By Gene Galin
Pittsboro, NC – In an intense match-up between the Northwood High School lacrosse team and Croatan High School, the Northwood Chargers emerged victorious with a thrilling 5-4 win in the state playoffs. The game showcased the team’s resilience, strategic play, and unwavering determination. In our video conversation, Coach Cox shares his insights into the match, the team’s preparation, and the key moments that led to their triumph.
The Northwood Chargers, seeded seventh, faced off against the second-seeded Croatan Cougars. The game was originally scheduled to start at 7 p.m., but due to inclement weather, the start time was pushed back to 8:30 p.m. Northwood’s coach, Mr. Randy Cox, described the difficulties the team encountered during their journey to Croatan.
“We had some weather we were dealing with on the way down to Croatan, and once we got there, the women’s game that was supposed to be played at 5 p.m. was canceled to accommodate our game,” Coach Cox explained. “They did a great job of trying to figure out when and what time we were going to start, and we finally started at 8:30 p.m.”
The delayed start posed a challenge for the Northwood team, who had endured a four-hour bus ride to reach Croatan. However, Coach Cox and his coaching staff employed various strategies to keep the players focused and motivated during the extended wait.
“We gave the boys some time to relax and threw the ball around inside the gym access area they provided us,” Coach Cox said. “We tried to keep the atmosphere light and not let them get distracted. Overall, the boys did a great job of staying focused and playing hard for the entire 48 minutes.”
Despite being the underdogs in the match-up, Coach Cox emphasized that the team’s mindset was to never overlook any opponent and focus on executing their game plan. The Northwood Chargers remained determined and persevered through a challenging first half, where they found themselves trailing 3-1.
Coach Cox acknowledged that the team’s success in the playoffs was built upon the foundation of their assertive style of play during the regular season. The team focused on controlling the ball on offense and taking well-executed shots while maintaining a high level of communication and teamwork on defense.
Throughout the game, the Northwood players encountered an outstanding performance from Croatan’s goalie, who made several impressive saves. The Chargers faced frustration as their shots hit the pipes multiple times. However, Coach Cox urged his team to stay focused, reminding them to keep taking shots and maintain their composure.
The turning point in the game came in the fourth quarter when the Northwood Chargers rallied to score four goals, securing a remarkable comeback victory. Coach Cox highlighted the contributions of Van Reese (number 17) and Taylor Laverge (number 18), who played pivotal roles in igniting the rally and securing the win for Northwood.
Furthermore, the Northwood defense showcased their resilience by allowing Croatan to only score once in the second half, highlighting the team’s commitment and tenacity on both ends of the field. The Chargers’ defense played a crucial role in securing the 5-4 victory and advancing to the next round of the state playoffs.
Coach Cox commended the entire team, including the bench players, for their unwavering support and unity throughout the game. Despite the vocal Croatan fans, the Northwood bench and fans showed their enthusiasm, creating an atmosphere that motivated the players to give their best.