brase
Falcons are Quarterfinal Bound
Varsity Boys Soccer
Celebrations these days might look a little different without students and parents rushing fields to hug and high-five players, but the smiles, even underneath masks, could not be missed on Falcon faces Thursday night. The Falcons defeated Salem Baptist 2-1 to advance to the NCISAA 2A State Quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon.

Thursday’s match-up featured the #4 seeded Falcons hosting conference rival Salem Baptist with the winner earning the right to advance to Saturday’s State Quarterfinals match. Thursday was the rubber match—after Salem claimed the 4-2 victory at home and Falcons won an overtime thriller last Friday 5-4. This contest, like those previous, did not disappoint.

Salem Baptist jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead just 20 minutes into the first half. Like last Friday, the Falcons wasted no time hanging their heads and tied the match at 1-1 behind a crafty goal from sophomore Phillip Hancock.

A physical game on both sides saw the score still tied at halftime. Just minutes into the second half, junior Aaron Seiring tallied the go-ahead goal giving the Falcons the 2-1 lead. Behind strong defensive efforts and tremendous goalkeeping by sophomore Trey Black, the Falcons held strong throughout the second half. As the buzzer rang, the excitement resonated throughout the field as players, and the few parents able to watch the game in person rejoiced! The victory moves the Falcons to a 4-3 record on the season.

The Falcons will now switch gears quickly as they shift focus to preparations for Saturday’s NCISAA 2A Quarterfinals where the Falcons will travel to High Point to face #1 seeded Westchester Country Day.

State Championships Hit the Trail and Course
O’Neal’s Varsity Cross Country and Girls’ Golf team are priming for strong showings in next week’s NCISAA State Championships.

Varsity Girls’ Golf heads into next Monday’s State Championship Match with one thing on their mind—repeat as Champions. Last season, the Falcons brought home the first State Championship in Girls’ Golf history at O’Neal. Despite the unusual circumstances surrounding this season, the Falcons haven’t missed a beat. Behind the leadership and stellar play of sophomore Alex Lapple, the Falcons are primed to make another run at a title. Alex Lapple, one of the nation’s top players at her age, currently ranked 41st in the AJGA standings, has led the Falcons in each match this season and looks to make a run at the individual state title after finishing 3rd last year.

The Falcons head into the State Championship Match after a victory over St. David’s last week shooting a 123 as a team. Joining Lapple in scoring this fall is junior Molly Haarlow, and freshmen Lauren Kuhn and Mary Earhart. Varsity Girls’ Golf Coach Jeff Haarlow shares, “the improvement of this year’s team has been a real joy to watch. The goal on Monday is to play within ourselves and compete as hard as we can.” The Varsity Girls’ Golf team will tee it up in a one-day 18 hole State Championship Match on Monday, October 26th at Bryan Park’s Players Course in Greensboro.

The Falcon Cross Country team has hit the trails this Fall and kept a steady stride thanks to the strong senior leadership of Molly Kuzma. Last week, the Falcons traveled to Cedarock Park in Burlington to compete in the Tri-TAC Conference Meet. The Cedarock course is technical and features a hill infamously dubbed, "heart attack hill." The O'Neal Falcons ran impressively on such a challenging course and saw both the Boys’ and Girls’ teams finished in 3rd place. The Boys’ team was led by 7th grader Corbin Weeks who finished in 5th place overall. Joining Weeks on the All-Conference team were Ayden Richardson with a 9th pace finish and Oscar Little finishing 11th. On the girls' side, freshmen Grace Simpson finished in 8th place earning all-conference, and senior Molly Kuzma finished her storied conference running career with an unprecedented 6th straight individual Conference Championship running a time of 19:58.

The focus now turns towards final preparations for next week’s State Championship Meet where the Falcons will look to finish off a strong season. Senior, Molly Kuzma will look to close her O’Neal Cross Country career next Friday repeating as the individual State Champion, potentially adding another highlight to a storied O’Neal running career. The Cross Country State Championships will be held on Friday, October 30th at McAlpine Park in Charlotte, NC.
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