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Christ the King girls’ soccer blows out Woods Charter in NCHSAA 1A championship

Christ the King made it a three-peat — in dominant fashion.

The Huntersville private school wasted no time powering past Woods Charter in the third straight NCHSAA 1A girls’ soccer final between the two schools. Freshman Addie Pierce recorded a hat trick during the match’s opening minutes, and Christ the King didn’t look back.

Pierce provided the fireworks for the Crusaders in their 5-0 victory on Saturday morning at Mecklenburg County SportsPlex. Christ the King (19-3) claimed its third consecutive 1A state championship, also marking the sixth year in a row that the 1A champion is from the Charlotte area.

“Insane. Amazing. Fun. All of the above,” an elated Pierce said afterward. “I’ve enjoyed high school soccer so much — and this is just my first year.”

Woods Charter (22-5-1), a public charter school in Chapel Hill, lost for the first time since April 16.

Christ the King had graduated 11 seniors from its 2023 squad that also downed the Wolves in the 1A championship game. It has 10 freshmen on its roster, including Pierce.

Breaking down the action

Christ the King, which has won its past 13 matches, jumped in front early.

Pierce, a freshman midfielder, scored three times in roughly 10 minutes at the start. The Crusaders’ offense was a step ahead, and Pierce was aggressive getting the tempo on their side.

Her early hat trick gave Christ the King a commanding 3-0 lead, and its defense kept Woods Charter at bay.

“It was 100 percent adrenaline for the first 10 minutes,” Pierce said. “It was driven by all of us. We just wanted to get it done.”

About midway through the second half, Pierce scored for a fourth time. From close range, Pierce blew by her defender and nailed a shot past the opposing goalie.

With 14 minutes left, senior captain Brianna Pacholski — who was voted MVP — joined the scoring parade. She fired her fifth goal of the season from deep, giving the Crusaders a 5-0 advantage.

“We looked, and we realized we can’t play the same style we did the last couple years,” head coach Bob Dubiel said. “We’d kind of play through the middle and up, and this year we just knew that we needed to be a little more direct with our play. And it worked. Then we shifted some players out wide, and then you saw Addie (Pierce), and Rylan Nicholson — she’s a freshman, as well.

“There were five freshmen and three sophomores. It’s crazy. Hopefully we’re gonna be in the hunt every year.”

Worth mentioning

This is Christ the King’s third consecutive 1A state title — and it defeated Woods Charter in all of them.

Before the Crusaders’ 2022 triumph, Community School of Davidson (2021) and Union Academy (2018-19) had won the previous 1A championships, extending the streak of winners from the Charlotte area.

Christ the King outscored its opponents, 22-2, in the playoffs.

800 miles of travel

Christ the King has only played one home match in the past month.

The Crusaders’ girls’ soccer team traveled nearly 800 miles this season, Dubiel said his athletic director calculated. Their postseason run alone has seen the Huntersville school play away matches near Bryson City in Swain County, in Kernersville at Bishop McGuiness and out in Polk County.

“Traveled more than we ever traveled, getting home late, and the girls were able to grind this out,” Dubiel said. “The team is well-coached — we’ve got some good coaches — but these kids are just hard workers. It’s just a testament to the education and the athletic directors.”

They said it

“Unbelievable season. Just is! We’ve literally graduated 11 from last year’s state title team, and we’re back with 10 freshmen.” — state champion head coach Bob Dubiel.

PHOTOS: Christ The King vs. Woods Charter