RALEIGH — Broughton won its second consecutive Conference 3 title Monday with a 6-5 win over Leesville Road.
Both teams qualify for the state tournament, which begins Friday.
Leesville (12-4, 11-3 Conference 3) entered Monday’s contest with an opportunity to force a tie for first place in the league. The Pride jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first seven minutes of play, but Broughton’s Zach Burgess scored back-to-back goals in less than a minute to pull even in the first quarter for the first of four ties in the game.
The Caps opened the second quarter with a goal by Jimbo Dixon to take the lead.
“Our goal from the beginning of the year was to win the conference,” said Broughton junior attack Davis Weaver. “We really wanted to go undefeated in conference, but after the Millbrook game I think we really refocused and realized that we need to go hard every single day. We can’t take any days off and I think we showed that today.”
Weaver scored the final three Broughton goals, including the game-winner with just less than eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, as the Caps held on in the regular season finale.
Broughton (14-2, 13-1) suffered its only league loss two weeks ago, falling in overtime at Millbrook.
Head coach Damian Hall hopes the Caps’ experience in tight contests this season will help the team in the playoffs. In years past, Broughton has struggled in the state tournament despite its strong showing in conference play.
The Caps were the top seed from Conference 3 last year but were upset in the first round by Athens Drive, a No. 3 seed from Conference 2.
Wilmington Hoggard knocked Broughton out of the state tournament in 2011, winning 14-6 in the second round, and the Caps fell to Chapel Hill in the first round in 2010.
Hall said having to edge Leesville in a close game for the conference title was a big win for the Caps.
“You definitely don’t want to limp into the playoffs,” Hall said. “I think it’s big that we were able to hold on and scrap at the end there. I think it’s good for our guys to get in a fight like that, because that’s what it’s going to be. ... Now it’s win or go home.”
Leesville Road coach Jeremy Fullbright said his young team has grown since its 10-4 loss to Broughton earlier in the season. Leesville’s second loss came against Wakefield in double overtime last week.
“We thought it was a great opportunity for us that we had set ourselves up to compete for a conference championship,” Fulbright said of Monday’s game at Broughton. “We knew the first game against them was not indicative of the kind of team we are. We felt much more confident coming in the second go round, and I think it showed in our play.”
Junior attack Drew Farrell led the Pride with three goals and two assists. Tucker Bell and Cody Close also scored for Leesville.
Despite the loss, the Leesville is looking ahead to playoff competition.
“Being a newer program, this is our first playoff experience in lacrosse, but we’re going to have to draw on our players who have been there in football, basketball, soccer and other sports,” Fullbright said. “We’ve got some playoff experience on our team, and experience with playoff success, so I don’t think there’s going to be a wow factor because we’re in the playoffs, but we are excited to be there.”