Kruse, Wimsatt, Cardone named 1st team All-State for Orange Lacrosse

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Updated: June 9, 2022

Following the most successful season in Orange lacrosse history, three Panthers have been named 1st-team All-State by the North Carolina Lacrosse Coaches Association.

Sophomore attacker Connor Kruse, junior face-off specialist Jake Wimsatt and junior defenseman Nick Cardone were all honored with selections to the 3A/2A/1A All-State first-team after the Panthers set a school-record with 17 wins this spring.

In addition, junior midfielder Tigh Metheny, long-stick midfielder Aiden Cathey and junior attacker Joe Cady were named 2nd-team All-State.

This year, Orange won its second consecutive conference championship after finishing 11-0 in the Mid-Carolina Conference. They finished 17-3 and hosted the 3A/2A/1A Eastern Regional Championship game at Auman Stadium for the first-time ever. The Panthers won three games in the state playoffs, beating South Brunswick, Walter Williams and Carrboro.

Kruse set a new single-season school record with 77 goals and 136 points. The son of former North Carolina and Johns Hopkins lacrosse player Travis Kruse, Connor opened 2022 with five goals in a win over Vance Charter on March 1. The next night, Kruse scored five goals and dished out five assists in a 14-11 win over East Chapel Hill at Dave Thaden Stadium, the Panthers first-ever win over the Wildcats in men’s lacrosse. Orange coach Chandler Zirkle played lacrosse and football at East Chapel Hill under his father, Franklin, who joined the Panthers’ staff this season.

Kruse had 15 hat tricks this season. From March 8 to April 26, he had a hat trick in ten consecutive games. In the opening round of the state playoffs, Kruse had a season-best seven goals in a 18-5 victory over South Brunswick. Kruse registered a season-high 13 points in the Panthers’ conference-opening win over Western Alamance on March 8 in Hillsborough.

For the second straight season, Wimsatt was Orange’s face-off ace. He won 85% of his draws in 2022. In 2021, Wimsatt won 73% of his face-offs. In 19 of Orange’s 20 games this year, the Panthers won the majority of its face-offs, which helped the Panthers score 260 goals, a school-record. In Orange’s last nine wins, the Panthers won at least 73% of its face-offs, including 89% in a playoff victory over South Brunswick and 92% against Walter Williams in the 3rd round.

Mainly due to his face-off ability, Wimsatt led the team with 186 ground balls. It was the second straight year where he’s led the team in ground balls.

Wimsatt scored 45 goals, which was tied with Metheny for second on the team. He scored 67 points, which was third on the squad. He had a season-high five goals in a 17-10 win over Walter Williams in the 3rd round of the 3A/2A/1A State Playoffs on March 13.

During his 2nd year at the varsity level, Cardone created 28 turnovers and grabbed 63 ground balls. He anchored an Orange defense that allowed only 8.75 goals per game. Cardone had five ground balls in the win over East Chapel Hill. On March 21, Cardone created three turnovers against Northwood as the Panthers came back from a 7-1 deficit to beat the Chargers 14-9 in Pittsboro. Cardone created a turnover in nine consecutive games from March 18 to April 27. He played in all 20 of Orange’s games.

Metheny, in his junior season, was second on the team with 69 points. He was tied with Wimsatt with 45 goals. Metheny scored five goals in a 13-4 win over Carrboro in the state quarterfinals.

Cady had 43 goals in 19 games. On April 26, Cady scored a season-high six goals in a 19-5 win over Eastern Alamance, which ensured a share of the Mid-Carolina Conference championship. Cady had hat tricks in the state playoffs against Williams and South Brunswick.

Cathey, a sophomore, collected 68 ground balls as the Panthers long-stick midfielder. He was third on the team with 14 turnovers created and was a key factor in Orange’s high clearance rate.

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