Holly Springs midfielder Ethan Brantley has a simple way of explaining how the Golden Hawks boys lacrosse team has excelled so far during the 2012 postseason.
“Preparation,” said the Golden Hawk co-captain.
Brantley, a junior, along with teammate Andrew Ruskey, each scored three goals to lead Holly Springs past host Millbrook 11-5 in the second round of the playoffs on Tuesday.
The Hawks (11-7) entered the postseason as a wild card team with a 9-7 record, but have become road warriors with victories at Wilmington Hoggard and Millbrook (13-4).
“We expected a blue collar work ethic type of game with nothing flashy,” said Holly Springs head coach Doug Greenberg, whose Hawks have been in several one-goal games against some of the top teams in the state this year. “We have a group of guys that believe in doing things within our system and playing as a team.”
The Hawks, who finished fourth in Conference 2, now have beaten the top team from Conference 1 and the second place team from Conference 3 (Millbrook) in the playoffs, demonstrating the strength of their conference. Holly Springs will play at Gibbons, the top team in the state, in the third round.
“We’re really excited about what we’ve accomplished and we just hope to keep this thing rolling,” Brantley said.
Holly Springs was on a roll early on against the Wildcats.
Ruskey scored his hat trick in the first period, helping the Hawks to a 5-1 lead.
Millbrook captain Kyle Margosian scored on an assist from Carter Durling to trim the Holly Spring lead to 5-2 at halftime, but a five-goal explosion in the third period put the Hawks in control 10-2 entering the fourth.
“Holly Springs is solid from the first man to the last,” said Millbrook head coach Andrew Wit. “This is a great learning experience for us; our seniors who started this program have set a tremendous example for our younger guys to carry on.”
Wit credited senior goalie Eli Dodgson, who finished the game with 25 saves.
Philip Arnold added a goal and two assists for Holly Springs, while Taylor Ferguson scored twice and Spencer Coffin and Evan Allen each added a goal. Sophomore attackman Will Forrestal (assist) was injured in the second period. Hawks goalie Mitch Daratony finished with 13 saves.
Justin Florian scored the Wildcats first goal, while Stephen Palmer, Josh Aronowitz and Landon Pope also found the net for Millbrook.