Sometimes a playoff game can be bigger than an actual state championship game.
That was the case Tuesday evening at Bob Jones Stadium in Fort Mill as the number one ranked girls lacrosse team, the Wando Warriors, and the number two ranked team, Fort Mill, clashed for the Lower State championship and a trip to Saturday’s state championship game at White Knoll High School against J.L. Mann.
Fort Mill came out on top, winning 17-16 after scoring 57 seconds into the sudden death overtime period.
Sophomore Kirsten Terry came around the back end of the net on the left hand side and slipped the game winner past Wando junior goalie Sierra Armstrong to send Fort Mill to the state title game.
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Terry didn’t realize her shot had penetrated the net until her teammates surrounded her jumping up and down.
“I just kept thinking we had to win this,” she said.
Fort Mill, placed in the Lower State by the state high school league due to a shortage of teams in the state, was playing in its first Lower State title game and was looking for some vindication after Wando ended the Jackets’ season last year.
“They gave everything that had,” said Fort Mill coach Nicol Morris. “I told them to make sure they left everything on that field.”
Momentum swings were the name of the game for both squads, as neither were able to put the other away.
After leading by one at halftime, Fort Mill came out on the attack and took charge, scoring six straight goals to take a seven-goal lead at 13-6.
The Jackets scored on seven straight shot attempts as juniors Taylor Chambers, Hadley Mabry and Victoria Richardson all scored goals, as well as seniors Dori Wilson and Mady Katz and Terry.
The goals put Fort Mill in command, however — despite the difference — it didn’t seem to take air out of Wando’s sails.
Wando came right back and scored seven of the next eight goals to pull within one at 15-14 and eventually tied the game at 16 with 20 seconds left, forcing overtime.
Morris didn’t tell her team anything new, after the Wando rally, but kept her instructions simple.
“I told them we need to play Fort Mill girls lacrosse, and not anyone else’s,” Morris said.
To start the game, Fort Mill quickly went up 4-0 with three straight goals by Katz and a goal by Richardson.
However, Wando had an answer for that with four straight of its own. Senior Lizzy Reed led the way for Wando as she got three of the four goals to tie the game.
Momentum then came back toward the Jackets as they inched ahead at 6-4 with goals by Mabry and Chambers.
Just like before, the lead was short lived as Wando came right back with goals by Reed and senior Whitney Smith to tie the game again.
Richardson gave Fort Mill a small advantage going into the half as her goal at 3:19 put the Jackets up 7-6.
Fort Mill 17, Wando 16 (2 OT)
Goals scored – Wando: Lizzy Reed 6, Whitney Smith 6, Allie Bucknam 3, Brenna Walsh 1; Fort Mill: Mady Katz 6, Victoria Richardson 3, Hadley Mabry 3, Taylor Chambers 2, Kirsten Terry 2, Dori Wilson 1.
Shots on goal – Wando 31, Fort Mill 24.
Saves – Sierra Armstrong 7 (W), Rosalie Hawkins 15 (FM).
Records: Wando 14-1, Fort Mill 14-2.