May 8, 2014
With a roster stacked top to bottom with freshman, the Holly Springs men's lacrosse team looked to its senior leadership Wednesday night in the Golden Hawks' first-round playoff game against Millbrook.
Senior captains Will Forrestal and Mason Boone answered the call, combining for ten of the Hawks' 13 goals as Holly Springs marched to a 13-8 win over the Wildcats to advance to the second round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association state playoffs.
"We strive to move the ball around and get it to each other," said Boone, who scored three goals and assisted on several more. "We’re looking for each other across the field, trying to move the ball fast and get one of us open to just take a shot."
Forrestal finished the game with seven goals, including three in the first quarter to jump-start his team's offense and two in the fourth quarter to keep Millbrook from coming back in the final minutes.
"He’s been in this role for a very long time," said Holly Springs head coach Doug Greenberg. "He’s been very excited about this role; same thing with Mason. Both of them have been running the program this year, making sure their leadership is very present. They know that what they do, everyone’s going to have to follow."
Despite Holly Springs' five first-quarter goals, the team led by just one score after the first 12 minutes. Millbrook fell behind by two goals in the first 62 seconds of regulation but responded with four consecutive scores on the other end.
In the game's third minute, Josiah Carr brought the Wildcats onto the scoreboard for the first time. One minute later, Anthony Florian scored to tie the game. Millbrook then got a goal from Trey Sterling and one more from Carr to take a 4-2 lead before the team's offense slowed down.
The first quarter saw the most offensive production for both teams. No more than five goals were scored in any quarter after.
"I think both teams just started to figure each other out a little bit," Greenberg said. "Things that were open early on may not have been open later. It was important just simply to stay patient…eventually we figured we’d get the opportunity that we wanted."
Florain tied the game for Millbrook near the start of the second quarter, but the Holly Springs fireworks continued as the team pulled to a 9-5 lead. The Hawks scored four more consecutive goals in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
"I think that everybody going hard opened up a lot of opportunities, not only for me but everyone around me," Forrestal said. "It’s really helpful when you've got six other guys on the field who know what they’re doing. Everyone on our team can do that and that’s what makes our team strong."
Bailey Koch, Tom Farlow and Justin Boone each added additional goals for Holly Springs.
Having so many younger players, Greenberg said he was unsure of how his team would respond to playing a closely-contested game with such high stakes. He said after the game that if his inexperienced players had any jitters, they didn't show.
"We’re young," he said. "We are freshman-loaded more than anything else. We try to simulate what we can in practices and we try to simulate as much as we can throughout the season. They got tested and I think they passed it pretty well."
Carr finished the game with four goals for Millbrook. Florain scored two while Sterling and Joe Cooper had one apiece.
"We really worked hard this season," said Millbrook head coach Phillip Herndon. "I've never seen a team really improve throughout a season as much as they did.
"Tonight was definitely a tough way to end a season in the first game of the playoffs, but I love that team. They're a great, hardworking team. They have a lot of heart, they love each other and it was a great season."
Holly Springs will go on the road to face East Chapel Hill in the second round of the playoffs on Friday.
Follow Zach Mayo on Twitter at @ZachMayoHSOT
This story is closed for comments.