A well-placed timeout can serve several different purposes.
It can halt momentum when the opposing team is in a rhythm or allow players to take a moment and catch their breath — or, in the case of South Forsyth's girls lacrosse team on Wednesday, it can buy a few minutes to let the sun set.
Head coach Jim Boisjolie called that crucial timeout with 12:38 left in the first half and South responded by carrying a 4-0 run into halftime, as the War Eagles snagged their first Area 6, 6A-7A victory with a 14-9 win against Forsyth Central.
"In the beginning of the game, the sun just killed us," Boisjolie said. "You might have heard me, I told the girls, 'It's the luck of the American quarter.'"
South sophomore Kate Dominick scored her first of seven goals fewer than two minutes into the match, and the two teams combined for 10 goals in the first 12:22 of play.
South built an early 3-0 lead off a pair of goals by Dominick, plus one by Channing Payne, but Katie Robbins helped get the Bulldogs on the board less than a minute later when she stole possession and worked the ball up to Jordan Van Uum, whose goal made it 3-1 six minutes into the game.
Maya White added another after breaking free across midfield to make it a one-score game.
After Payne's second goal of the half, Maggie LeCoultre brought the Bulldogs back within one score when she wrapped around the net and beat South goalie Danielle Serbinski to her right for the goal.
Central needed just two minutes to take the lead, as LeCoultre broke free in front of the net and bounced a shot between Serbinski's legs, then Van Uum put the Bulldogs in front 5-4 with a goal on a free position shot.
Not long after, Boisjolie called his timeout.
"Runs come and go, and you want to be the person that's on the good end of it. Tonight was a perfect example," Boisjolie said. "I think it was 10 goals scored in the first 12 1/2 minutes. We don't have the depth to go running and gunning down the field and so forth. Those are challenges. Everybody wants to go score. You get hyped up for it, but sometimes you've got to set up, take a little time and maybe catch your breath for a minute so you can make some good decisions offensively and not turn the ball over and have to run all the way back down the field."
South peeled off a 4-0 run in response, capped by Dominick spinning her way open after chasing down a ground ball, scoring with 0:29.8 left in the half to give South an 8-5 lead.
But Central opened the second half with an acrobatic goal by Morgan Carr, who somehow managed to get a shot off while juggling possession to make it 8-6 with 15:50 left.
Dominick answered with a goal of her own a minute later, but Carr scored again 36 seconds later to spark a 3-0 Central run that tied the game 9-9 with 11:34 to play. The Bulldogs were incredibly efficient in their game-tying possession, as goalie Ava Wallace made a save on a free position play, then found Reagan Williams, who lofted a pass to Robbins, who assisted Van Uum on the goal.
Robbins won the ensuing draw, but the Bulldogs couldn't retain possession and turned the ball over.
Moments later, Dominick corralled a high pass from Payne in front of Wallace and hammered home her sixth goal of the match. Her seventh goal gave South a 12-9 lead with 8:04 to play, and Payne's third goal of the night came with 3.3 seconds left and capped a 5-0 South run.
The War Eagles are playing without a couple of key players, including Allie Magers, who scored 45 goals and led South with 92 draw controls as a sophomore.
"We have some injuries and we're trying to work through them," Boisjolie said. "We have some younger players that we're trying to get experience in the varsity game. I think they did well tonight, the younger players. That's really key for us as we go through the season. Every team ends up having injuries, but it's kind of how you deal with them — next person up and so forth."
South [3-4, 1-1 Area 6, 6A-7A] has played a difficult non-region schedule so far, with losses to Johns Creek, North Paulding and Roswell — all playoff teams last year — though Boisjolie said he hopes that experience will help the War Eagles navigate a competitive region. South will host East Forsyth at 7:30 p.m. Friday before jumping back into area play Wednesday at home against Creekview.
Meanwhile, Central [3-3, 0-1 Area 6, 6A-7A] carried some momentum into Wednesday's game after an impressive 16-6 win against Buford. The Bulldogs will look to get back in the win column March 8 at Denmark.