Falcons Nest - March 17th

Lulu Brase, Assistant Athletic Director
Despite the winter weather plaguing the Carolinas this week, the Falcon spring sports never skipped a beat.
Varsity Boys Golf
The boys golf team continued their hot start to the season with a Top 5 finish at the 9th North State High School Challenge at the Country Club of Salisbury.  The top teams in the state, both public and private, battled it out over 36 holes in grueling conditions.  Jack Halloran placed 4th individually with an overall score of one over par (143) including the low round of the tournament (66) on day one. For his efforts, Halloran was named to the All-Tournament First Team. Nick Joyce helped the Falcons to a great finish by carding an impressive score of 72 in round one.  William Huntley also joined the action with a solid 78 in round one.
The Falcon golfers were right back at it on Monday hosting the defending 3A State Champions from St. David’s at Mid South Club. The Freshmen trio of Jack Halloran, Pete Myers, and Andrew Hobbs led the team to their second consecutive win over St. David’s.  Halloran took home Medalist honors with a one-over par 72, while Myers and Hobbs each carded great rounds of 74.  Team members Max Martin and Jacob Graham have continued their solid play throughout the week both posting solid rounds of 75 at Hope Valley.
Things slow down for the Falcon golfers over the next few weeks as they prepare for their Spring Break tournament in Pawley’s Island, SC against 47 teams from across the country.       
Varsity Boys Tennis
The Falcons opened their season with an 8-1 victory over The Burlington School.  The Falcons were up 2-1 after the opening 3 doubles match.  The Falcons showed their skills as they swept all 6 singles matches.  Junior Co-Captain Will Kitchen pulled out a 3rd set tiebreak 10-8 for his win at number one singles.  Number two player, Junior Co-Captain Owen Williams was down 1-5 in the first set but turned things around by winning the first set 7-6.  He also won the second set by the same 7-6 score.  Number 5 singles player, Nathan Reifenstahl was down 5-2 in the first set and fought off several set points prior to his winning the first set 7-6. He went on to win the second set 6-2.  Ethan Kim, Chris Walters, and Noah Bass all recorded easy straight-set wins. The Falcons showed their determination by winning all four tiebreakers which contributed to their successful opening win.
Next week there will be two home contests.  On Tuesday, March 21 the Falcons take on North Moore High School and on Friday, March 24 they will be challenged by Wake Christian Academy.
Varsity Girls Soccer
  • O’Neal vs. The Burlington School – Win 11-4 
  • O’Neal @ Village Christian Academy – Win 2-1 (Overtime) 
With the first week of March Madness upon us, the nation’s eyes have turned to college basketball for stories of powerhouse victories, tight games, and excitement galore. Their eyes need not be glued to a screen, for our Falcons have brought their fans through just as wide an array of passionate victories.   
We began the week at home as our early-season goal-scoring frenzy reached its zenith against the Burlington School. Eleven times the ball swished into the net, thrice off the foot of Charli Bunder, twice from both Jordin Reed and Peyton Smitherman, once from Allie Webb and Emeli Michael, once on a penalty kick from defender Kennedi Hamner, and even once off an opponent’s head. Like all good March Madness storylines, the visiting Spartans put up a fight, scoring four from the same player. 
The next round of play found the Falcons in a near-dead-locked battle with Village Christian Academy who looked to pull off the upset. O’Neal went up 1-0 after twenty-two minutes after Bunder played a through ball to Michael who left the opposing keeper diving fruitlessly after her as she calmly slotted the ball home. Shortly after half, the Knights found an equalizer to set up a tense finale. The full-time whistle sounded a draw, as did the first half of overtime. O’Neal was finding its chances stymied by a resolute defense, and slowly but surely the frustration turned to motivation. Our one shining moment came just two minutes after play resumed with Bunder yet again assisting Michael with a pass overtop the defense, and Michael doubled her total on the night to seal the victory.  
If this weekend leads to a busted bracket, and you’re looking for more tales of athletic glory, join us at O’Neal on Tuesday at 4 pm. By next Thursday, the temptation may be strong to remain glued to the sweet sixteen, but there’s a better option. No joy that comes from watching far-away men play for out-of-reach glories will ever compare to the thrill of watching members of your own O’Neal community compete. Make the drive out to Harrell’s Christian Academy on Thursday, and we promise to leave you with a madness worthy of March.  
Varsity Boys Baseball
  • O'Neal School at Village Christian School 3- 5 (L)
O'Neal capped off a strong week of practice with a non-conference match-up against Village Christian Academy. The Falcons started off well, going up 3-1 in the second inning. Ricky Mullis and Jake Shepherd both contributed RBI doubles in the inning, and Andrew Pavlovich added a hit as well. In the fourth inning, O'Neal made a few costly errors with bases loaded and gave up four runs. This allowed VCA to take the lead, which they never relinquished. 

On the mound, O'Neal got strong performances from Jake Shepherd and Jacob Bates. Collectively, the team played well but struggled to execute in high-pressure moments. Ultimately, there were a lot of positives this week and the Falcons look to get back on track next week with two away games. 
Middle School Golf
The Middle School Golf team hosted their first home match of the season Tuesday afternoon against St. David’s School and St. John Paul II. All of the Falcon golfers played in the match, which says the Navy team takes the victory with a team score of 186. The low Falcon round of the day was Dylan Wolfe with a 39. Joining Wolfe in scoring for the white team were Timmy Hu (47), Alex Gold (49), and Keens Cameron (51). Scorers for the Falcon navy team were Natalia Henderson (43), Wells Kuester (43), Charlotte Schroen (44), and Trevor Franklin (44).
On Thursday, the Falcon white team traveled to compete against Burlington Christian Academy. The Falcons earned the 158-219 victory with Dylan Wolfe being the medalist on the afternoon shooting a 36. Rounding out the Falcon scoring were Natalia Henderson (40), Keens Cameron (40), and Timmy Hu (42).
The Falcons will return to the course on Wednesday when they travel to MacGregor Down to compete against St. Mary Magdalene Middle School.
Middle School Girls Soccer
  • O’Neal vs Village Christian 4-0 (W)
  • O’Neal at St. Patrick’s 4-0 (W)
The Falcons kicked off the week hosting SEMSAC opponent Village Christian in a high-tempo game. The contest saw both teams go back and forth with numerous goal-scoring opportunities, and the keepers stood the test. The Falcons broke through in the middle of the first half, as Layla Joyce Duffy got on the end of a through ball, but a hard collision resulted in a penalty kick for the Falcons. Chesley Lucas calmly knocked home the first goal to move the Falcons to 1-0. Moments later, Chesley played a well-placed corner kick into the Village 6-yard box seeing Malia Stone capitalize for the second Falcon goal of the contest. In the second half, Chesley Lucas and Lillie McIntosh added two more goals to help the Falcons finish off the strong 4-0 victory. Goalie Lindsey Havenstein recorded the shutout in goal.
Thursday evening the Falcons traveled to Fayetteville for a match-up with St. Patrick’s. Playing at Jordan Soccer Complex, the large and fast field stalled the Falcon attack in the first half, as they struggled to break free. In the waning minutes of the half, Audrey Berry put the Falcons up 1-0 on an unassisted goal. The Falcons started the second half with high energy, knocking home two quick goals from Paige Fusonie and Sydney Davis. Sydney later added a second goal to her tally to help the Falcons finish off the second 4-0 win of the week. The Falcons move to 3-0 on the season and will host Berean Baptist next Thursday.
Middle School Baseball
Another successful week for Falcons Middle School Baseball! Intense practices challenged and prepared the team’s baseball acumen and their innate ability to execute as a team. They’ve developed into a working unit, demonstrating maximum intensity and maximum motivation through each practice in preparation for their competition. This group of Fighting Falcons executes a daily structured routine and work ethic that consistently challenges positional play with max repetitions, both offensively and defensively.  
  • (W) O’Neal vs (L)Village Christian Academy 
Village Christian 

O’Neal’s pitching once again displayed their grit with the team’s 8-5-win vs Village Christian Academy. Starting Pitcher, Jackson Booth gets the win with 1 hit and 4 strikeouts in a 3-inning showing; allowing 2 runs on errors. Camden Harrell earns the save, pitching 3 innings with 1 strikeout, allowing 1earned run and 2 runs on errors.  
The bats were hot with Christian Baker leading the Falcons in the first inning, roping a leadoff double going 2-4 on the day. Sam Taylor, AJ Peal, Camden Harrell, Jackson Mullis, and Jordan Cole collected hits in the 6-inning battle. The Falcons continue to own the base paths with 8 stolen bases on the day. Jackson Mullis (4), AJ Peal (1), Sam Taylor (1), Andrew Gulley (1). Every Falcon played a critical role in securing extra bases and runs while capitalizing on pass balls with a heads-up baseball approach.   

Facing a tough week ahead when the team takes on Berean Baptist at home Thursday, and closing the week at Village Christian on Friday. 
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