State Tournament Preview: North Carolina

(Photo Credit: Jonathan Aguallo)

In many states across the South, the regular season is coming to an end or has already ended. That means, it’s tournament time.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) State Championships will get underway on May 3rd. A champion will be crowned in each division on Saturday, May 21st.

NCHSAA 3A State Tournament

In the 1A-3A State Tournament, Orange is the No. 1 seed coming out of the East side of the bracket and Lake Norman Charter is the No. 1 seed on the West side of the bracket.

The Panthers come into the state tournament with a 14-2 record and on a 12-game winning streak. Sophomore Connor Kruse leads the way with a whopping 116 points off 64 goals and 52 assists.

The Knights are 15-3 with their only loss over the past month coming against rival Lake Norman, 15-11. A young core leads the Knights’ offense with sophomore Jack Dalton and freshman Tyler Price combining for nearly 200 points this season.

NCHSAA 3A State Tournament Bracket

NCHSAA 4A State Tournament

Middle Creek is the top seed in the East region of the 4A state tournament while Hough is the No. 1 seed on the West side of the bracket. Hoggard and Cardinal Gibbons are the second and third seeds in the East while Charlotte Catholic and Weddington are in those same spots on the West.

Middle Creek boast and 18-12 record with their only two losses coming against Southwest Wake Conference foe Holly Springs, who they beat the second time around, and Cardinal Gibbons. Both were one-goal losses for the Mustangs. Senior Tate Jones (Ohio State) has been the leader of this Mustangs squad all season with 82 goals and 24 assists for 106 points. Fellow senior Breyden Harrison (Jacksonville) is the team’s second-leading point-getter with 66 points off 46 goals and 20 assists.

A pair of sophomores have also stepped up and served in big time roles for this Middle Creek squad in 2022 as Carter Kryszak has gone 223-for-325 (68%) as the Mustangs’ primary option at the faceoff dot. Dylan Axman anchors the Mustangs’ defense in cage and has made 153 saves with a 64% save percentage.

The Hough Huskies are undefeated since entering the month of April and boast a 13-4 overall record entering the state tournament. They have only lost to two teams from the Tar Heel State (NCISAA program Cannon and Weddington). Their other two losses came against St. Mary’s (Md.) and St. Albans (D.C.).

Highlighting the Huskies is senior faceoff man George Kalos (North Carolina). He has gone 298-for-336 (88%) at the dot this season, marking the third season in which he had hit the 80% mark during his four-year stint as the Huskies’ primary option.

Peyton Turner (Tampa) leads the offense with 44 goals and 22 assists for 66 points. Sophomore Quinn Falasca (41GB/29CT) has emerged as a threat on the back end, helping to headline a defense that already features a pair of chaos-causers in senior John Long (High Point) junior Karter Williams (Notre Dame).

Hoggard is a perfect 18-0 and sees Trey Parkes (Hofstra) helping lead the way on offense with 33 goals and 25 assists. ’24 midfielder Kyle McCarthy has had a huge season as well, also tallying 33 goals while dishing out 27 assists.

Carinal Gibbons comes into the postseason with a 16-5 record that includes wins over Middle Creek, as well as NCISAA programs Cannon and Christ School. Senior Caden Zadell (Drexel) leads the way for the Crusaders with 75 points off 34 goals and 41 assists as one of their most dependable offensive weapons.

Charlotte Catholic boast a 16-5 record and has been led by sophomore Jack Ransom (27G/19A).

Weddington enters May with a 15-3 record that features wins over Charlotte Catholic and Hough.

NCHSAA 4A State Tournament Bracket

Five Players to Watch

Tate Jones, A, Middle Creek (Sr., Ohio State signee)

Caden Zadell, A, Cardinal Gibbons (Sr., Drexel signee)

Breyden Harrison, M, Middle Creek (Sr., Jacksonville signee)

George Kalos, FO, Hough (Sr., North Carolina signee)

Karter Williams, D, Hough (Jr., Notre Dame commit)

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