Playing in front of large home crowd, the Caps traded possessions with the Cougars for the first 15 minutes of the game. Broughton managed to earn several corner kicks, though, and eventually converted one to take a 1-0 lead about 17 minutes into the game when senior Chris Vlahoplus headed in the cross from junior Ike Drooz.
Apex came roaring back immediately, forcing Broughton keeper Frankie Stallings to punch away a shot less than a minute later. It was reflective of the fast pace of the game, with both teams quickly turning to attack when they gained possession. The first half ended with the Caps holding a slim 1-0 lead.
Apex attacked immediately when the second half began, forcing Broughton keeper Trey Morton to make a save on a shot about two minutes into the half.
It looked as if the Caps would have another prime scoring opportunity about 25 minutes into the half when Drooz drew what appeared to be a foul inside the box. But the referee placed the ball outside the box, and the subsequent shot by the Caps sailed high.
The Caps added to their total about a minute later thanks to a second goal by Vlahoplus, who stole the ball from an Apex defender in the box and put it into the back of the net.
Apex got on the scoreboard about two minutes later when the referee called a Broughton penalty in the box. The Cougars converted the penalty kick, the first goal scored against the Caps in the playoffs.
Broughton's defenders held off repeated Apex attacks over the game's final 10 minutes to earn the 3-1 victory.
|The scorers: Chris Vlahoplus, Brandon Gettinger|