Lacrosse has been spreading into Fort Mill and there was no place in town where that was more evident than under the lights at Bob Jones Stadium.
The Fort Mill High girls lacrosse team hosted Ridgeview March 9 in its first ever official home game and took the opportunity to impress the fans in the stands by outplaying and out-hustling the Blazers for a 13-7 win.
"This felt real. We were excited to have all the fans here," said Head Coach Amy Katz. "The girls were really looking forward to this, and for the first varsity girls game ever in the stadium, they really came together."
Midfielder Farrah Bui set the tone for the Jackets from the start, scooping up loose balls throughout the game, controlling the tempo and moving the action up the field.
Fort Mill jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first four minutes, highlighted by a well-executed wrap-around goal by Katie Cheney. The Jackets led 8-3 at the half and never looked back.
Freshman attacker Mady Katz led the offense with six goals.
"It was awesome - especially being in the stadium against good competition. This was really fun," Mady said.
Mady said having a few scrimmages and games under their belt has really helped the team learn to work together, a team that includes a wide range of playing backgrounds and lacrosse experience in an area where the sport is just beginning to bloom.
"We have more plays now because we have more experience. I'm hoping every year we all do well. I'm looking forward to it," she said.
Grace Caywood, Rachel Weber and Cheney also knocked in two goals each.
"Being on this team is really fun, all the new girls are fitting right in," Cheney said. "I'm really proud of us - the way we settled the ball."
On the other end of the field, goalkeeper Angie Case had a strong game, giving up just three goals in the first half, then shutting down the Ridgeview offense in the second half, allowing only one goal with six minutes to play in the game before being pulled to give her backup some playing time.
"She was in fire tonight," Katz said about her goalkeeper. "She was anticipating every shot."
Case had 10 saves on the night, many at point blank range, and a few stops gave the Jackets a big emotional lift.
"Once I block one, I'm in the zone. It's an amazing feeling," she said.
Case, a sophomore at Fort Mill, is playing in the goal for the second year, and said the team's chemistry is as good as ever, and is a big reason for the team's defensive success.
"A goalie is only as good as its defense. They were on top of it -- good talking, good listening," Case said. "Some of us have been playing for a while now; it's like a family. Everything just clicked."
The girls lacrosse team was formed last year and in its second season the team has grown in both players and support, hopefully inching closer to becoming an official school team, Katz said.
Lacrosse was sanctioned by the South Carolina High School League last October, meaning high schools could begin putting together lacrosse programs across the state as early as next year.
The Jackets' six-point win over Ridgeview boosted their record to 2-0 on the season.
Fort Mill's next home game will be Tuesday, Match 24, against AC Flora at Fort Mill High School.