West Forsyth head coach John Thompson lost count, but was blown away two days ago when he found out his leading attacker, Madison Mueller, scored nine goals in the team's win over Pinecrest Academy.
Turns out, Mueller was saving her best for a familiar opponent.
The senior, who was named the FCN's girls lacrosse Player of the Year as a player at South last season, scored nine more goals on Friday night against her former team as West beat the Lady War Eagles, 17-7, at War Eagle Stadium to remain undefeated on the season.
She scored seven goals in the first half and two more with a running clock for the vast majority of the second half, while also commanding the ball during draw controls.
For Mueller, coming back and playing against those she once called teammates was an emotional experience.
“You know before I was extremely nervous,” Mueller said. “I was playing the people I've played with for three years, some of them longer, so I think there was a lot of emotions on both sides, but we played the best game we could. I couldn't have asked for a better game from everyone tonight. I had a lot of my friends here in support, so I had a lot of fun.”
West (5-0) took a 12-3 lead into the half, despite splitting the draw controls with South. The key was West's ability to follow lost draw controls with forced turnovers, which became a theme throughout the game.
“Defensively it was awesome. Everyone realized what we wanted to do, double-teaming when we could,” Thompson said. He pointed out defenders Madie Pollack and Allie Fagg as keys to creating pressure.
“They're incredible, both of them,” Thompson said.
Sarah Grady scored five goals and assisted Mueller on an impressive sneak-pass coming out of a penalty shot, while Kelly Guthrie and English Day each scored once.
South (1-6) had a much stronger second half, outscored just 5-4, as Jamie Porter scored three consecutive goals to make the score 16-6. Porter finished with five goals, while Camryn Klaus and Merideth Ray each scored once.
South head coach Kassie Smith thought the team played a strong game overall, considering the emotions of facing a former teammate. As well, the Lady War Eagles had bad luck in the first half as four shots-on-goal ricocheted off the pipes.
“In the first half we were losing the midfield game and they had great pressure on us, but in halftime we focused on beating that pressure and reversing the ball and got a lot better,” Smith said. “Offensively Jamie Porter stepped up for us.”
South goalkeeper Arianne Cachuel had a breakout game, stopping nine shots.
“I've got to say, she did a phenomenal tonight,” Smith said. “It was by far her best game.”