Fresh off earning the Cap-8 conference championship, the Leesville Road boys’ lacrosse team wasted no time bettering an already impressive season Friday night.
The Pride defeated Green Hope 16-10 in the second round of the NCHSAA 4A playoffs and advances to the third round to face East Chapel Hill on Tuesday.
“I feel very grateful that we were able to beat a very good team tonight,” Leesville Road head coach Franklin Zirkle said.
Junior midfielder Eric Fitz led a balanced offensive performance for Leesville Road, scoring a team-high four goals while also dishing out three assists.
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Junior attacker Griffin McNamara added three goals for the Pride.
Dominating from the beginning of the contest, Leesville Road built up a quick lead against Green Hope and never looked back.
Five different players players scored in the first quarter for Leesville Road as the Pride led 6-0 after the first 12 minutes of play.
From that point on, Leesville Road was able to protect its large lead and cruise toward an important victory.
Much of that has to do with the play of junior midfielder Davis Sampere. While Sampere scored two goals, his most important contribution came at midfield. He helped his team control the tempo for much of Friday night’s game, as Leesville Road won 19 of 30 faceoffs.
“With the faceoff, it definitely helps when you can win the possession and your offense can hold the ball for the majority of the game,” Sampere said.
As a result, Green Hope had limited chances on the offensive front. The Falcons did not register a goal until the 32 seconds left in the second quarter and despite a five-goal third quarter, Green Hope never achieved consistent success on offense.
“We struggled to dictate the pace on the offensive end and we had some mishaps,” Green Hope head coach John Larkin said.
Junior attacker Harry Wynne led Green Hope with three goals.
Zirkle, the former coach of East Chapel Hill, is looking forward to the rematch with his old school.
“I’d tell everyone in Raleigh to come out and see this game, because it’s going to be a heck of a lacrosse game.”