Despite beating Clover twice during the regular season, Fort Mill couldn't make a third time the charm as they fell 11-4 in the first round of the 5A boys’ lacrosse playoffs.
Clover came into the game as the sixth seed and Fort Mill was the 11th despite going undefeated against the Blue Eagles in the regular season.
Fort Mill and Clover battled back and forth through the first quarter with neither team being able to gain ground. Clover scored first on a goal from Bryce Hearsey, but Fort Mill came right back to tie the match with a goal from Conner Baucom. The Jackets’ Saxton Nelson put Fort Mill on top with about 5:30 left in the first quarter. About 90 seconds later, Trent Felts tied the match for Clover at 2-2 to close out the first quarter.
Baucom scored about midway through the second quarter to give Fort Mill the lead again 3-2, but a little over a minute later, Clover again tied it up with a goal from Tanner Tolson.
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Fort Mill head coach Steve Nadolski said it was just a matter of Clover wanting it more than the Jackets.
“Clover played hard,” he said. “They wanted it more.”
Nadolski said his team wasn’t able to bounce back this year after making it to the state finals last year like they had in years past. Fort Mill was the defending four-time Upper State champions and had made it to the state finals in the sport for the past four years winning it last in 2014.
“You have to reload all the time,” he said. “It's hard to replace those seniors from last year.”
Clover went on a 5-0 run between the second and third quarter to come from behind down 3-2 to take a 7-3 lead.
Clover's ability to go for the jugular when Fort Mill was down helped the Blue Eagles to be able to hold the Jackets off during the second half. The Blue Eagles’ defense held Fort Mill to just one second half goal from Trenton Wylie.
Clover was led by Griffin Bailey, who scored four goals in the game for the Blue Eagles. Baucom led Fort Mill with two goals.
Clover moves onto the second round to face Mauldin, while Fort Mill finishes the season at 7-8.
Clover 11, Fort Mill 4
Fort Mill 2;1;0;1;-;4
Fort Mill - Conner Baucom 2, Saxton Nelson, Trenton Wylie
Clover - Griffin Bailey 4, Tanner Tolson 2, Bryce Hearsey, Trent Felts, Wade Summer, Garrett Hawkins, Lakerri Adams,
Fort Mill 7-8; Clover 9-6.