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Lacrosse: West Forsyth girls cruise past North Forsyth
West Forsyth's Ella Madson attempts a shot against North Forsyth on Thursday, March 8, 2018. - photo by Ben Hendren

By Steven Watkins

For the Forsyth County News

It would probably be fair to expect a one-loss team visiting another that’s still seeking its first win on a frigid night with high winds to turn in something of a substandard performance.

West Forsyth wouldn’t know.

The Wolverines’ girls lacrosse team outplayed their hosts early, often and thoroughly Thursday night, routing North Forsyth 19-3 and notching their second area win of the season.

“I was very pleased with the way we played,” West head coach Barney Marchand said. “We came out from the start and did a great job.”

There wasn’t a single aspect of the game that the second-place Wolverines didn’t win.

They won draw control 13-8. They recovered 33 groundballs to North’s 25. They outshot the Raiders 40-5. They took a 12-2 lead to the half that began in the low 40’s and tacked on seven more by the time the temperature reached 36 at the game’s end.

“I think I’m more cold than any of them,” Marchand said. “We usually get out and practice every day regardless of the rain or the weather, so it didn’t really bother them too bad.”

West Forsyth's Lily Athey, right, is pressured by a North Forsyth defender on Thursday, March 8, 2018. - photo by Ben Hendren

West made use of their groundball advantage with quick, seamless transitions, frequently catching the Raiders’ defense out of place. When the fast break didn’t present itself, the Wolverines slowed their offense to an almost predatory crawl, feeding the ball fluidly around the attacking third and taking every second necessary to find an open shot.

Three different Wolverines scored within the final eight minutes alone, with the final horn only barely preventing a fourth. Two of the last four goals belonged to junior Samantha Houlberg.

“We’ve been working really hard about not letting off the gas pedal throughout the game, and we just keep pushing the intensity the whole time,” Houlberg said. “This is a win we worked really hard for. We definitely worked every second for it.”

The win kept West locked in a tie with Cambridge for second place, with both of them trailing undefeated Milton.

“I would say we’re far from being in first place,” Marchand said. “We’ve still got Milton and Cambridge in the (area), and they’re still the top dogs; we’re far from their caliber. As long as we keep getting better and growing, the future looks bright.”