Despite a sluggish start and a lackluster finish, N&O No. 7 Middle Creek girls lacrosse dominated the middle of the game, rattling off an 8-0 run to pull away from Athens Drive 12-7 at home Tuesday night.
The win improved Middle Creek to (5-0, 2-0), the largest undefeated run to start a season in school history. The Mustangs have outscored their opponents 72-24 during that stretch.
“This team has a lot of heart, there’s a great community behind us and these girls really like each other and enjoy playing lacrosse together,” Middle Creek coach Rosemarie Piccirillo said. “We’re a family and we do that well … and that helped us on the field.”
With the game tied up 4-4 early in the first half, Kylie Adamson’s pass set Sam Caputo up for a goal that sparked the run. Middle Creek finished the first half with five goals before opening the second with three more. Caputo scored four times during the run.
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Athens – who had only three substitutes on the sideline – finished the game strong with Erin Kenedy, Carsin Gronbach and Hannah Hume scoring the final three goals of the night to equalize the half at 3-all.
The Jags dropped to (0-3. 0-3), but are only down minus-10 in cumulative goal differential. With such a small team, they have a few kinks to work out before they can start making a dent in the Southwest Wake Athletic Conference standings, most of which are mental.
“Going forward we know we need to learn to play when we’re tired. We can push it out at the end but in the middle of the game we have issues,” Athens coach Haley Lohmiller said. “We need to learn how to play smart and communicate when we’re tired.”
Caputo’s goal to open the second half ensured the the Mustangs’ momentum had carried over, leading to two more consecutive goals.
They said it
With the scoreline close, Caputo knew it was time to ramp things up.
“Our coach told us we’re a good team and I just thought ‘this is our time,’ we haven’t had much competition and we really needed to step it up,” she said.
Three to know
Maddie Dahlgren, Middle Creek: Dahlgren was a ground ball machine all night, picking up every 50-50 ball in her sight as well as routinely forcing the Jags to commit costly turnovers.
Sam Caputo, Middle Creek: Caputo scored the first and final goals of the Mustangs 8-0 en route to a five goal finish.
Erin Kenedy, Athens Drive: Kenedy finished with three goals, but her biggest contribution came in her ability to clear the ball on her own.
By the numbers
4: Girls to score for Athens – Kenedy (three goals), Hume (two), Gronbach (one) and Brooke Bordonaro (one).
6: Girls to score for Middle Creek – Caputo (five goals), Emma Lopes (two goals, two assists), Kylie Adamson (two goals, two assists) Madison Boudreau (one goal, one assist), and Cailin Cardillo (one goal). Suzanne Doetzer also had an assist.
7: Saves for Middle Creek’s Haley Whitfield.