The Fort Mill Yellow Jackets’ version of the “Big Three” pushed the No. 1-ranked squad to their third state championship game in four years as they beat the fourth-ranked Greenville Red Raiders 14-9 in the Upper State Championship Tuesday evening at Bob Jones Stadium.
Led by five goals from junior Tyler Lozinski and four from senior Ethan Gray, Fort Mill started hot and never looked back. Senior Mitch Russell added eight assist to his three goals.
“The kids played hard,” said Fort Mill head coach Steve Nadolski. “Possessions were as important as goals. After a couple good days of practice, we will be ready to play, no matter who we play.”
Fort Mill will face the winner of the Lower State Championship between Academic Magnet-Wando Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at White Knoll High School.
Fort Mill came out in the first quarter on a flurry scoring the first five goals, three of those coming in the first two minutes of the game.
Lozinski scored the first two goals and Russell scored the next two to put Fort Mill up 4-0. Gray would add the fifth goal for the Jackets, before Greenville would score.
Despite having a 10-2 lead coming out of the half, Fort Mill wasted no time extending their grasp as Gray scored 8 seconds into the third quarter, giving him his hat trick.
Greenville stayed within striking distance as they refused to let Fort Mill pull away, scoring a third goal in the game and second by sophomore John Krall.
The Red Raiders would continue to chip away, getting another goal just over 2 minutes later, this time by senior Thomas Olsen.
Greenville would add another goal with this one from junior Rob Little with 5:33 left in the third quarter giving them three straight.
Fort Mill stopped the rally as Lozinski would score his fourth goal of the game after the Jackets played keep away from Greenville for several minutes to set up the goal.
Gray would add his fourth score a couple minutes later to give the Jackets some breathing room heading into the final quarter.
Russell started the second quarter off with a goal for the Jackets, giving him a hat trick, with just 89 seconds into the quarter. Fort Mill’s offense slowed down as Greenville’s defense cut off the passing lanes and didn’t allow for much penetration to the goal.
After a timeout, Fort Mill was able to break through those lanes as senior Wyatt Phillips scored ending a six-minute drought for the Jackets. Greenville was able to cut into a seven-point deficit a minute later stopping a scoring drought they were in since the first quarter.
The second Red Raider goal of the quarter was a minor annoyance for Fort Mill as Lozinski would come right back and score just 27 seconds later to give him a hat trick.
The Jackets would add one more goal in the half on Gray’s second goal of the game with 40 seconds left.
Junior Matt Somjak added a goal with just 54 seconds left in the first quarter to give the Jackets a 6-1 lead heading into the second quarter.
Fort Mill 14, Greenville 9
Goals: Greenville – John Krall 3, Thomas Olsen 2, Kyle Brown, Rob Little, Ashton Baca, Thomas Lister. Fort Mill –Tyler Lozinski 5, Ethan Gray 4, Mitch Russell 3, Matt Somjak, Wyatt Phillips.
Records: Greenville 11-6, Fort Mill 12-3.