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Lacrosse: South boys dominate Woodstock to reach first Elite Eight
Ethan Duerk
Ethan Duerk, right, celebrates with teammate Clay Walsh Wednesday during South Forsyth's 13-2 win against Woodstock. Photo by David Uidel

By Noah Rubin 

For the Forsyth County News

For the first time in program history, South Forsyth's boys lacrosse team is headed to the quarterfinals of the state tournament. 

The War Eagles followed up last week's victory over Mountain View with a 13-2 win over Woodstock on Wednesday.

Although this is uncharted territory for the team, senior Ryan Lightsey, who scored four goals in the game, is happy to make it this far, but says that the team isn’t close to satisfied.

“It honestly feels great,” Lightsey said. “It really does, and we’re trying to push for the state championship, so this is just a start.”

Outscoring their opponents in the state tournament 31-3 so far bodes well.

Similar to the first-round matchup, the War Eagles dominated both sides of the field from start to finish. Senior Andrew Canaway scored two of his three goals in the first quarter, which allowed the team to lead 2-0 at the end of the period.

Canaway’s third goal of the game came in the second quarter, when South extended their lead to 7-1 before halftime.

Canaway’s reasoning behind the team’s offensive success was their ability to work together.

“They gave us a couple different looks with both a zone and a man defense, but we worked really well as a team to get the ball around and move it and get everyone a chance to score,” Canaway said. “It’s a big team effort. None of us can do it on our own, so we really have to rely on each other.”

As dominant as the offense was, the defense was every bit as important in the win.

Gavin Rodrigue, a senior defender for South, said that, similarly to the offense, the reason for their success is their ability to play as a team.

“It’s just our defense coming together,” Rodrigue said. “Really, just being on the same page, having the same work ethic through every single practice, day in and day out. Everyone’s just working together and really coming together as a family.”

Although junior Ethan Barlag recorded double-digit saves for the War Eagles, the defense made countless plays that stopped Woodstock before they could even take shots on the goal.

Lightsey scored three of his four goals in the second half to help continue South Forsyth’s dominance in the second half. 

Ethan Duerk scored two goals in the second quarter, each coming immediately after a face-off. Carter Petersen also scored two goals, one in each half. Clay Walsh and Drew Adams also scored one goal each in the fourth quarter, capping off the 13-2 victory.

The War Eagles will host a tough Centennial team in the quarterfinals. With dreams of winning the championship lurking around the corner, South is taking every day seriously.

“It’s really big for us, but we’re going to prepare for it as we do every single game.” Rodrigue said. “We’re going to come in level-headed with a nice plan on how to beat them, and hopefully we come out with a W.”

Photo by David Uidel