Fort Mill, Wando Capture South Carolina State Titles

For the first time since 2005, the Palmetto State is home to a brand new boys' lacrosse champion.

Fueled by an impressive fourth quarter run, Fort Mill won the South Carolina Class AAAA state championship with a 16-12 victory over Greenville on Saturday. Greenville entered the game as the five-time defending state champion.

The pinnacle contest proved to be a back-and-forth affair through the first three quarters of play. Fort Mill took a 6-5 lead into halftime before Greenville went up 11-10 after the third quarter. However, Fort Mill took its game to another level in the fourth to ensure its rival would not win a sixth title in a row.

Spearheaded by the dynamic play of goalie D.J. Quill, senior midfielder Steve Blanchard and freshman midfielder Mitch Russell, the Yellowjackets outscored the Red Raiders 6-1 in the fourth quarter to cap the thrilling come-from-behind victory. Quill finished with 16 saves on the day, including seven in the final period. Meanwhile, Blanchard and Russell combined to score 9 goals for Fort Mill. Senior midfielder Andrew Milks led the way for Greenville with four scores.

Saturday's victory by Fort Mill (15-2) also avenged a tough early season loss to Greenville, 11-10, back on March 12. In that contest, Milks and teammate Zack Poplin combined to net 9 goals as Greenville (13-5) outscored Fort Mill 9-4 in the second half to erase a four-goal halftime deficit.

This time, however, the Yellowjackets were able to flip the script and save their best performance for last.

Wando Takes Girls' Title for First in Program History

Behind a high-powered yet methodical offense, Wando captured the '11 South Carolina Class AAAA girls' crown with a 15-13 victory over Riverside on Saturday. Lizzy Reed scored a game-high six goals while teammate Whitney Smith added four more to send the Warriors (14-2) to their first lacrosse title in program history.

Well aware that Riverside was looking to implement its run-and-gun style offense from start to finish, Wando countered by using controlled and disciplined possessions to win the time of possession battle and keep their opponents from setting the tone.

The Warriors held on to a 12-11 advantage midway through the second half before Smith and company staged a three-goal burst to make it 15-11 with just under five minutes remaining. With goalie Sierra Armstrong and the Wando defense holding strong in the final few minutes, there would be no late-game heroics on this occasion.

Nikki Colwell led the way for Riverside with a team-high four goals. This was the second consecutive season that Riverside (13-3) fell in the state title game. Last season, Blythewood defeated the Warriors, 14-12, en route to the championship and an undefeated season.



To contact staff writer Adam Warner, send an e-mail to adam@laxpower.com.

2011-04-18



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