Broughton’s chances to stay in the Conference 4 title picture were on the line Tuesday, and the Caps responded in a big way, using a 10-6 win over league foe Leesville Road to create a tie at the top of the conference standings with less than two weeks remaining in the regular season.
The Caps’ (11-2, 9-1 Conference 4) only league loss came at Leesville Road (10-1, 9-1) last month in a game that saw the Pride come from behind. Tuesday, it was Broughton that ruled the second half, scoring eight unanswered goals to turn a two-goal deficit into a runaway victory to hand the Pride its first loss of the year.
“I said, ‘Look guys, our goalie’s hot – he had 10 saves in the first half – and we were going toe-to-toe in the faceoff. We’ve just got to shoot a little better and share the ball and not rush so much on offense,’” Broughton coach Damian Hall said of his halftime speech to the Caps. “I think we did a great job once we got settled today of making things happen.”
The Caps honed in on faceoffs and clearing after struggling in those areas against the Pride previously. Instead of going 1 for 25 at the faceoff, the teams split with nine each, and the Caps went 8 for 10 on clearing instead of the 6 for 12 margin from the first matchup.
“I think those were the two areas we really wanted to focus on in this game. ... I think we turned them over a lot in between the lines and got a lot more possessions out of it,” Hall said.
Broughton senior midfield Walker Rice’s hat trick and assist led an offense that saw three other players – William Rice, Mitchel Snyder and Zach Burgess – score two goals apiece. Goalie Nick Schrum finished with 13 saves for the host Caps.
Broughton dominated the league for two consecutive seasons until Leesville Road emerged last year, edging the Caps for the conference title by one game, creating a new area rivalry.
“We always like to win this conference, and with them beating us by one (goal) last time, we wanted to win by more than one this time, so we just went out and gave it our all,” Walker Rice said.
Leesville Road junior Parker Beebe’s second goal of the match stopped the bleeding for the Pride with four minutes remaining in the game, but the game was already out of reach. Eric Fitz also added two goals and an assist for the Pride.
“We’ll go back and we’ll look at the film, and what we’ll see is that we didn’t pick up ground balls. Lacrosse is a pretty simple game. We had every opportunity to score, we had every opportunity to pick up ground balls, we just didn’t do it.” first-year Leesville Road coach Franklin Zirkle. “It just didn’t line up for us tonight. There was a time in the third quarter where they outhustled us. They picked up the balls off the wings, which is what you have to do in lacrosse, and when you don’t do that you can end up with a result like that, and that’s what happened tonight.”
Both teams return to the field Thursday, with Broughton hosting third-place Enloe and Leesville traveling to fourth-place Wakefield.
Should the teams remain tied, the league’s top seed for the playoffs would be decided by a coin toss, but Hall said finishing the season strong to prepare for the road ahead will be key for the Caps either way.
“There’s no easy road when we get to the playoffs,” he said. “We’re going to have to go through Apex, Middle Creek, (Wilmington) Hoggard or Athens (Drive) or all of those great teams eventually. We just have to be ready for the next game. We’ve got Enloe in two days and then Millbrook right after that, so we’ve got to to make sure we do our job and win the conference and put ourselves in position to have a good seed and some homefield advantage hopefully in the playoffs.”