The Southeast Raleigh and Southern Durham boys lacrosse teams met seeking their first victory on newly-formed teams, but it was the visiting Bulldogs that escaped with a 5-4 win Friday night at Southern Durham.
As Southeast Raleigh goalie Elijah McClain saved a desperation last-second shot from 30 yards out, the Bulldogs’ bench players ran onto the field to celebrate with their teammates. Then they ran across the track to the fence fronting the bleachers to slap hands with fans.
There weren’t many fans in attendance on a windy, 53-degree night, but the point was the Bulldogs took advantage of the chance to celebrate with anyone.
This was no ordinary victory for a team that had previously lost its first eight matches of the season.
“It’s really exciting to win the first game for the program in a long time,” said junior Kyle Muhs, who scored four goals. “The confidence level was a lot higher for this match than previous games. It was a team effort. Hopefully we can get another win.”
Southeast Raleigh renewed its boys lacrosse program after it was shut down following the 2011 season. Its last win was in 2007. Muhs and sophomore Andrew Protz led the effort to renew the sport with a petition. They gathered 80 names and presented it to Southeast Raleigh’s administration for approval to start the team.
Southern Durham, though, is playing is first boys lacrosse season in school history. The Spartans dropped to 0-10, but head coach Xavier Proctor sees progress.
“It’s been a tough season, but we’re having a good time as a team,” Proctor said. “We’ve definitely gotten better and the kids are working hard.”
Southern Durham led 3-1 at halftime on two goals by freshman Jamae Blank, but when Blank left the game in the second quarter with a knee injury, the Spartans lacked firepower the rest of the way.
Southeast Raleigh fought back to a 4-4 tie after three periods on three goals by Muhs to counter one by Southern Durham’s Jensen Cruz.
The match appeared bound for overtime as the fourth period minutes ticked off the clock. But Southeast Raleigh’s Jason Alvarado scored the game-winning goal from 10 yards out on the right side with 2:33 left in the match.
“It was a great shot,” Muhs said. “We practiced our shooting the other day, and I guess it paid off.”