Even though the temperature was a chilly 43 degrees at the end of the game, Cary boys’ lacrosse coach Scott Gordon was still sweating.
That’s because his Imps had to hold on for a 9-8 victory against Panther Creek on Tuesday night at Cooper Field.
“Our guys, they like to make in interesting,” Gordon said. “The game before spring break, we won in overtime – and blew a three-goal lead. They like to keep the fans in the stands, I guess.”
The win also marked the first time since 2009 that Cary (2-6-1, 2-4 Southwest Wake Athletic Conference) has beaten the Catamounts.
PC (5-5, 4-3) trailed by four with less than five minutes remaining before scrambling back in the game. Michael Payne started the comeback and senior Caleb Cross scored consecutive goals less than two minutes apart to get within one.
But Panther Creek ran out of steam.
“Very frustrating,” Catamounts coach Steve Haine said. “We’re having a tough season. We’re underperforming when it’s not a good time to. Usually at this point in the season, you want to be getting better, and I don’t feel like we’re doing that.”
After a middling first ended with a 3-3 tie, Tanner Orr scored twice within two minutes – both on nifty plays – early in the third to give Cary a lead it would not relinquish. Goalie David Bunting then came up big on two PC shots to keep the Imps’ lead.
Three to know
Greg Wycoff, Cary: The junior midfielder scored four goals and had an assist. His final goal came nine seconds after the Catamounts cut the lead to 6-4 with 9:19 left in the game.
Caleb Cross, Panther Creek: Three of his four goals came in the fourth quarter as the senior midfielder tried to lead his team back.
Philip Blackley, Cary: Scored three goals including two in the fourth quarter that push the Imp lead to 9-5.
When the Imps got rolling on offense, they were hard to stop. Wycoff, Blackley and Orr are crucial to Cary getting scoring chances, and they worked well Tuesday.
“We’re finding our identity,” Gordon said. “The guys who are offense-generators know it now. We’re starting to find what our offense is and who our goal-scorers are.
“Tanner was the first of our offensive players who knew that he had to be the man. Our attack is the core of, and it’s started all season with Tanner.”
Panther Creek had periods of good offensive chances followed by missed opportunities.
“I am happy we came back,” Haine said. “It was our midfield captain leadership (Cross) who did that. That was good to see.”
But even when PC had a chance to tie the game, it struggled to get a good shot.
“We’ve had a hard time this season with passing and catching, the fundamentals,” Haine said. “We have to get our fundamentals to beat a team like this.”