South Forsyth girls’ lacrosse team was in control of most facets of the game. They had the advantage in possession. They were out-shooting county and Area 3-AAAAAA rival North Forsyth. They were thwarting penalty shot opportunities.
But the Lady War Eagles were losing control of the scoreboard. A six-goal lead shrunk to four by halftime which shrunk to three just minutes into the second half.
“I think we started off just not playing aggressive, not playing intense,” South head coach Mary Williams said. “We realized that North’s a good team and that they were keeping up with us. We were going to have to step it up to our A game to finish it off.”
So South clamped down on defense and turned up the offensive attack to pull away for a 17-5 victory Wednesday on the road.
The Lady War Eagles’ fourth straight win improved their record to 7-6 overall and 2-1 in the area and kept them in position to secure a state tournament berth. North fell to 5-7 overall and 0-6 in the area.
Courtney Wisler led South with four goals, including back-to-back scores 1 minute 8 seconds apart that ignited the Lady War Eagles’ momentum-shifting run in the second half. Keri Porter and Brookey Rickman each had three goals, Moose Mueller had two goals and three assists and Jamie Porter added two goals. Casey Dinan, Jessica Ray and Emma Grace Vogel each scored a goal.
Rachel Hedjuk led the Lady Raiders with two goals, while Stephanie Grove, Savannah Robar and Brittany Smith each had a goal.
After Smith’s goal with 18:05 left in the game cut South’s lead to 9-5, the Lady Raiders didn’t score again. There were chances, for North took 16 shots, but Lady War Eagles goalkeeper Abbey Smith had a strong game with nine saves.
“I thought we played pretty well,” Williams said. “We stepped it up in the second half and really finished the game off.”
It was the kind of performance Williams said South needs to maintain more consistently as it heads into arguably the defining stretch of its season.
That was Williams’ message to the team after the game. She reminded them of the Lady War Eagles’ remaining schedule, which includes area games against No. 6-ranked Chattahoochee (8-2, 3-0), No. 8 Centennial (9-4, 5-1), Johns Creek (8-5, 2-2) and Lambert (9-2, 2-2).
But Williams said she is also encouraged by the team’s play during its current winning streak. The Lady War Eagles’ have won convincingly and narrowly, but they have found ways to win.
“I think we’re right where we need to be,” Williams said. “We’re right where I thought we would be. … We’ve got some really big games coming up that we’re going to have to step it up even more. So we’ve got a long road ahead. We got to keep getting better.”