A string of three goals in less than a minute was enough to put the Carrollton High School girls' lacrosse team up for good Monday night in a 19-10 victory against Sequoyah at Grisham Stadium.
Sequoyah (5-7, 2-4) was able to briefly regain a 3-2 lead, but Mary Hirvela would tie things back up at 13:52 and Ansley Barge would score at 13:29 and 13:02 to put Carrollton up 5-3 and it would never be tied or trail the rest of the night.
Playing in their first game since March 29 due to having a week off for spring break, Carrollton head coach Ashley DeWitt challenged his Lady Trojans and they rose to meet that challenge.
"After a week off, proud of the girls and their hustle. We challenged them to hustle and out-hustle them, [Sequoyah] had spring break, too. We brought our girls in on Sunday to throw it around," DeWitt said. "I knew we had three games this week and this was a tough, area game … It worked. It wasn't perfect. Last year it was a 10-9 game. This year we beat them by nine, so maybe that's an improvement for us."
Even though the Lady Trojans would maintain the lead for the majority of the match, no lead is ever really safe in lacrosse. Carrollton was, however, able to make it a slightly more comfortable lead by scoring six of the seven goals over a 10-minute span to go up 11-5 before taking an 11-6 lead into halftime.
In the second half the Lady Trojans scored the first two goals to go up 13-6 and were able to breathe a little easier. It was also a case of taking advantage of opportunities when they arose.
"It's always good to get breathing room, but in lacrosse five goals is nothing. That's like a one-point game in basketball. But if you can get up seven, eight then you can breathe just a little bit," DeWitt said. "Another great job. When they go down a man, we score two in the penalty time. That's important. We were down a man and they scored one … That's what you want to do."
Coming up big all night long was Katy Taylor in goal.
Taylor finished the game with nine saves, but also helped out offensively distributing the ball well and setting up goals and goal-scoring opportunities.
"Taylor's growing. She's doing good and getting better and better each game. I'm just glad she's a junior and is coming back," DeWitt said. "She's gotten really good at throwing the long ball to clear it and our girls are starting to catch that long pass, which is good, too. Used to be that it would run by us every time. [Monday] we might have dropped one, the rest of them were caught. [Taylor's] done a great job with that."
Leading the offensive charge was Leigh Anne Turner, as she finished with seven goals on the night, including a stretch of five in a row for the Lady Trojans from late in the first half into the second half. Mamie Crawford finished strong, scoring three of her five goals in the second half. Willingham finished with a hat trick and Barge had two goals to go with her two assists. Hirvela and Colquitt had a goal each. Taylor Cox, Colquitt, Turner and Crawford also added one assist apiece.
After Colquitt gave the Lady Trojans a seven-goal lead at 13-6, the two teams traded goals before Sequoyah pulled to within five with 11:33 to play. Carrollton went on a 4-0 run from there to push the lead up to nine at 18-9 and would win it by that margin.
The win moves Carrollton up the area standings. Even though the Lady Trojans know the top spots might be out of reach, there is still a goal of finishing as high up as they can and with as many wins as they can. Monday's victory was a step in the right direction.
"Just seeing where we're going to end up at the end of the year, each one you get will be ahead of all those guys. We won't be at the top, we know that, but we want to get as high as we can get and get as many wins as we can get in a season," DeWitt said. "We're going to keep working, keep throwing, keep catching and keep playing. The girls seem to really love it. The assistant coaches have done a great job keeping everything in order and keeping us going."
It will be a quick turnaround as the Lady Trojans travel to Columbus today for a 7 p.m. non-area contest and then will host Walker in an area game on Thursday. It's a long week coming off a break, but it's something Carrollton can use to make a strong push in the final portion of the season.
"Hope we don't have bus-lag going down there. Just more of the same, out-hustling them. Once again, we're going to challenge them. We may be a little tired from playing games back-to-back after they've been on spring break, but we'll see. That's the way the schedule fell," DeWitt said. "I was joking saying, 'What head coach would schedule two games after spring break?' I did because I designed the schedule. It is what it is. The girls responded to our challenges and they'll keep doing that. It's a great group of girls."
Story by Jordan Hofeditz
Reprinted from Times-Georgian