Greenville fell behind Dorman 5-1 in its first-round boys lacrosse playoff game Tuesday night at Sirrine Stadium.
“At that point two things happened,” Red Raiders coach Corey Gheesling said. “We switched defenses, and Ashton Baca showed why he’s the best player in the state.”
Baca finished with five goals and an assist, and Greenville bounced back to defeat Dorman 10-9 and hand the Cavaliers their first loss of the season.
“He’s the real deal,” Gheesling said of Baca, a junior who has committed to Furman University.
Baca helped the third-seeded Raiders (8-6) beat the sixth-seeded Cavaliers (12-1) and advance to a second-round game Thursday night on the road against No. 2 Riverside.
Cannon Few scored the game-winning goal with a minute and a half remaining, and senior John Bowman, a senior who will continue his career at Linn (Fla.) University, made a big play that led to the decisive goal.
“John Bowman came up with an enormous ground ball with about three minutes to go that gave us the possession that led to Cannon’s goal,” Gheesling said.
John Krall had a goal and an assist for Greenville. Rob Little, Bonner Snyder and Thomas Lister each had a goal and Gordy Lee contributed an assist.
“Wilson Nickles has been the best goalie in the state all year, and he was lights-out in the fourth quarter tonight,” Gheesling said. “He made a couple of enormous saves at the end.”
He needed to come up big because the Cavaliers kept firing, rallying from a 9-7 deficit to tie the score.
“Typically when we get going we tend to put teams away, but they just kept fighting,” Gheesling said. “Dorman has a lot of heart, and they always have. They had a great season. It’s a shame that was a first-round game. That should have been a second-round or an Upper State game.”
More from sports writer Bob Castello