It started off ugly for Fort Mill and, despite a valiant effort, never got much better as the Wando Warriors beat the Yellow Jackets 13-6 at Chapin High for the boys’ state lacrosse championship.
Both teams had a rich history in the state championship game coming into Saturday’s matchup. This was the third straight year the teams have met in the state final, with Wando winning two years ago and Fort Mill winning last year.
Wando has been in the state finals four straight years and came into Saturday’s game ranked No. 1 in the state with an undefeated record of 17-0. Fort Mill was 12-3 with one of those losses coming to Wando in their first game of the season.
That season opening loss by Fort Mill was a lopsided 17-5 thrashing. And Saturday wasn’t much better for the Jackets; Fort Mill went down 8-0 in the first half before scoring.
“Our offense is really young this year, and Wando comes out fired up and it’s really hard to dig out of a hole like that,” said Fort Mill coach Stephen Nadolski. “It’s hard to go back to back. We have gotten better as the year went on, but we just ran up against a team that got better as well. I couldn’t have asked for more from the guys that have been here. The kids learned a lot from the process.”
Fort Mill was led by seniors Tyler Lozinski and Matt Somjak, who both had hat tricks and combined for all six goals for the Jackets.
Coming out with a comfortable lead after the first half at 8-2, Wando played more of a passing game to open the third quarter, taking its time and setting up shots. That allowed time to melt off the clock and forced Fort Mill to move quicker on offense.
Lozinski scored his second goal about 9:25 in the third quarter to give the Jackets a much needed boost.
However, Wando won the face-off and again went to milking the clock. Defensively, Fort Mill played better in the second half but struggled to get the Warriors to make mistakes and turn the ball over.
Offensively, Fort Mill couldn’t get momentum going as Wando’s defense stayed on the attack, gobbling up ground balls.
Wando extended its lead about midway through the third quarter as senior Andrew Phelan scored for the Warriors, his second of the game. Phelan led all scorers with four goals for the Warriors.
Wando continued to dominate the third quarter.
Fort Mill was able to add one more goal before the end of the third quarter. Lozinski got a hat trick, scoring his third goal with the Jackets playing a man-up.
To open the game, Wando came out firing in the first quarter and never looked back. The Warriors scored 17 seconds into the game on a goal by sophomore John Kuisel.
Wando won the face-off and came back to score 40 seconds later, this time by sophomore Ryan Lipsky, the first of his three goals.
The Jackets’ defense settled some, but couldn’t get anything to happen offensively. They got off just one shot on goal in the first quarter.
Wando added two more goals in the first quarter – one by Lipsky and the other by sophomore Cole Hartley.
The second quarter wasn’t any better for Fort Mill. Wando’s speed seemed to be too much for the Jackets as they struggled to hold on to the ball.
Wando added four more goals in seven minutes before Fort Mill got on the board with a goal by Somjak.
Fort Mill was able to close the gap some right before the half when Lozinski scored with 45 seconds left.