APEX — Apex’s boys lacrosse team needed a boost with two make-up games due to weather. The team played three games in three days.
The second contest in that back-to-back-to-back series was Wednesday as the Cougars defeated Middle Creek 4-3 in a battle of unbeaten teams at Apex’s field.
That added boost might have come from the overall buzz on Apex’s campus last week. The Cougars’ boys basketball team was preparing to play for the NCHSAA 4A state title against Lake Norman on Saturday at historic Reynolds Coliseum on the N.C. State campus.
“(The buzz) helped a lot,” said Apex junior Chandler Besser, who scored the match’s game-winning goal. “Everyone is talking about the game, buying tickets and planning to tailgate. It’s going to be fun.”
Apex improved to 4-0 overall and 4-0 in Conference 3, while Middle Creek dropped to 4-1 and 2-1.
Turning point: Middle Creek had a man advantage after an Apex penalty with 3:32 remaining in the match. Within 10 seconds Middle Creek got off a shot in an attempt to tie the game, but the shot hit the post with a loud clang and bounced away.
Apex killed the penalty, and goalie Tyler Nesbitt added one final save with 27 seconds to play.
“I’ll take it,” said Apex coach John Hayden with a sigh of relief on the shot that hit the post.
Scoring: Besser contributed two assists in addition to his game-winning goal.
“I got a pick on the right, and I went off it,” Besser said. “My defender was playing on top of me, so I inside rolled on him, and luckily I was able to finish it.”
Apex’s Jake Harrison added two goals, and Colby Lalicker one.
Middle Creek’s Justin Medwar, Jack Doetzer and Dylan Bryan scored one goal each for the Mustangs.
Net play: Both teams’ goalies – Nesbitt and Middle Creek’s Nick Arcuri – recorded spectacular saves and overall strong efforts in the low-scoring defensive struggle.
“Nick has been splitting time since he was a freshman, and now it’s his team,” Middle Creek coach Paul Robison said. “He’s really stepped up and is doing a great job.”
On Nesbitt’s play, Hayden said, “He made saves and handled the ball. He played outstanding.”
Needs work: “We had too many penalties,” Hayden said of his Cougars. “We weren’t smart.”