Apex boys' lacrosse head to state final with win over East Chapel Hill

mblake@newsobserver.comMay 14, 2013 

— The path less traveled isn’t always the best option. For Apex’s boys’ lacrosse team, they’re just fine to go the same route as they did in 2010.

And just like 2010, the Cougars will be playing for a state championship on Saturday.

Apex defeated host East Chapel Hill 11-7 in the East regional final Tuesday night, continuing to mirror their red-hot run three years ago.

Much like that team, this year’s has taken some regular-season losses to top competition and used it peak at the right time. But Saturday will be the time to stop the comparisons, as this year’s Cougars want to finish better than runner-up.

"It’s a totally different experience, but we’re healthy at the right time and we’re peaking at the right time," Apex coach John Hayden said. "We’re expecting to win, but not in an arrogant way. They expect to come out and take these things."

East Chapel Hill (16-3) scored the game’s first two goals but never recovered.

Apex (19-2) led 6-3 at halftime, using a 6-1 run over the final 14 minutes of the half.

It never looked back.

The Cougars won the draws 14-7 and held the shots advantage (23-21) that wasn’t close until East scored four goals in the final 2:16.

East had a 30-minute scoring drought from the early second quarter extending into the late fourth.

"What they were trying to do and what we were trying to do was very similar, they just did a better job," East coach Austin Bridges said.

"Our motto for the playoffs has been ’discipline and urgency.’ We had great discipline, but we had terrible urgency."

Seven of East’s 18 shots were saved by Tyler Nesbitt.

"He’s getting better and better," Hayden said. "He’s stopping the ball and we’re helping him out in the clears for the most part."

Apex’s goals were divvied up between Derek Sweet (three), Brendan Farrell (two), John Kanady (two), Ryan Sullivan, Jack Hayden, Mikey Daum and Luke Sieber.

"We’re not looking for Derek Sweet to score six points every night – he usually does anyway, but all the guys can play," said coach Hayden.

Blake: 919-460-2606; Twitter: @JMBpreps

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