West Forsyth's girls lacrosse team remained undefeated Wednesday night, but not without enduring a Pinecrest Academy squad up to the task of competing with a Class AAAAAA team months removed from a state playoff appearance.
Madison Mueller made sure the Lady Paladins couldn't close the gap into upset territory, scoring nine goals as West won 24-14 at home. Sarah Grady added five goals and four assists for West, while Pinecrest (4-1) was led by Alex Tilkin and Molly Donkowski, who each scored six goals.
The Lady Wolverines (4-0) gave up double-digits in goals for the first time all season, while the draw control was an issue as the teams ended up splitting in the category, 14-14. West head coach John Thompson tinkered with the draw personnel throughout the night, chalking it up to an early-season diagnostic. His team's stifling defense turned many of Pinecrest's control victories into turnovers.
“Each game kind of gets a life of its own,” Thompson said. “We had many flashes of good, many flashes of frustration. Depending on how tight things are, you kind of have to figure out what the rhythm of the game is going to be—aggressive or finesse. Tonight I think we took a little while to figure that out.”
West jumped out to a 5-0 lead, signaling a route, but the Lady Paladins bounced back with three straight goals from Tilkin and Donkowski. West extended the lead to 13-6 at halftime and took a ten-point lead, 16-6, but never led more than 10.
Pinecrest head coach Jillian DiFazio knew it was a good thing when her players walked off the field in disappointment. After the team won just four games and lost 10 last season, they suffered their first loss of the 2016 campaign, and against a more-than-difficult opponent.
A loss, but hopefully another step for a growing program.
“I feel really good,” DiFazio said. “West is a tough AAAAAA team, and we don't play teams of that caliber, so I was proud of them for how they played and playing until the last minute. No matter the score they fought until the very end.”
Pinecrest goalkeeper Haley Jones was under fire for much of the game, but still held her own with nine stops.
“For (Jones), (West's) two top shooters are both committed to go to college, so to do that against them says a lot,” DiFazio said.
West got early production from midfielder Maggie Dickman, who scored her first hat trick of the season with the score just at 5-0. Kelly Guthrie scored four goals for the Lady Wolverines as well.
“Maggie, she's a senior, and she usually scores a few goals a game, but she's been a nice surprise for us,” Thompson said. “Coming into the year we were worried about our midfield production, but she and some other girls are really filling the job well.”