A win is nice, but it’s how Apex’s girls lacrosse team wins that matters to coach Mike Bagnasco. Championship expectations will do that.
So while Friday’s 14-9 win against Green Hope, like the other Southwest Wake Athletic Conference victories, was nice, Bagnasco was left wanting a little more.
A little more passing and patience can lead to the kind of cohesiveness it takes to get back to the N.C. High School Athletic Association championship game.
“When you have a lot of scorers on one team, they all want to get the goal,” Bagnasco said. “We’re going to lose in the playoffs if we decide to do that.”
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Turning point: Green Hope had cut into Apex’s 7-4 halftime lead with a goal, but Apex scored three critical goals in a three-minute span, ending with Meredith Chapman’s goal at the 17:58 mark, to widen the lead. Chapman finished with two goals and one assist.
They said it: “When there’s that slight bit of competition, we go to just forcing shots,” Bagnasco said. “As you can see, we outrun them down the field, and then – instead of getting behind, spreading out, relaxing, catching our breath, and then running a play – they do a weak shot and hit the goalie. When we spread out and we didn’t do that, we scored.”
Three who mattered
Mia Castagnero, Apex: The Richmond recruit had four goals and three assists and did well in the faceoff circle.
Graci Fulkerson, Apex: The sophomore added three goals and one assist, matching the totals of senior teammate Abbey Flynn. Kristen Masselli had two goals and one assist.
Quincy Smith, Green Hope: Smith had a game-high five goals to go with one assist for the Falcons. She also won faceoffs and put forth a strong defensive effort from her midfield position.
“She always comes in big with groundballs and can really put it away,” said Green Hope coach Ryan Rotanz. “We have improved a lot on defense, which is really exciting for me. We’ve been working on double-teams and just kind of picking up the energy a lot. It’s been really positive.”
By the numbers
7: Number of Apex assists, which have become Bagnasco’s point of emphasis since the Cougars lost to likely West champion Lake Norman earlier this year.
“That’s a big lesson we learned that weekend,” Castagnero said. “We get more excited about assists now than our own goals.”
3: Goals by Green Hope’s Allie Winiecki, which was good for second on the Falcons.
It’s also the number of Falcons who scored goals. Emma Butler had one goal and two assists to complement Winiecki and Smith’s goals. Green Hope’s Alicia Brunetti had one assist as did Maddie McKinley.