The Fort Mill Yellow Jackets controlled the first and most importantly fourth quarters to beat Wando 15-13 winning the 2014 state lacrosse championship at White Knoll High School Monday night.
Fort Mill boy’s lacrosse team was trying to get back to the mountain top after being so close last year and having Wando beat them in the state championship game.
The Jackets had beaten Wando earlier in the regular season 14-9, so coming into Monday’s state finals, it was something they already knew they could do.
“They are always going to fight back,” said Jackets head coach Steve Nadolski of Wando. “They kids really wanted it. I am just proud to be a part of this.”
Fort Mill senior Mitch Russell opened the fourth quarter scoring his sixth goal of the game and gave the Jackets a four point lead with about 9:30 left in the game. Russell led Fort Mill with six goals in the game and finished his senior season winning his second title in four years.
“They are a great team,” Russell said of Wando. “But at the end of the game, we fought for everything.”
The Jackets defense held strong for the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter until Carson Homer scored his third goal of the game. Once that happened, Wando would score again to cut even deeper into the Fort Mill lead at 15-13, but the Jackets managed to hold strong to finish out the game.
In the third quarter, Wando came out controlling the ball and swinging for the fences. Winning the opening faceoff, CJ Anderson converted a score for Wando and Wright Bailey scored his third goal of the game to cut the score 10-7 in Fort Mill’s favor.
Wando also took advantage of penalties by the Jackets and scored again as Homer forced Fort Mill into a timeout with his second goal of the game.
The time out didn’t help as Wando continued to stress Fort Mill’s defense and scored right out of the time out.
Penalties continued to hurt Fort Mill causing turnovers and giving the Warriors extra opportunities.
Wando would tie the game at 10-10 starting second half with five unanswered goals in the first seven minutes.
Fort Mill finally was able to score as junior Tyler Lozinski score his second goal of the game just 18 seconds after Wando finally tied it at 10-10.
After the tie, both teams started to trade goals going back-and-forth like prize fighters trading punches. With a sense of urgency, Fort Mill scored three straight goals to take a 14-11 lead to close the third quarter.
Scoring slowed down as Wando struck first in the second quarter as Homer scored to cut the Warriors deficit in half.
The Warriors controlled the ball early in the second quarter, not allowing Fort Mill to get the scoring opportunities the first quarter produced for them.
Wando would continue to rally scoring again as Sam Weis cut the score to 8-5.
Needing a score, Fort Mill went to Russell, who gave them some breathing room as he would score with less than seven minutes left in the first half.
Jackets’ goalie Kyle Young made several key saves in the second quarter to give Fort Mill’s defense some momentum in slowing Wando’s attack. Young said he had confidence in his team’s offense.
“I knew out seniors would lead us,” he said. “This was such a great experience to finish our senior year.”
With less than a minute left in the first half, Fort Mill scored again to widen its lead as Lozinski scored making it 10-5.
Wando struck first less than a minute into the game as Bailey scored, but Fort Mill came right back to tie the game at 1-1 as Russell scored his first goal of the game.
Wando would again take the lead, but the Jackets countered again and Russell again scored to tie the game.
From there Fort Mill won another face off and took control to rattle off four straight goals as Russell would score the third goal of the game for the Jackets, which was his third goal to give himself a hat trick.
Once they got the lead, the Jackets went for the throat as junior Matt Somjak scored, followed by a goal from Colin Crutchfield to swing thing in Fort Mill’s favor.