GREENVILLE — If it was a prize fight, it would have been stopped early.
What was supposed to be the states two best girls lacrosse teams going head-to-head for the Upper State championship turned into a one-sided battle between No. 2 Fort Mill and No. 1 JL Mann as the Patriots dominated for a 16-5 win.
It has been a tough year, said Fort Mill head coach Nicol Morris, but I am proud of the way they played this year. It just wasnt our year.
Earlier in the season JL Mann had beaten Fort Mill 15-8, getting a little payback from losing in the state championship game 12-11 in overtime last season to the Jackets.
However, if there was any unfinished business to be had by JL Mann, it was completed Tuesday evening.
The Patriots came out swinging and quickly went up 7-1 within the first 12 minutes of the game.
JL Mann, who came into the game 19-1 with just one loss to a team from Atlanta, ran what could be considered a fast-break offense and kept Fort Mill on defense nearly the entire first half.
The Patriots opened with two quick goals from Meghan Lovine and Caitlan Walsh. The Jackets got a goal from senior Victoria Richardson and seemed they might put up a fight.
But JL Mann had different plans and rattled off five straight goals within the next six minutes before the Jackets called a time out to try and regroup.
The timeout didnt help as the Patriots got another quick goal from Lovine.
JL Manns Salley Carson completed a hat trick with just over 6:30 left in the first half as the Patriots continued to aggressively attack Fort Mill.
Lovine clinched herself a hat trick with just 10 seconds to play in the first half, giving JL Mann a 12-1 advantage at the intermission..
In the second half, the Patriots kept their collective feet on the gas, despite Fort Mill playing better, as Carson scored 62 seconds into the period.
We played more aggressively in the second half, Morris said. Its just hard to come back from a deficit like that.
The Jackets squandered their first two possessions of the second half with turnovers.
The Patriots took advantage of the Jackets second miscue when Walsh scored her third goal of the game and put JL Mann up 14-1.
Fort Mill would finally get its second goal of the game after senior Hadley Mabry slipped a shot past JL Mann goalie Paige Elder with 15 minutes left in the game.
Jackets senior Taylor Chambers scored just two minutes later, giving Fort Mill back-to-back goals for the only time in the game.
But JL Mann scored again to keep the lead well ahead of the 10-goal mark, which kept the clock running.
Jackets junior Claire Frase scored with about seven minutes left in the game as Fort Mill seemed to set take its time in setting up the perfect shot.
Frase wouldnt be the last Fort Mill goal of the season as junior Kirsten Terry added another with 10 seconds left in the game, shortly before the Patriots stormed the field in celebration for returning to Saturdays state championship match.
JL Mann 16, Fort Mill 5
Goals: Fort Mill Victoria Richardson, Hadley Mabry, Taylor Chambers, Claire Frase, Kirsten Terry. JL Mann Meghan Lovine 4 , Salley Carson 4, Caitlan Walsh 3, Ellen Sthalman 2, Tanner Rumney 2, Ruthann Payne.
Shots on goal: Fort Mill 11, JL Mann 23
Saves: Rosalie Hawkins (FM) 7, Paige Elder (JLM) 6.
Records: Fort Mill 11-5, JL Mann 20-1.