DURHAM — Evan Allen had a simple but insightful explanation for how the Holly Springs boys’ lacrosse team, which finished third in its conference, was able to overcome conference champ Durham Jordan 10-8 on the road in the first round of the playoffs on Friday.
“We’re in a very tough conference and play games like this all season long,” said Allen, a senior who scored the game winner. “We’ve had so much experience with close games that it really prepares us for challenges like tonight.”
The Golden Hawks, who never trailed, improved to 12-5 on the year and will most likely play at Conference Three champ Broughton in the second round.
Holly Springs was paced with balanced scoring, as Philip Arnold, Mason Boone and Will Forrestal each scored twice, while Alex Walters and Scott Johnson also found the net.
Allen scored the go-ahead goal with 5 minutes, 8 seconds left in the fourth and then Boone scored his second about a minute later.
Andrew Ruskey, Ethan Brantley and Forrestal all said that the communication and camaraderie amongst Holly Springs helps put them over the top in close games. Allen also added that the defensive effort is what the Golden Hawks pride themselves on. Allen was able to neutralize the faceoff advantage the Falcons’ Thomas Schmidt had been enjoying in the second half, as Jordan overcame a 6-2 halftime deficit to tie the score 8-8 in the final period.
The Falcons (13-3) trailed early but made some halftime adjustments to get back into the contest.
“You have to give Holly Springs a lot of credit for the way they play defense,” Jordan coach Jamie Sliwa said. “We changed some things offensively in the second half, started moving off the ball more, but unfortunately we just ran out of time.”
Jordan sophomore Keegan Barnes kept the Falcons in the game in the second half with several clutch saves, many on close range Hawks shots. Barnes finished with 13 stops and Sliwa praised him for having his best game of the season.