By Steven Watkins
For the Forsyth County News
If there were a moment that best encapsulated West Forsyth’s 17-2 win at North Forsyth on Saturday afternoon, it would have to be what ensued after the third faceoff of the fourth quarter.
North, having won the faceoff and down 15 goals, pressed toward the crease with understandable urgency and began taking shots from the outside. Christopher Smith missed, followed quickly by Mason Jolley, who was followed again by Smith.
Smith’s second shot, having been preceded by a flag on West, took place in a man-up situation. Immediately following the penalty, West defender James Grohovac intercepted Smith’s third shot of the possession and cleared the ball, leading shortly to teammate James Brockman’s fourth goal of the game.
In short, although opportunities were plentiful for both teams, it was the Wolverines who managed to take advantage throughout the majority of the game.
“Overall we did some really team-oriented things,” West head coach John Laden said. “We played as a team offensively in sets, we played as a team defensively in half-field sets, we really take pride in the way we ride and clear the ball. We did all of those things pretty well.”
West leapt to a six-goal lead by the end of the first quarter, with attackman Sam Tuck and midfielder Josh Bell each scoring twice. Tuck finished his hat trick before the end of the half and tacked on one more with under two minutes, tying Brockman for a game-leading four goals.
The Wolverines’ attack outshot North 49-18 with nine different West players scoring goals and catching North defenders out of position on numerous occasions after clears and turnovers. West also controlled the ball for the majority of the game, winning 22 total faceoffs to North’s six and creating numerous turnovers on the ride.
“We spend a lot of time on that, and we really try to create opportunities off our ride,” Laden said. “It makes us a better team because there’s more opportunities in transitional moments.”
Defensively, Wolverines defenders gave the Raiders’ attack all they could handle, using textbook body position and aggressive stick-checking to repeatedly put the ball on the ground and create turnovers.
“We kind of like to get the ball on the ground,” Laden said. “When the ball gets on the ground we feel pretty confident in recovering and we can make some good things happen on offense.”
With a 2-0 record in conference and a Thursday night matchup with South Forsyth, Laden’s squad is in prime position for strong 2018 campaign.
“We’re excited,” Laden said. “We’re a young team. We graduated a lot of boys from last year’s team. We’re just taking it one at a time and moving forward.”