Maybe it was the lack of practice finally catching up to both boys lacrosse teams, or maybe it was just good defense – either way, goals were at a premium for much of the Monday night game between Holly Springs and Panther Creek.
A late surge by the Golden Hawks allowed the team to roll to a 10-3 win against visiting PC.
What worked: Holly Springs’ Jackson Bingham and Panther Creek’s Andrew Pritko defended the net well on Monday.
Bingham credited his defenders.
“I was seeing the ball pretty well tonight. Coming out of the film room, coach was talking to me and told me to really see the ball, watch the ball into the stick. After having a not-so-great game the other day (against Athens Drive) I wanted to be more focused,” Bingham said. “The defense is always tough. I credit them with everything. Not letting the other team dodge. It’s a big help to me obviously.”
With some defensive injuries, the Catamounts (0-3, 0-3) put a lot of pressure on Pritko, who was up to the challenge.
“He’s played great this season,” Panther Creek coach Steve Haine said.
Turning point: Though the Golden Hawks (3-1, 3-1) never trailed in the game, two quick goals just 21 seconds apart near the start of the fourth quarter provided Holly Springs a sizeable 7-2 cushion, the largest of the night to that point.
“Everyone slowed it down. We stopped rushing things. Everyone did their job very effectively,” said senior Morgan Allen, who had a goal. “We had a lot better off-ball movement as well. As a whole, the offense just flowed a lot better.”
Haine said his team’s quick offensive possessions made the defense tired and that it showed with giving up five fourth-quarter goals.
“What’s generally happening with us this year is we have the ball for 5-10 seconds and it’s a turnover or a bad shot and then it’s back on our defense. It tires our defense out incredibly and by the third quarter they’re tired out,” Haine said.
Putting up numbers: Holly Springs had balanced scoring led by Tanner Yates’ hat trick.
Scott Johnson had one goal and two assists while Jackson Gutshall, Justin Boone and Nathan Garland had one goal. Davis Ferguson had two goals and one assist and Preston Davis had one assist.
“Every conference win is a great boost for us, but this one especically,” said Johnson, a senior. “We had a lot of good synergy there at the end there. In moving the ball around, saw a lot of people we usually don’t see, so it was good to see them scoring some goals.”
Panther Creek’s Caleb Cross had two goals while Parker Williams had the other.
Out of bounds: Holly Springs coach Doug Greenberg held a football in his right hand for much of the game, gesturing with it when talking to his players on the field and on the sideline.
“I usually have a lacrosse stick. Sometimes I carry different things around,” Greenberg said.
Looking ahead: Panther Creek (0-3, 0-3) has had a tough start to the season with losses to Green Hope and Apex, two of the Triangle’s best teams this year. The next two games don’t get any easier with a Middle Creek and Athens Drive.
“We have a tough beginning to the schedule,” Haine said. “Our first five games are against the top five teams from last season and we were sixth.”