HOSCHTON — It took a while for the Lady Hawks to figure out West Forsyth’s defense, but once they did, there was no stopping them.
No. 2 seed West had a 6-3 lead in the first half, but went more than 20 minutes without scoring as top seed Mill Creek earned a 17-12 victory in the second round of the Class 6A girls lacrosse playoffs on Friday at Mill Creek High School.
“It’s a tough loss,” West head coach Dan Kaplan said. “…We actually had possession of the ball with about five to seven shots where we either hit the goalie or hit the crossbar. No excuses; we lost the game, but it could have very easily been, if we had a little better shot selection, 10-6, 12-6 our favor at half, but it just wasn’t meant to be.”
Tori Windom led Mill Creek (19-1) with five goals, while Maddie Peek and Maddie Beck added four apiece. Emily Hallberg chipped in with three goals.
The Lady Wolverines (16-3) were led by Lindsey Lindaman with four goals. Laura Sheffield contributed with three, while five others had one.
Windom scored three consecutive goals to tie the game at 6-6 before Beck scored her first goal with 35.5 seconds left in the first half and tallied her second point with a shot as the horn sounded for halftime to give Mill Creek an 8-6 advantage.
“We got down early and we’ve been really resilient this year in the games when we were down and not playing well, but they got angry and they got upset,” Mill Creek head coach Brian Williamson said. “They thought a couple calls went against them and they got fired up. …They came together as a team and played really well.”
The Lady Hawks continued the offensive attack, as Beck scored on a pass from Abigal Fitler just 26 seconds into the second half. Milton recorded two more goals before Laura Sheffield tallied an assist with a pass to McKinley Puckett for the goal with 18:13 left in the game to make the score 11-7. Puckett’s point stopped a 20 minute 51 second scoreless drought.
“I’d like to say it was our defense that held them, but I don’t think it was,” Williamson said. “I think the goalie [Jillian Wissell] just had a phenomenal game.”
Milton pushed the lead to seven, but West continued to fight with back-to-back goals from Lindaman and a goal from Sheffield to trim the score to 16-12 with under a minute left before eventually falling 17-12.
“These girls mean everything to me,” Kaplan said. “This senior class, these 11 girls are everything to me.
“We’re trying to become one of the elite teams in the state. We’re trying and our girls work hard every day.”