Green Level advances to boys lacrosse state championship for first time, ousts Cardinal Gibbons

Green Level advances to boys lacrosse state championship for first time, ousts Cardinal Gibbons

For the first time in school history, Green Level’s boys lacrosse team will have a shot at winning a state championship.

The Gators defeated reigning N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A state champion Cardinal GIbbons in the eastern regional championship game on Tuesday night, pulling away in the second half for a 16-9 victory.

Cardinal Gibbons scored the first goal of the game — a quick strike from Brown Parker — but Green Level went on a 10-3 run in the rest of the first half.

After the two teams exchanged goals — a Green Level goal from Austin Hryn to tie the game, then a Nick Van Arnam goal put the Crusaders back on top, followed by an A.J. Ahart goal to tie the game again for Green Level — the Gators finally took their first lead of the game on a Jackson Spells goal in the first quarter.

Kelan Moore scored late in the quarter to push the Green Level lead to 4-2 after one quarter, and the Gators rode that momentum into the second.

Green Level dominated possession in the second quarter. Moore opened the scoring in the quarter with a quick goal, then Harrison Murray scored on a breakaway as Green Level doubled up Cardinal Gibbons 6-3.

The Crusaders could not stop the Green Level attack. Cardinal Gibbons was outscored 6-2 in the second quarter and trailed 10-4 at halftime.

The Gators once again scored the first goal of the quarter after halftime. Gus Maggio made the score 11-4, but the Crusaders tried to mount a comeback. Parker scored two goals in less than two minutes to bring Cardinal Gibbons within 11-6 with 6:29 left in the quarter.

Every time Cardinal Gibbons made a run though, Green Level had an answer.

Moore was that answer this time. The junior scored with 4:45 left in the quarter to push the Gator lead back to six. The goal was Moore’s 100th career goal and his third in the game. Earlier in the third quarter, Green Level senior Josh Smith broke a NCHSAA record with his 998th career faceoff win.

Green Level led 12-7 after Cardinal Gibbons got another goal from Brady Dolan off an assist from Parker.

There was cause for concern for Green Level to start the fourth quarter though. Smith was given a two-minute penalty for an illegal stick, and that led to a Cardinal Gibbons goal by Zach Kerner, which brought the Crusaders within just four goals with over 11 minutes left.

But once again, Green Level had an answer.

Ahart and Murray scored back-to-back goals, each recording a hat trick, to extend Green Level’s lead back to six points at 14-8. Then Hryn scored an unassisted goal in transition, and Ahart added one more for good measure as the Gators took a 16-8 lead with 4:38 left.

That margin was more than enough for Green Level. Cardinal Gibbons scored one last goal off a shot from Dolan, but the game had already been decided.

Green Level will meet Lake Norman in the 4A state championship game this weekend at Durham County Memorial Stadium. Lake Norman defeated Marvin Ridge 13-11 in the western regional championship on Tuesday. This marks the first appearance in a state title game for the Wildcats since they beat Middle Creek in 2018.

The schedule for the state championship is expected to be released by the NCHSAA on Wednesday.

Coverage from the 4A west regional final between Lake Norman and Marvin Ridge can be found HERE: