O’Brien nets winner as Socastee boys beat Carolina Forest in lacrosse opener

From staff reportsFebruary 24, 2014 

— The Carolina Forest and Socastee boys lacrosse teams faced off Monday in the season opener for both teams.

They kicked off the season with quite a match.

Conor O’Brien scored in overtime to help the Braves hold off a pesky Panthers squad 13-12.

“Conor came up huge,” Socastee coach Matt Fox said. “It was a lefty [shot], real tight on the pipe – a real pretty goal.”

Socastee – the longest-tenured lacrosse program in the area – built an 8-4 halftime lead on Carolina Forest, in its second year as a program. However, the Panthers battled back with three straight goals to close within one and the teams went back and forth before Carolina Forest tied it at 12 with under a minute left to play to force overtime.

“We came out well in the first half and we played a little flat in the second,” Fox said. “Give them credit, they came back.”

Nick Borriello led Socastee with six goals, JoJo Richards added three and three other Braves scored. However, Austin Kelley had 12 saves to keep the Panthers in contention.

“It was excellent play. Their goalie played well,” Fox said of the match overall. “I give credit to my offense. It’s not the way we wanted to win it, but we got it done.”

The Braves have one day of practice before another stiff test as they face defending state champion Wando on Wednesday.

“We’ve got a few things to work on tomorrow,” Fox said. “We’ve got the offensive power. I’ve got a new goalie and he’s coming along. If he plays like I think he can play and we play solid defense I think it will be a good contest. I think we have an opportunity to come out and surprise Wando.”

• Goals–Carolina Forest: Matthew Sampollo 5, Zac Ernest 2, Sebastian Mussumelli 2, Joe Venazio 1, Ryan Custer 1, Curtis Pellegrino 1; Socastee: Nick Borriello 6, JoJo Richards 3, Jiovany Rendon 2, Alec Dowd 1, Conor O’Brien 1

• Saves–Carolina Forest: Austin Kelley 12 saves; Socastee: Nick Robles 8 saves.

• Assists–Carolina Forest: Ernest 1, Sampollo 1; Socastee Richards 1.

• Records: Carolina Forest 0-1, Socastee 1-0.

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