Raleigh, NC - What. A. Game. This one had just about everything you could ask for from a spectator's perspective; gritty play, exciting transition goals, dramatic lead changes and of course, an overtime winner. Tonight, it was the Leesville Pride (9-4) who took down conference rivals Broughton (8-5) in an epic overtime thriller.
This evening's game marked Leesville's 3rd win over conference rivals Broughton since their inaugural varsity season in 2012. This was the first win since the 2015 season and the second of those three wins to require overtime.
Things started off slow for the Pride as they struggled to hold on to possession and failed to clear the ball efficiently. The sloppy play was highlighted early on with a penalty that led to a quick Ben Haugh to Van Parker goal on the extra-man opportunity. The Caps took it even further to score again off a quick possession following the face off with Haugh then finding junior midfielder Gordon Guest to make it 2-0. 30 seconds later it was senior attackman Clay Shrum who found the back of the net from a great feed from senior midfielder Alex Agnolutto. That made it, what seemed at the time, a devastating 1 minute 3-0 run by the Caps. Leesville pulled themselves together with a man-up goal from sophomore attackman Sean O'Brian, assisted by fellow sophomore Zach Blakeman. The quarter ended with both teams trading quick goals. Schrum added his second of the game, which was followed by a great fast break goal from the ensuing face-off with senior FOGO Cole Jankowsky finding Blakeman for the score.
Leesville opened the scoring in the second quarter with junior midfielder Tyler Gray tallying an unassisted goal at the 11:02 mark to make it 4-3. Broughton hit back with three unanswered goals in a two minute stretch. The run was highlighted with an highlight reel type goal from Ben Haugh. The big lefty midfielder started from the wing and a few face dodges later, buried a well placed bouncer. About 45 seconds later, Leesville started their own 3-0 run with a textbook perfect tic tac toe fast break score with Blakeman finding sophomore attackman Brian Fitz for the easy finish.
With the scoreline 7-6 in favor of Broughton heading into the second half, it was the Pride who had the clear momentum. Broughton scored on an early man up goal, but the Pride went on another three-goal run to give themselves their first lead of the night at 9-8. Broughton answered with a nice transition goal from senior attackman Nick Cattano, who was the beneficiary of a Van Parker assist. Refusing to back down, the Pride then went on their 3rd 3-goal run of the night shortly thereafter, highlighted by two more goals from Fitz. The Caps were able to stop the bleeding with a goal from Haugh, but found themselves heading into the 4th down 12-10.
The 4th quarter started very slowly with neither team able to find a rhythm or find the back of the net. Nearly 7 minute went by before Broughton cut the deficit in half with an unassisted goal from Alex Agnolutto to make it 12-11. This was the first of a three-goal goal run that put the Caps up 13-12 with just under 3 minutes to go. Leesville was able to tie the game with one minute left on a O’Brian to Fitz man up goal. With 50 seconds left and a man up opportunity, Broughton was content with playing for the last shot. Leesville was able to stand their ground and force overtime.
The Pride were able to win the face, call timeout and draw up the eventual game winning play. It was the big lefty midfielder Caden Atkinson who scored the game-winner off a Sean O'Brian assist to end what was undoubtedly one of the games of the year. Leesville's FOGO Cole Jankowsky was truly an unsung hero tonight as well. He won a majority of the face-offs and did a lot of the dirty work to get his team possessions.
Leesville's attack unit had quite a night with O'Brian leading the trio with 2 goals and 4 assists. Fitz finished with 4 goals and Blakeman finished with 2 goals and 3 assists. Scary part is, they are all sophomores.
Broughton's top performers were Haugh with 3 goals and 2 assists and Guest with 2 goals and 3 assists.
The second act of this conference rivalry happens to be this Thursday 4/19 at Leesville for what surely will be another exciting game.
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