Apex - Apex used a five goal run in the middle of the third quarter to pull away from upset-minded Wakefield in the second round of the NCHSAA 4A playoffs. Overall an evenly matched game the Cougars prevailed with a final score of 11-7.
Wakefield came out determined to control pace and make it a half-field game. The Wolverines, after narrowly losing the opening faceoff withstood a four minute offensive possession giving up four shots, but none on cage until late in the possession when Griffin Broad made a save and quickly outletted the ball to clear it out of the defensive zone.
It was not until just 2:37 remained in the first that Wakefield was able to break the scoreless tie. Connor Pirrung was able to slip under his man, drop his hands and sting it over the goalies left shoulder from in tight. Wakefield would win the ensuing faceoff and score just 50 seconds later when Reeves Felton scooped up a rebound and buried it.
Apex would not be shut out in the first as Christian Cechini was able to bull his way around the left side crease and bury one past Broad with just 5 seconds remaining to make it a 2-1 wakefield advantage after one.
The second quarter brought more controlled pace lacrosse. Wakefield was able to strike first just under two minutes in when Kevin Ritter was able to hand his defender and perfectly kept him at bay while attacking Sasser and dumping it by the senior keeper to give the Wolverines a 3-1 lead. The rest of the quarter, however, belonged to the Cougars. Sophomore Preston Lallicker was able to dodge the Wakefield zone and bury one off of Broads left hip and Cechini buried his second on a step down feed from Carter White to knot it up at 3-3 going into half time.
The first half of the third would prove uneventful as neither team was able to break through for a quality look. It was Apex who was able to finally get one in when Nick McClusky stepped down on a skip from Cechini and netted a 15 yarder. Just 13 seconds later Lallicker would score his second by winning the faceoff forward and dodging the left alley and scoring his second of the day.
Apex's run wouldn't stop there. Senior Justin Freeman found his way onto the score board with back to back right-handed blasts in the span of just 40 seconds. White would cap the seven-goal run when he scooped a loose ball on the right side of the goal, ran through X, and turned top side on the left side beating the goalie low.
It was Pirrung who was finally able to put a stop to the bleeding when he bull dodged down the right alley and finished with just 42 seconds left in the 3rd. Making the score 8-4 Apex heading into the final twelve minutes.
The fourth quarter saw the teams trade goals in much faster-paced action as Wakefield was forced to abandon its zone in order to pressure the ball. Apex's ability to go 5/7 on faceoffs in quarter made it all but impossible for the Wolverines to close the gap and the game ended 11-7 in favor of the home team Cougars.
Wakefield finishes their season 12-6.
Apex improves to 14-4 and will travel to downtown Raleigh to face undefeated Broughton in the 3rd round.
- Apex - 11 vs Wakefield - 7
- Goals: A: J.Freeman 4, C.White 2, C.Cechini 2, P.Lallicker 2, N.McClusky
W: C.Pirrung 3, R.Finley, C.McKaskel, R.Felton, K.Ritter
- Assists: A: H.Cooper 2, C.White, C.Cechini
- Saves: A: P.Sasser 5
W: G.Broad 7
- Face-offs: A: P.Lallicker (11/17), J.Heavner (2/2), N.Baffoni (1/1)
W: J.Novak (6/20)
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