The prettiest play of Monday night’s cold and windy lacrosse matchup between North and South Forsyth high school occurred with just under eight minutes left, when quick passes from South’s Max Kane and Ryan Lightsey let Nolan McDonald find a brief opening and score the third of his four goals while taking a physical hit from one of the visiting North defenders.
“Actually I didn’t know he was behind me,” said a grinning McDonald after the game. “I kind of just shot and felt someone push me from the back.”
What began as a back-and-forth, 6-2 first half that was closer than the score indicated progressed into a 15-3 drubbing by the War Eagles that gave them their first region win and ended a five-game-losing streak.
“It feels really good,” South’s Head Coach Terry Wickman said on his team ending the streak that included two close region losses to Milton and Cambridge in the previous week alone. “Hopefully this will get the train rolling and get us started back in the right direction.”
Both teams exchanged goals early, each relying primarily on one-on-one matchups rather than ball movement and both repeatedly losing groundballs to stick checks and errant passes.
North’s Dane Tyler made it a 6-2 game with just under 30 seconds to play in the half when he cleared the ball on foot while taking a slash from South midfielder Eric McCart and firing an outside shot past the War Eagle goalkeeper.
South answered by scoring six unanswered goals to start the second half.
“We were focusing later on in the game on just getting the ball moving around a little bit more and on the team aspect of the game,” Wickman said on a second half that saw noticeable improvement in his team’s ball movement.
“We had to get up by a lot more,”McDonald said. “We just needed to move the ball more and we did.”
In addition to passing better, South won 12 out of 14 second-half face offs, thanks mainly to Junior Jake Hale, who led the game with 13 while repeatedly providing scoring opportunities for his offense.
“Jake’s been really good on face offs this year,” Wickman said. “He’s been clutch.”
In addition to McDonald, three other War Eagles scored multiple goals. Will Wvckoff and Colton Rudd each finished with hat tricks while Junior Max Kane added two goals and a game-leading four assists.
“I think we worked really well as a team, especially that second half,” Kane said. “We really brought it together and it’s fun to see the offense click like that.”
The War Eagles hope that tonight’s win can be indicative of the remaining season and continue to make strides.
“I know we’re a lot better than we’ve been playing,” Kane said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll pull it together by the end of the season.”