A quick start is what Cedar Ridge coach Patrick Kavanaugh expects and that’s what senior midfielder Jack Widman delivered for the Red Wolves as they beat Carrboro 10-5 on Friday in the third round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1A/2A/3A boys’ lacrosse playoffs.
Widman, one of Cedar Ridge’s faceoff specialists, won the opening draw and then rushed up the field to score the game’s first goal. Ten seconds in and Cedar Ridge was up 1-0 and on the way to avenging last season’s loss to Carrboro in the same round
“It gave us a great push to start,” Widman said. “But it was a great team win for us. It was a complete effort. It was good to get redemption on a team that took us out last year.”
Two minutes later, Cedar Ridge went up 2-0 on Sean Tobin’s goal as he added to his school record goal total. Tobin then assisted on Cedar Ridge’s third goal as he fed Nick Bachelder, who scored at the left post to make it 3-0 with 8:15 left in the first period.
“That was the plan,” Kavanaugh said. “We play with pace, that’s the way we are. Our faceoff guys are great and we’re going to create opportunities off transition and we’re comfortable that we can get the ball back.”
A three-goal lead in lacrosse isn’t much but it was enough to establish the momentum with the Red Wolves. After Chad Osborne got Carrboro on the scoreboard with an unassisted goal late in the first period, Cedar Ridge scored two more in the second period and held the Jaguars scoreless to take a 5-1 lead going into the intermission.
After giving up another to Cedar Ridge’s Demetrius Lyles with 7:35 remaining in the third quarter to make it 6-1, Carrboro responded with two straight goals from Chris Millar and Logan Marro as the Jaguars cut the lead to 6-3 with 5:58 left in the third period.
“It was our typical game,” Carrboro coach Ron Mitchell said. “We’re more of a second-half team. But Cedar Ridge was really fired up and they did a really great job of putting their guys in the right spots on the field.”
But the momentum was cut short as Carrboro’s Jack Melville was caught with an illegal stick with 4:12 left in the third, sending him to the sidelines for three minutes and giving Cedar Ridge a man advantage for the entire penalty.
Carrboro’s Drew Ellis gave the Jaguars a bit of a reprieve as he scored next during the penalty but Cedar Ridge came back with the next two in a row by Carter Danku on the power play.
Mitchell said that three minutes was a turning point in the game.
“We were coming back and when you have something like that, it kind of kills things for you,” Mitchell said. “It’s pretty much what happened. Three minutes is a long time.”
Jacob Myles’ goal with .6 seconds left in the third pretty much sealed the game in Cedar Ridge’s favor, giving the Red Wolves a five-goal cushion 9-4 with 12 minutes to play.
Osborne gave the Jaguars a bit of hope with his second goal of the game with 9:30 remaining but Carrboro couldn’t muster a comeback against Cedar Ridge’s stifling defense and the damp field conditions that made shooting and stickhandling fairly precarious.
Widman notched his third goal of the game with 31.9 seconds left.
The game might have been more lopsided without the stellar play of Carrboro goalkeeper Max Kline, who finished with nine saves, including several from point-blank range.
“Max is a very good goalie and he made some great saves,” Mitchell said.
The victory sends the Red Wolves into Tuesday’s East Region championship matchup where they will host Chapel Hill, which was a 10-4 winner at Croatan.