FORT MILL — Win or lose, Fort Mill High has established itself as having one of the best lacrosse programs in the state this year as both the boys’ and girls’ squads will play in the Upper State Championships this week.
Wins this week would propel both squads to Saturday’s S.C. State Championship match at White Knoll High School.
The boys’ squad will travel to fourth-ranked Greenville Tuesday in the Upper State finals. Greenville beat Nation Ford 8-7 in triple overtime to earn a spot in the Upper State finals.
Fort Mill, ranked second in the state, arrived at the Upper State finals by sloshing its way to an 18-9 victory over Riverside. Despite the weather being so bad at game time and with the field having a good inch of water standing on it, Fort Mill head coach Steve Nadolski said he didn’t want to postpone the match.
“This is what we practice in, so it was no big deal,” he said. “We moved the ball well on offense. It was cool to see things come together. The kids played hard.”
The Jackets came out of the half with a two point lead at 7-5, but with a quick surge of energy scored four goals within the first four minutes forcing Riverside to take a time out.
Fort Mill junior and Duke University committee Mitch Russell put the Jackets up by three to start the third quarter, scoring 38 seconds into the second half. Russell helped with an assist a minute later as junior Wyatt Phillips scored to make it 9-5.
The Jackets would continue their run as senior Trevor Wylie scored his second goal of the match shortly afterwards.
Junior Ethan Gray would then grab himself a hat trick after scoring just under the eight minute mark into the quarter. Gray led Fort Mill with five goals.
After the timeout by Riverside about midway through the quarter, Phillips scored his second goal of the game forcing the Warriors to regroup again defensively.
Russell got the hat trick with about 3:30 left in the third quarter as Fort Mill increased their commanding lead to 13-5.
Chambers leads Lady Jackets
The Lady Jackets also earned their way into the Upper State finals by beating Christ Church 13-5 and will travel to JL Mann this week to face the Lady Patriots, who demolished Riverside 24-6.
The match will pit the state’s top two teams against each other as Fort Mill enters ranked second at 11-4 and JL Mann enters ranked first at 19-1, with its only loss a 14-12 defeat to a team out of Georgia.
Against Christ Church, senior Taylor Chambers led Fort Mill with four goals and junior Claire Frase had a goal and five assists. Freshman Maddie Anderson and junior Kirsten Terry also had three goals each in the game for a hat trick and seniors Hadley Mabry and Victoria Richardson each added goals as well.
Senior Rosalie Hawkins had five saves in goal for the Lady Jackets.