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Cardinal Gibbons overpowers Apex, 15-5

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May, 13 2017, 1:36 AM

Cardinal Gibbons outlasted Apex, 15-5, Friday night in Raleigh to advance in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A boys lacrosse playoffs.

After a relatively quiet first quarter that featured three combined goals, Cardinal Gibbons used a 5-4 run to take a two-goal lead into halftime.

Cardinal Gibbons junior Zach Niemi capped a first-half hat trick only 17 minutes into the first half.

The Cougars looked to have momentum heading into halftime with three-straight scores from sophomore Preston Lalicker.

Lalicker tied with Niemi for a game-high four goals Friday night.

The standout sophomore scored the final four goals of the first half for Apex, which ended up being the team’s final goals of the entire contest.

Cardinal Gibbons shut down Lalicker and the rest of the Apex offense in the second stanza, using a 9-0 run to pitch a shutout over the final 24 minutes of play.

“Preston Lalicker was the best player on the field tonight,” said Cardinal Gibbons head coach Alex Buckley. “He was unstoppable. We had a gameplan for him, it’s not working. Let’s try to deny him the ball.”

Five different players scored during the Crusaders’ 9-0 second-half run.

“When we don’t make errors we’re very tough defensively, and I thought our offense played great,” Buckley said.

Senior Charles Van Dyke scored two goals in the second half to cap the third hat trick of the night for Cardinal Gibbons. Van Dyke and Jack Zarnik were the only Crusaders to tally multiple goals in the second half.

Cardinal Gibbons senior Trevor Kirsch was dominant at the faceoff circle, which led to several scoring chances and allowed the Crusaders to control the pace of play Friday night.

“It’s such an important aspect of the sport, and when he gets rolling everybody feeds off it,” Buckley said. “When he’s doing well, we do well. When he doesn’t do well, we get a little bit tight. He’s been really, really good in really big spots for us this year and he played great tonight.”

Apex finishes the season with a 15-5 overall record and 13-3 mark in Southwest Wake conference play.

“We played a really good first half. I have to look at that tape; I want to see what happened in that third quarter where they just wore us out,” said Apex head coach John Hayden. “No excuses, they were the better team tonight. We’re proud of our guys though.”

Cardinal Gibbons (15-4, 6-0 PAC 6) will travel to undefeated and No. 1 seeded Middle Creek on Tuesday in the NCHSAA East Regional Final. The winner will face either Lake Norman or Charlotte Catholic for the state tile.

“I’m excited to play a really, really good team on Tuesday,” Buckley said. “I know they have a ton of weapons; I know they have great defenseman and a great goalie, too. We’re not going to overlook anybody on their team."

web_editor : Jon Stout