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Girls lacrosse readies for county tournament

Gwinnett's boys lacrosse programs decided to hold their inaugural county tournament near the regular season's midpoint about a month ago.

However, the area's girls programs decided to take a different approach for their county tournament, which gets under way today and runs through Saturday at Collins Hill.

With just one more week left in the regular season and state playoff berths still being fought for by some of the eight girls teams involved, it might seem like an inopportune time to participate in a tournament with plenty of local pride on the line.

But that's not the way at least one of the county's coaches sees it.

"It was just one of those scheduling things that (the coaches) kind of said works best for everyone," said Collins Hill coach Travis Pearre, whose Eagles (4-6-1) still have hope for one of their area's four state postseason berths with two non-area regular season games left next week. "I coach both (boys and girls) sides here (at Collins Hill), and when (GAC boys coach) Tim Ball and I were bouncing back ideas for the boys tournament, Michael Thomas over at Peachtree Ridge kind of said, 'Why don't we just try to do something like that (for the girls) at the end of the year?

"Honestly, at this point, it's just about going out and playing. The way we look at it, (the first-round game against Norcross tonight at 7) is going to be a fun game."

Indeed, all eight teams involve hope to have a little fun with the tournament. As was the case with the boys tournament, which was won by Wesleyan, the girls event serves an additional purpose.

"It's another opportunity to expose people to the sport," Pearre said.

"The most important thing is to help grow the sport (in Gwinnett County). That's the whole idea. We're still playing catch-up with several other metro area school systems. The biggest thing is for us to go out and show how competitive we can be."

And Pearre expects this weekend's tournament to be very competitive.

The two longest-running varsity teams -- Wesleyan and Greater Atlanta Christian -- hold down the top two seeds, with the next two most established clubs -- Peachtree Ridge and Collins Hill -- holding down the No. 3 and 4 seeds and first-year clubs Norcross, Parkview, Grayson and Duluth rounding out the field.

"The matchups were really kind of based on last year," Pearre said. "My guess, and it's only a guess, is that Wesleyan would be expected to do well, and their record is very competitive. Peachtree Ridge is doing very well right now, as is GAC. Norcross and Grayson are right there, too, and I think we're right there. So, it should be pretty competitive."