The New Bern Bears held off a late Havelock scoring flurry to hang on to beat the Rams 14-10 in a lacrosse match Friday at Boykin Field in New Bern.
New Bern, winners of nine in a row, led by seven goals after three quarters. A goal by captain Jason Hollister with 3:18 remaining got Havelock within four before time ran out.
“I think they finally pulled their heads out of the clouds. We start off slow and cold,” said Havelock coach Jeremiah Johnson.
The Rams are still considered a club team, but are working toward varsity status. New Bern has already been through the gauntlet. The Bears are competing as a varsity program for the second season.
“We have to show we are making some good strides, financially as well as on the ‘W’ side,” Johnson said. “We need to show we can hold our own and it’s not going to cost the school a whole lot of money. It’s a step to becoming a varsity sport.”
Brook Wheeler scorched the net for six goals to help New Bern improve to 9-2. He also handed out a couple assists.
“Brook Wheeler is a scorer. Sometimes it is unconventional,” said New Bern coach Steve Hopkinson. “He is coming into his own and understanding what we are trying to do. He did real well.”
New Bern ripped 30 shots on goal. Four of those were goals by Tanner Brown, who stepped up in place of leading scorer Kody Sugg.
Rocky Workman and J.P. Doban both scored two goals.
“Tanner Brown stepped up. The whole team stepped up,” Hopkinson said. “Jared Stilley stepped up. He hadn’t played a lot and our freshmen came in and we needed them.
“We’ve been working hard at practice. They were able to do what we needed them to do.”
New Bern opened a 5-2 lead at the end of the first quarter and extended it to 10-5 by halftime. The Bears held a 13-6 advantage at the end of three quarters.
Kris Peck, the Bears senior goalkeeper, had eight saves.
“Kris Peck has been doing a fantastic job. I can’t tell you enough,” Hopkinson said. “He is the leader on the defense, he lets everyone know where they need to be, he always has energy and he’s always ready to play.”
Hollister led Havelock with six goals. Richard Fischer added four.
Adam Thompson is a reporter for the Sun Journal.