For the first time since the school opened in 2007, West Forsyth’s boys lacrosse team is guaranteed to finish the season with a winning record.
Attacker Phil Procida paced the Wolverines with five goals en route to a 12-4 win over North Forsyth on Thursday during Senior Night at the Wolverine Den.
West (9-5, 3-5 Region 3-AAAAAA) will miss the playoffs, but first-year head coach John Laden is pleased with what the program has been able to achieve this season.
"It means a lot," Laden said of the Wolverines’ winning season. "I’m really proud of the boys because one of our goals was to accomplish something like this and it’s been a nice run, especially for the seniors who’ve been through a lot of trials and tribulations with the program.
"We’ve seen a lot of change in the culture around here and in which they way they play, and for that I’m really proud of everyone who’s in this program."
Procida, a sophomore, recorded a hat-trick and senior Aaron Ward, who finished the game with four assists, tacked on two more goals for the Wolverines to jump out to a 5-1 lead over the Raiders (7-7, 1-6) after one quarter.
Procida picked up where he left off in the second quarter, scoring two more goals, his last with 56.6 seconds left in the half on the outside of the crease. Will Harris put the finishing touches on the quarter with an unassisted goal 18.4 seconds after Procida found the back of the net to make the score 9-2.
"I just cut really well," Procida said. "I tried to cut when the defender wasn’t looking.
"We’re making progress. Coach Laden really helps a lot. We’re actually learning more about the game from a coach who has great experience with really great teams ... he knows what he’s doing."
North’s defense stepped up and held West scoreless for the entire third quarter. Goalkeeper Tanner Short captained the defense and finished the game with 19 saves.
The Raiders’ Brady Grindle scored the only goal of the period on an assist from Patrick Scales.
Attacker Justin Kabo rattled off three consecutive goals to start the fourth quarter. West was down two players due to penalties, but that didn’t stop Kabo from challenging the defense. Ward worked his way to the right of the crease before finding Kabo for the shot to put West up 12-3.
Senior midfielder Mitchell Metrick led the Raiders with two goals.
"We’re just shorthanded," North head coach Mike Yeager said. "We’re playing with a lot of [junior varsity] players. We had to move a lot of people up, so I mean, we’re just a very, very young team out there. But, I’m very, very proud of how our kids handled it.
"We have some big building because almost the whole team is sophomores. We only have two or three seniors out there during that game and almost the rest sophomores. So, it’ll be something we can hopefully try to come back and play hard next year."
West will travel to Parkview on Monday at 7 p.m., while North plays at Johns Creek on Monday at 5:55 p.m.