Cavs Corner: Cavs Shine in State Playoffs
Contributors: Bria Irizarry, Isaiah Caldwell ’20 and Colleen Gunning
Twitter: @daathletics
Instagram: @dacavsathletics

It is the first full week of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association state playoffs, and the Cavs have had a successful run so far. 

Durham Academy boys lacrosse received the No. 1 seed in the East Region and a first-round bye. The Cavs will take on North Raleigh Christian Academy this afternoon in the second round. DA only allowed NRCA to score seven times in their two meetings earlier in the season. DA girls lacrosse dominated the Bengals of Greensboro Day 14–4 on Tuesday to advance to the second round. This afternoon, the Cavs will face Saint Mary’s School, which they have outscored 33–12 in their two prior meetings this season.

The girls soccer team, which earned the No. 5 seed, stunned the Bengals of Greensboro Day 4–1 on Tuesday night and will move on to face the No. 1 seed Wesleyan Christian Academy in the second round. The girls have not seen Wesleyan since the first game of the season, back on March 23, when they lost 2–1 to the Trojans. DA boys tennis, the No. 2 seed in the East Region, cruised to a 9–0 win over Wake Christian Academy in the first round of the playoffs and will match up with either North Raleigh Christian or Cary Academy on Friday in the second round. 


The 2021 DA varsity baseball season has come to a close after a loss to Wake Christian in the NCISAA 4A state tournament on Wednesday night. 

The Cavs, who were seeded fourth, got off to a rocky start after the Bulldogs posted three quick runs in the first inning. However, junior Sean Donahue and sophomore Sam Schaeffer were able to rally the offense, driving in three runs to tie up the game with two outs in the third inning. 

WCA answered with four more runs in the following inning to regain the lead. The Cavs stayed competitive, moving runners into scoring position in the bottom of the fourth. Schaeffer blasted a ball to the left-field fence that just barely went foul, and the Bulldogs put away the third out before runs could score. 

Senior Scott West took the mound in the fifth inning and was able to hold off the Bulldogs from extending their lead, striking out five of the 11 batters he faced. On offense, a base hit from junior Zeph Hollenbeck allowed two runs to score to cut the WCA gap heading into the final inning. 

DA continued to fight until the final out, but the last-minute efforts weren’t enough to fully recover and the Cavs dropped the contest 7–5 to Wake Christian. They ended the 2021 season 8–7 overall.

Boys Golf

DA boys golf headed to Greensboro on Monday morning to compete in the NCISAA state regional final, but the match was rained out after the first hole. All teams have now been invited to the state final on Monday at the Greensboro Country Club Farm Course.

Boys Lacrosse

DA boys lacrosse began the weekend with an emotional jersey dedication to Chris Smith (father of senior Blake Smith), who was diagnosed with ALS in June 2019. The team met before its Friday night showdown with NRCA to sign a jersey with the name plate “Smith” on the back, and presented it to Smith. The Cavs all walked out of the locker room donning their Smith jerseys and wore them for the senior night celebration, as well as for their 16–4 win over North Raleigh Christian. 

Boys Lacrosse Smith Jersey Dedication

Within eight seconds of the opening whistle, sophomore Brodie Mason won the faceoff and opened up the scoring for the Cavs. The Cavs jumped out to a 6–0 lead in the first quarter with contributions from Mason, senior Gavin Schulz and classmate Blake Smith, who notched a hat trick in the first eight minutes. Just before halftime, junior Larkin Ng Cashin and the defense worked to take back possession and helped get the ball back into the offensive end. The Cavs widened the gap with two more goals, from Mason and senior Jimmy Zavaglia, to bring the score to 8–0 at the break. 

The Knights were able to get on the board first in the second half off a man-up play in transition, but DA responded with two quick goals from sophomore Hugh Wheeler and Schulz. The Cavs’ offensive firepower proved to be too much to match as junior Austin Corbett connected with classmate Nate Alexander twice and Zavaglia rolled the right crease to extend the Cavs’ lead to 13–2 heading into the fourth quarter. With 1:10 left in the game, senior Henry Leasure ripped a shot past the Knights’ goalkeeper for his first goal of the season to put an exclamation mark on senior night. With the win, the Cavs moved to 8–4 on the season ahead of Saturday’s contest with Christ School.

On Saturday, DA lost to a highly experienced Christ School team 18–7. The first quarter was competitive, as the Cavs went goal-for-goal with the Greenies. The DA defense, including senior goalkeeper John Donovan, made three big stops to propel the offense to score and tie the game at 2–2 just before the end of the first quarter. At the start of the second quarter, Corbett found junior Charlie Rand for a second and third time to push the Cavs ahead by two, but it didn’t take long for Christ School to fight back. The Greenies scored four unanswered goals to take a 6–4 lead, but the Cavs persevered. Ng Cashin came up with a ground ball with 45 seconds left in the half, and Schulz was able to put a shot away on the other end. At the half, the Cavs were only down one, 6–5.

Midway through the third quarter, the Greenies capitalized on a man-up opportunity, and then they slipped four more shots by the DA defense, extending their lead to 12–5. Mason took advantage of a man-up situation on the Cavs’ offensive end and Leasure notched his second goal in two days in the fourth quarter, but the damage was already done. The Cavs dropped the contest 18–7 but still earned a No. 1 seed in the NCISAA state playoffs and a first-round bye.

The Cavs will face off against North Raleigh Christian, which defeated Cary Academy in the first round, at 5:15 this afternoon at home.

Girls Lacrosse

The girls lacrosse team earned a momentous 11–10 win over visiting Charlotte Country Day School on senior night Friday, beating the Buccaneers for the first time in more than four years. 

The Cavs got out in front early with three assisted goals. Ninth-grader Kyla Newkirk found sophomore Spencer Jennings; senior Cecile Meredith connected with ninth-grader Evelyn Guyer; and Jennings hit senior Brooke Epstein in transition. DA struggled to get the ball off the draw and felt the effects as the Bucs put away three unanswered goals to tie the game near the midway point of the first half. Over the next 10 minutes, both teams had long possessions, and again, both the Cavs and the Bucs scored to tie the game at 4. In the last five minutes of the half, the Cavs regained the momentum on an off-stick side high save by junior goalkeeper Mirella Kades. After the save, the Cavs scored four times to jump out to an 8–4 lead at the half, with contributions from Newkirk, Epstein, Jennings and senior Kathleen Donovan.

The second half began with two big saves from Kades before the Bucs eventually netted their fifth and sixth goals of the night to bring the score to 9–6. Five minutes later, Kades made three more consecutive saves to force a Bucs timeout. Country Day came out of the timeout and scored three goals, but the Cavs answered with one of their own. The Bucs did not back down and with 1:55 left in the half, they scored to bring the game within one, 11–10. The game came down to the wire, as the Bucs gained possession and earned a free-position shot with one-10th of a second remaining on the clock. At the whistle, the shooter released the ball and Kades came up with the save to secure the 11–10 victory for the Cavs. 

Girls Lacrosse Beats CCDS on Kades Save

On Tuesday, after a 40-minute rain delay, the Cavs cruised to a 14–4 win over visiting Greensboro Day in the first round of the NCISAA state tournament. Jennings was instrumental in the midfield and used her success on the draw to maintain possession for the Cavs. She finished with eight draw controls, three goals and three assists. Guyer had one goal and four assists, and Epstein had three goals. Kades had another standout performance with 16 saves, bringing her save total to 101 on the season. 

The Cavs will take on the No. 4 seed, Saint Mary’s, in the second round of the state tournament at 5:45 this afternoon on Alumni Field. 

Girls Soccer

DA varsity soccer has advanced to the second round of the NCISAA 4A state tournament after Wednesday’s road win over No. 4 Greensboro Day. 

Heading into the game as the No. 5 seed, the Cavs found themselves trailing 1–0 halfway through the first half. However, the offense was quickly able to close the gap after a cross from junior Molly Hunter found classmate Kennedy Yon in front of the net for the equalizer. Yon continued to dominate on offense, scoring all four DA goals to lift the team to a 4–1 victory over the Bengals. 

The Cavs will now face No. 1 Wesleyan Christian Academy on the road this Friday in a 6 p.m. kickoff.

Boys Tennis

The varsity boys tennis team competed twice this past week, both times vs. Wake Christian Academy. The first of the two matches was held on senior Day, and the seniors were all given an opportunity to compete in both singles and doubles. The boys got out to a quick 3–0 lead in doubles play, led by the four seniors on the No. 1 and No. 2 courts. Seniors Jackson Zobrist and Joey Shaheen defeated their opponents 8–0 on Court 1, seniors Jack Preble and Frank Borden won 8–0 on Court 2, and sophomores Owen Brent-Levenstein and Teddy Wallen won 8–1 on Court 3.

In singles play, the Cavs ran through the Bulldogs on Courts 1–5, but Court 6 featured an exciting matchup. Once again, the four seniors led the way on the top four courts. On Court 5, sophomore Nikolas Larson defeated his opponent 6–0, 6–0. On Court 6, junior Aadesh Anchaliya wrapped things up with a tight match. Anchaliya won the first set 6–4, and found himself down 3–0 in the second. He rallied to force a tiebreaker that he won 7–2. DA defeated Wake Christian Academy 9–0 in this match and finished the evening with a senior day ceremony.

Boys Tennis Senior Night 2021

DA turned around to face the Bulldogs for the third time this year on Wednesday in the first round of the state playoffs. The Cavs won the previous two matches 9–0. DA started off the match with doubles play. Borden and sophomore Paul Wang represented the Cavs on Court 1; sophomore Pete Crowley and Brent-Levenstein were on Court 2; and Zobrist and Shaheen teamed up on Court 3. Simultaneously, Preble played the Court 6 singles match for DA. The Cavs swept Wake Christian in doubles play, and Preble won 6–1, 6–0 to give DA an early 4–0 lead, only needing one more win for the victory. The singles matches finished quickly, as the Cavs only lost two points in the five matches played. DA cruised to another 9–0 win and will face the winner of North Raleigh Christian Academy and Cary Academy on Friday.

Track and Field

The varsity track and field team did not compete this past week but will participate in the Triangle Independent School Athletic Conference meet on Saturday at Cary Academy.



Keeping Up with the Cavs

As always, you can keep up with the Cavs on Durham Academy’s website and the Durham Academy App (available on the Apple App Store).

  • For a list of all teams, their schedules and directions to games, visit
  • Click on an individual team to subscribe to automatic alerts about athletics results, postponements and cancellations, calendar and athletic event reminders. You can also import team schedules into your electronic calendars.
  • All information about the daily athletics schedule is also available on DA’s Athletics Hotline: 919-489-2534 (ext. 5).

The DA App: Schedules and Results

  • The DA App allows you to keep up with athletics wherever you are. You can download the app from iTunes at The DA App pulls athletics content directly from the DA website and delivers it to iOS-based devices including iPhone and iPad.
  • The Athletics portion of the DA App (after launching, click Menu, then click Athletics to open) features results of recent games, a list of upcoming contests and team records.