Starr’s Mill opened their lacrosse playoff slate with a doubleheader at home on Monday night. Both teams continued their dominant seasons with convincing wins against Woodward Academy and Decatur High School.
The Lady Panthers kicked off the lacrosse doubleheader with a 20-1 win over the Woodward Academy War Eagles. Junior midfielder Caroline Andrews was the story as she scored 4 goals. She took advantage of a smaller Woodward defensive front to launch shots into the net.
“I actually had to use a new stick today, and I don’t know if it was that,” Andrews said. “Everybody on the team was in the spaces they needed to be and that was helpful for me.”
Several teammates fed off Andrews’s hot start. Sophomores Ryanne King and Jordyn Richards each had 3 goals, while Alexis Coullias, Caroline Broderick, and Anna Beardsley chipped in two scores apiece.
Alyssa Angelo also added a goal to combine with a couple of nice assists. She led the defensive effort as she attacked the War Eagles set pieces to generate steals and turnovers.
“We are well-balanced across the entire field,” said coach Mary Lehman. “We have several players that can go in there and score for us. If we pull one out, we have another one to put in there. I feel really good about our girls both offensively and defensively.”
The only blemish for Starr’s Mill was a late goal allowed to Woodward. The War Eagles found the back of the net after winning a loose ground ball. The turnover set up a cross-switch pass that led to the lone goal.
Lehman believes the team can clean up minor mistakes heading into the next game.
“We are going to have to work on our ground balls,” Lehman said. “We have to learn to capitalize on them as those are potential turnovers. The next game we will work on that.”
In the boys’ game, Starr’s Mill defeated the Decatur Bulldogs 18-0 to move to the second round of the state playoffs. The Panthers jumped out to an early lead nearly four minutes into the match.
Ethan Sack got the Panthers on the board with a wicked shot into the back of the net. Starr’s Mill continued scoring behind set pieces that allowed for several players to score goals. Luke Rusterucci, Evan Torris, Avery Jenks, Garrett Meuninck, and Preston Harris were among the many to get into the scorebooks as the built up a commanding 8-0 halftime lead.
“I felt we played at the next level,” Ryan Cockes said. “We had a lot of good things and a couple bad things we need to work on before Friday’s game.”
The Panthers’ success could’ve come from a walkthrough on Sunday. The team doesn’t necessarily like playing on Mondays, so Cockes and his teammates took it upon themselves to get a practice in to be sharp.
“We tried to get our starters warmed up as we knew it would be helpful for this game,” Cockes said.
Starr’s Mill head coach Jeff Schmidlkofer agreed. He said the weekend practice was a big confidence booster for his team.
“We had a good walkthrough and got in some stick work,” Schmidlkofer said. “We wanted to shake off the weekend as traditionally we don’t like to play on Monday. We knocked the rust off and it helped us today.”
Starr’s Mill now awaits the next round of the state lacrosse championships. Schmidlkofer thinks the team will be ready, but still wants to see them play a complete game.
“I was proud of them getting after it,” Schmidlkofer said. “I think we just need to play a complete game, and we haven’t quite done that yet. We will look at the film and correct some things.”
Cockes was also honored prior to the game as the Most Positive Athlete in GA lacrosse. He also was awarded as the recipient of the “Hope & Will Award” by the Positive Athlete’s Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
“It feels great and it is such an accomplishment to receive an award of that high standard,” Cockes said.
In other area lacrosse action, the McIntosh Lady Chiefs routed Decatur 14-4, the McIntosh boys beat St. Pius X 7-6, and the Whitewater Lady Wildcats lost to St. Pius X 9-8.
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