Middle Creek’s girls lacrosse team played a nearly flawless game in dismantling Holly Springs 15-1 on Tuesday night. Eight Mustangs scored, and keeper Haley Whitfield was solid in the net.
Middle Creek (4-2, 4-1) cemented its hold on second place in the league as the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference race nears the halfway point.
The Golden Hawks (1-5, 0-5) played well in spurts but need more offensive firepower and defensive toughness to contend in the SWAC.
Highlight reel: Holly Hite and Maddy Boudreau had a nifty give-and-go play in front of the Golden Hawks goal, with Hite’s shot going off Holly Springs goalie Rachel Anderson. Hite scooped up the rebound and fired in a goal for a 5-0 lead.
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“She knows where everyone’s at, and she knows the best play for the team,” Boudreau said of Hite. “She looks for the open pass, and she’s always there, always has the cut. She’s a determined player.”
Unsung hero: Boudreau had two goals and two assists from her “X” position, mostly patrolling behind Holly Springs’ goal.
“She runs things down there,” Middle Creek coach Rosemarie Piccirillo said. “She settles the offense down. We put her back there, and she’s a great assist maker. She’s always looking to pass it, but if they give her the crease, she’s going to take them on the crease, too. She’s quick and has a level head, and she sees the field well.”
Putting up numbers: The speedy Hite, a senior attackman, had three goals and an assist, while sophomore Sam Caputo also had three goals and an assist. Adamson had two goals and an assist, while Lopes had two goals and Megan Marchewski two assists.
“We’ve been working a lot on taking care of the ball better, and we did a good job of passing and slowing the ball down,” Piccirillo said. “Our transition looked good tonight, and we were keeping the field spread. We did a lot of really good things.”
Needs improvement: Holly Springs had good scoring chances but couldn’t finish until Jenna Wilson scored with 10 minutes left in the game. Having confidence to convert those chances will help the Hawks get better.
“The score doesn’t show it, but they have improved tremendously from last year,” first-year coach Terri Wasley said. “We’ve seen it in them before. They just need to believe it in themselves, and that’s going to be the change for them. When that clicks, everything else will click, and they’re going to start winning.”
Out of bounds: Some of the loudest cheers from the Middle Creek bench came with less two than minutes to play in the game, when senior defender Jennifer Garcia scored.
“She’s a senior, and she’s never scored because she’s always back on the defense,” Boudreau said. “We like getting all the players who don’t score a lot (chances to score). We’re glad we got a goal for her in her last season.”
Feeling the impact: There are few easy games in the SWAC, and Middle Creek was business-like Tuesday.
“It’s tight,” Piccirillo said. “This conference is good across the board, so it’s hard to look past one game to the next. We’re playing every game as best we can, trying to improve every game. One game at a time.”
That doesn’t stop Mustang players from dreaming of beating powerhouse Apex later in the year.
“We would love to beat Apex,” Boudreau said. “We have a chance, but it’s pretty hard. They’ve got some good players. I feel like if we work as a team, we can stop them, but it’s hard.”
Going forward: Wasley, who coached Holly Springs’ junior varsity team last year, will turn the program over to Rayneen Thebeau after this season. The two are working together this year, trying to rebuild the program.
“We’re starting over, trying to move on and make the girls more competitive,” Wasley said. “They’re trying real hard and doing a good job. They’re doing the best they can.”