CARY — Green Hope’s lacrosse Senior Night against neighboring Panther Creek featured a little of everything Friday at the Falcons’ stadium.
There were four matches in a festival-like atmosphere that began with a girls-boys JV double-header and finished with a varsity girls-boys double header. And to keep things interesting on the marathon day, Green Hope’s girls and boys both pulled out victories with dramatic comebacks.
The Green Hope girls won 9-7 in overtime after trailing 7-5 in the second half. The boys rallied from a 5-2 deficit late in the third period with five unanswered goals en route their own 9-7 victory.
The loss was especially painful for Panther Creek’s girls. The Catamounts were on the verge of a milestone win – they’ve never beaten the Falcons – until Green Hope junior goalie Ci Ci Adamson put up a road block.
“The girls told me this is the closest they’ve ever come to beating Green Hope,” said first-year Panther Creek coach Allison DuChon. “I thought we played a great game. We’ve really improved from the start of the year.”
Panther Creek controlled the ball in Green Hope’s end of field most of the second half, but the Catamounts couldn’t come up with an insurance goal. Adamson’s brilliant play in the net was highlighted by stopping two shots on 8-meter free positions following fouls – one with 1:50 to play and another with 1:02 remaining.
“You just have to communicate with your defense and stayed focused in those situations,” Adamson said. “It’s pretty exhausting.”
Green Hope’s Lilly Stanley scored with 2:05 left in regulation to force overtime with a 7-7 tie. Stanley added another goal in the first three-minute overtime session; the teams switched ends for the second OT and Emily Lester scored the final goal.
“We clicked as a team at the end,” said Green Hope’s Mackenzie Koeller. “When we’re not playing with chemistry, it’s evident. We had to start playing together.”
It was Green Hope’s second win in three overtime matches this year. They split two previous OT matches with Athens Drive.
“We’ve been pretty good at playing with adversity this year,” Stanley said.
Koeller and Stanley led Green Hope with four goals each.
Panther Creek’s Megan Collins tallied three goals, Sarah Oechslin two and Maddie Pillar and Paige Kearnan one each. Panther Creek goalie Daphne Lavert also turned in a strong performance.
Green Hope’s girls improved to 8-5 overall and 6-3 in Conference 2, while Panther Creek dropped to 5-7 and 3-6.
In the boys match, Panther Creek’s Conner Davis had apparently provided a comfortable 5-2 lead with 4:12 to play in the third period. But Green Hope suddenly came alive with five unanswered goals from Will McClain, Connor Anglin, Nolan Paussa, Sean Husk and Harrison Wynne.
Husk’s was the most spectacular. He backhanded his stick and intercepted a pass in the middle of the field 20 yards from the goal. Then he pivoted like an outfielder turning to throw home, took a couple of strides and scored.
“They tried a breakout, but it was a low pass and I was able to snag it,” Husk said. “I saw the goalie wasn’t in the net and threw it for the goal.”
In addition to Husk, Paussa, Wynne and McClain contributed two goals each, and Anglin and Dana Kelly one apiece.
For Panther Creek, Davis and Conner Coole scored three goals each and Nolan Eichhorst one.
Green Hope’s boys improved to 9-6 overall and 8-6 in Conference 3, while Panther Creek fell to 6-10 and 6-9.