Falcons Nest - May 12

Lulu Brase, Assistant Athletic Director
The Falcons kick off their playoff runs this week. Good luck to all our Falcon teams in their postseason games! 
Varsity Boys Golf 
Falcon Golfers Fly Away from the Field in NCISAA Qualifier 
The Boys’ golf team posted an impressive 12-stroke victory in the NCISAA qualification tournament at High Point Country Club this past Monday.  The first nine holes were a bit of a mixed bag for the Falcons as all five golfers made the turn at even or a few over par. The back nine, however, was an absolute birdie fest.  Jack Halloran was the individual medalist making one bogey and three birdies to post a winning score of 2 under par (70).  The effort was his third consecutive under-par tournament round.  Max Martin continued his solid play by ripping off birdies on the 16th, 17th, and 18th holes to card an even par round of 72.  Once again Pete Myers brought the entertainment.  Myers hadn’t gotten anything going on the front but showed his resilience and determination while carving up the back nine for a 4 under 32.  After his birdie barrage, Myers posted a score of one over par 73 to seal the victory for the team.  Collectively, Halloran, Martin, and Myers were seven under par on the back nine.  Nick Joyce wasn’t far behind the threesome with his solid round of 75.  The win moves them on to the State Championship on Monday, May 15th at Bryan Park Champions course, the sight of their heart-breaking 4-stroke defeat in last year’s state championship. Coach Halloran says the loss has been instrumental in motivating the team for this year “That stung. Being that close to your ultimate goal and falling short can be devastating, but our guys have just used it to get better.  They are all playing really well right now and have a lot of confidence heading into Monday.” Wish the Falcons well as they head out for their last tournament of the season.   
Varsity Girls Soccer 
·         O’Neal vs. Trinity School of Durham and Chapel Hill - Win (3-1) 
Last Friday, O’Neal celebrated its two senior captains, Peyton Smitherman and Brooklyn Adams. This would be the last regular season home game of their high school careers, so there was much to be thankful for. There was even more to celebrate as the Falcons had already secured the conference championship no matter the result of the game against Trinity School. That joy and security gave the team the freedom and confidence to play with tons of energy. 

The Lions’ defense held strong for most of the first half, and their offense put O’Neal’s defense under pressure. It was clear that both teams had the skill and drive to win. Sophomore Charli Bunder opened the scoring with a magnificent free-kick a few minutes before halftime, and she scored again after half from a long run down the right sideline cutting in towards the goal and beating every defender in her way. A minute later Trinity scored to cut the lead in half and make the last 20 minutes tense. However, Peyton Smitherman netted a third to solidify the lead, and the Falcons held the 3-1 scoreline to the final whistle.  

The Tri-Tac Conference Champions received the third seed overall in the state tournament and thus received two byes. Their third-round game will take place at O’Neal this Saturday, 5/13 at 1 pm. Your support would mean the world to the team. 
Varsity Boys Tennis 
·         O'Neal vs Oakwood School 5-0 (W) 
 The Falcons hosted the Oakwood School to kick off their State Tournament in the second round on Thursday afternoon. The Falcons won all three doubles matches, coming from way behind in two of those matches.  Number 4 and Number 6 singles players won their matches at which time the Falcons secured the necessary points to win the match.  Since this was a playoff match, the remaining singles matches were stopped.  The Falcons advance to the quarter-finals which will be held on Saturday, May 13, and will be played at Carolina Friends.     
 Varsity Boys Baseball 
·         O'Neal vs Trinity Academy 16- 6 (W) 
·         O’Neal vs Faith Christian 2-7 (L) 
O'Neal hosted Trinity Academy on Tuesday in the first round of the NCISAA 2A State Tournament. The Falcons got strong pitching from Mathew Fisher and Joey Wade and pounded out eleven hits on the day. Offensively, Will Slagle, Jacob Bates, Ryley Norton, and Jake Shepherd all had two hits on the day. Shepherd led the team with four RBI's as well. Defensively, the Falcons played well, too. It was an all-around good game for the entire team.  

On a day where everything seemed to go right for the Patriots from Faith Christian, the Falcons lost their second round NCISAA 2A State Championship game 7-2. June Thomas was terrific on the mound, and the defense played well overall. The Falcons simply stranded too many runners on base, scattering five hits throughout the game. It was a tremendous season for the Falcons, as they finished 10-6 overall and ranked #8 in the state. 
Middle School Baseball 
The Falcons took on Cape Fear Christian in the SEMSAC Semi-Finals on Monday and finished victoriously at home.   
Andrew Gulley started the game and gave the Falcons a dominant showing of 3.1 innings. Andrew gave up 3 runs with only 1 earned, on 7 hits and delivering 2 strikeouts. Jaxson Graves finished the game pitching 1 inning and allowing only 1 hit with an impressive tally of 5 strikeouts for the win.   

The bats continue to shine for O’Neal. AJ Peal led the charge going 3 for 4 with a double. Jaxon Mullis hit a triple going 1 for 3. Sam Taylor, Camden Harrell, Jaxon Graves, Jordan Cole, and Parker Maxwell all had hits on the day.  

The Falcons play in the SEMSAC Finals on Tuesday, May 16th at O’Neal. A win would conclude an undefeated conference season and a near-perfect overall season. 
Middle School Girls Soccer 
The Middle School Girls Soccer team finished the regular season as the #2 seed after a 7-1 SEMSAC regular season. The Falcons hosted Fayetteville Christian in the #2 vs #3 matchup on Monday afternoon. A back-and-forth affair saw the Falcons get numerous chances on goal, but they never could quite finish. In the final 10 minutes, Fayetteville Christian broke free, and on a lucky bounce past a Falcon defender they were able to slot the ball in the back of the net. The Falcons fought hard in the final minutes yet dropped the game to end their season with an overall record of 8-3. 

Reflecting on the season, Coach Williamson and Coach Brase shared - Monday was a great example of what it means to be a team – the girls bought into the game plan, and displayed tremendous heart, hustle, and determination. We had players who never subbed in finding ways to be involved by cheering and supporting their peers.  We had players who embraced the idea of a 3-5 minute shift where they worked as hard as possible to fulfill their role and others who played all 60 minutes and faced many moments of high pressure and challenge. Although the outcome is not what we would hope for, we could not be prouder of this team and all they’ve accomplished both individually and collectively this season. 
Middle School Golf 
The Middle School Golf team hosted St. Mary Magdalene School on Wednesday afternoon at Longleaf Country Club. Both the navy and white Falcon teams had a tremendous afternoon shooting 165 and 174 as teams. The low scorer on the day was Natalia Henderson shooting a 37. Other top performers consisted of Dylan Wolfe (39), Keens Cameron (39), and Charlotte Schroen (42). 
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