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Apex Friendship took back the lead with 15:40 left in the game. Then six minutes later, James Holmes took advantage on an Apex Friendship mishap when they passed the ball backwards to their goalkeeper. The junior forward kicked the ball in to tie the match at 2-2. Four minutes later, Guccio scored a goal to give the Cougars a 3-2 lead. The senior sent the ball into the top part of the net where it tipped off the goalie’s fingertips. However, Apex Friendship tied the game again. The Patriots scored off a free kick with a header goal to make it a 3-3 match with four minutes left in the game. That sent the match to overtime. No one scored in the first period of overtime. Then with five seconds left in the final overtime period, Justin Palmer scored the game-winning goal for Wake Forest off an assist from Guccio. “When the ball went out to the wing, I knew there was going to be a crossover,” Palmer said. “When Chris Guccio hit the cross, the ball went right to me. I prepared myself, adjusted and put the ball in.” Pittarelli said Palmer did what he needed to do to win the game for the Cougars. “I always tell my players to always play their position the way they know how,” Pittarelli said. “Justin was playing his position the way he was supposed to. I’m glad he got it into the back of the net.” It was the second overtime game for Wake Forest this season. They won their last one in a 3-2 victory over Heritage Oct. 3. Pittarelli said the players remained calm under pressure to get the big playoff win. “We’ve been in a lot of different situations this year,” Pittarelli said. “It’s the resiliency that these guys have that makes a difference. They have a fighting spirit. They never give up. They’re not going to quit. Finally, it went our way.” That win led Wake Forest to the fourth round of the 4A state playoffs against Hoggard Nov. 16. The Cougars only scored one goal, but it was all they needed as they shut out the Vikings 1-0. Steg scored the only goal of the match off an assist from Guccio. “We didn’t capitalize on opportunities to score,” Pittarelli said. “We took away Hoggard’s method of moving the ball. That allowed us to capitalize on that game. Hoggard played very well. We stayed focused and made sure we limited our mistakes.” After that win over Hoggard, Wake Forest traveled to Holly Springs for the 4A east regional championship. With the shutout win over the Golden Hawks, the Cougars put themselves in the 4A state championship game. “In order to come out as state champs, we have to play Wake Forest soccer,” Pittarelli said. “We play blue collar soccer. You have to limit your mistakes and focus on your game play. We have to follow through and put the ball in the back of the net.” Wake Forest will play R.J. Reynolds out of Winston-Salem in the 4A state championship Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Koka Booth Stadium in WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary.