Coming off a strong team win earlier in the week; the Boys Varsity lacrosse team took the field against the West Forsyth Wolverines for a key area matchup that would determine important seeding in the state 6A/7A playoffs.
In a defensive struggle that went back and forth until the end, the Bears pulled away at the end winning 8-6 over West. It was the Bear's stout defense, timely forced turnovers and several brilliant assists leading to goals that ultimately proved the difference in this battle.
Falling behind 1-0 early in the first quarter, Senior Captain, Austin Darnell showed his leadership with a critical score to tie the game at 1-1. Fellow Senior, Zach Furr, made a nifty dodge move with the finish to the goal helping give the Bears the lead 2-1 towards the end of the first quarter. The Wolverines had three straight shot attempts to end the quarter and all of them were stuffed by the defense, including the aggressive cover defense by Ryan Sadighian, who earned player of the game honors for his relentless effort all over the defensive zone. A key stat for the Varsity lacrosse team this year has been their effectiveness at clearing the ball from the defensive zone to the offensive side of the field. Achieving their best effort of the season, Goalie Cole Winsness and his fellow defenders delivered 18 out of 19 successful clears. After the opponents tied the game in the second, Ian Dexter delivered a lefty laser into the net edging the home team ahead for a halftime lead of 3-2.
It was clear this game was going to be won with strong defense and smart possessions as West Forsyth was determined to play a slow pace offense intended to keep the game close. The team's leading scorer, Jake Meyerholt, delivered two fantastic goals, including one "behind the back" shot on a super feed from Ian Dexter. With those two goals, the Bears grabbed a two-point lead allowing a bit of cushion in this back and forth contest. The Wolverines hung close adding a score to cut the lead to one only to then watch Meyerholt continue his hot play with his third goal of the quarter on a key feed from Zach Shiffman taking the game score to 6-4.
The Bear's played a strong and energetic final quarter. In one key sequence after West took over possession from a face-off, Evan Finelli aggressively pursued and stuffed his opponent leading to an out of bounds play and turnover. Soon after, Sadighian's hustle play to the end line on a missed Wolverine shot ensured yet another possession for the Bears. The rest of the team fed off this determination as the offense came alive for two game defining goals as the game neared the end. Adding to the impressive day for the senior class, Midfielder, Jack Oldham delivered the team to a 7-5 lead on an heads up assist by Zach Furr. In the game's exclamation play, coming off the next face off, Senior Hunter Penman scooped the loose ball at midfield and made a furious drive to the goal delivering the knock out punch with a fireball into the net punctuating a great team win. It was a defensive struggle with several timely offensive plays and an overall superb team effort.
With the win, the Bears have now won eight of nine games and clinched the #2 seed in their region as playoffs are set to begin on May 2nd. They will close regular season play at home against a strong Grayson Rams squad on Tuesday, April 24th.