Sometimes the most important boys lacrosse player is the one who is on the field the least. Middle Creek’s faceoff specialists came up big for the Mustangs on Tuesday night as Middle Creek downed Apex 16-6 to move into first place in the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference.
The Mustangs won 20 of 26 faceoffs, and the talented scorers, led by Jared Medwar, who had six goals and two assists, did the rest.
Middle Creek junior Ryan Robley, a transfer from Utah, won 19 of his team’s faceoffs. He lost only one.
“It’s huge. They tried to drape as many pole as they could on (Robley) and he’s just a stud at the ‘X’ and very valuable to the team,” Middle Creek coach Paul Robison said.
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The Mustangs (6-0, 6-0), ranked second in The News & Observer’s area rankings entering this week, stayed unbeaten on the year, while the No. 2 Cougars (5-2, 5-1) lost for the second time in as many games against top competition. Apex lost Saturday to Charlotte Catholic 8-5 in a rematch of last year’s 4A title game.
Robley’s arrival, in addition to that of the freshman Caputo (three goals, one assist), the son of Duke assistant men’s lacrosse coach Ron Caputo, helped give the Mustangs program the upper hand in a SWAC series where three of the last four games were decided by one goal each.
“Winning the faceoff is a huge part of the game. The more time you have with the ball, the better the chances are that you’re going to win the game. By winning the ball for my team gives me awesome confidence,” said Robley, who added a goal.
Middle Creek’s attackers are young but have jelled quickly. Charlie Doetzer had one goal with three assists; Jack Doetzer had two goals, two assists; Riley McConnell had one goal and one assist; Tanner Patrick had one assist, and Dylan Bryan added one.
“The offense moved the ball really well, found the open man, followed the open slide,” Medwar said. “We’re a tight group, even outside of lacrosse, so I think we all clicked very fast.”
Apex was led by Jack Hayden, who had four goals and one assist. Alex McClure and Brendan Farrell also scored. Chandler Besser had one assist.
“Apex always plays us close,” Robison said. “I definitely wasn’t expecting this.”