Leesville Road goalie Graham Holmes’ save when his side was two men down was big when he made it midway through the third quarter and bigger as the night wore on.
The Pride’s boys lacrosse team survived to beat Holly Springs 8-7 in overtime in the third round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A playoffs Tuesday night at Leesville Road’s field.
“Honestly, it was just keeping my head on my shoulder and not letting the moment get too emotional,” said Holmes, a senior. “I had faith in the four (defenders) I had out there with me. They are four of my best friends and I trust them with the world. I had no fear with them out there.”
Leesville Road (14-4) advanced to face Cardinal Gibbons on Friday on the Crusaders’ field. Holly Springs also finished with a 14-4 record.
“I’ve got a great group of kids, and we had a great season,” said Holly Springs coach Doug Greenberg, who spoke with his players in a post-game huddle about accepting a tough loss and building on 2016 for next year. “I’ve got a small senior class that led the way. We’re only losing six guys. I couldn’t ask for more in this group.”
Leesville Road led 6-4 when it faced being two men down. One player was sitting out the final 30 seconds of a one-minute penalty and the other started a two-minute penalty.
Holly Springs (14-4) worked the ball around to Davis Ferguson for a shot from three yards out, but Holmes tracked the ball and caught the shot in his net.
“That’s generally a hard stop to make, especially against a talented guy like No. 10 (Ferguson),” Holmes said. “It’s something special to get this win tonight. We’re trying to build a legacy and something for the future.”
Leesville Road not only beat the odds with the save, the Pride killed most of the remaining two minutes of the penalty before Alex Shearer scored for a 7-4 lead that stood up by the end of three quarters.
The Pride needed everyone one those goals as Holly Springs outscored Leesville Road 3-0 in the final period to force overtime. Ferguson scored the tying goal from close range with 56 seconds to play in regulation when the Golden Hawks caught Leesville Road on a shift change after a missed shot.
In overtime, Parker Beebe scored the game-winning goal with 3:18 elapsed from 15 yards out on the right side. Shearer was at the point when faked a passing to his left and pivoted to his right to feed to Beebe, who made the catch and got off a quick shot.
Beebe finished with four goals. Griffin McNamara, John Stout, Cody Snyder and Shearer added one each.
For Holly Springs, Ferguson and Justin Boone also scored two goals each. Preston Davis, Brendan Ferguson and Matt Calleri scored one each.