Wolves claim inaugural county lacrosse crown

NORCROSS -- For a second consecutive game, Wesleyan girls lacrosse players used their now standard method of operation -- with the same result.

After bolting ahead 8-0 en route to beating Collins Hill 22-7 in Saturday's semifinal of the inaugural Gwinnett County tournament at Collins Hill, the Wolves blasted ahead of Greater Atlanta Christian 7-0 in Monday's final at Wesleyan, en route to a 22-6 victory.

The victory backed host Wesleyan's 21-8 victory in the teams' previous meeting this season, when the Wolves (11-5) led by five at halftime, then pulled away. This time, Wesleyan's attack was just as relentless and its defense just as smothering.

Courtney Batchelor started the scoring for Wesleyan (13-5) with a goal in 40 seconds. Natalie Genthert soon followed. As did Caroline Jordan. So much of the early action occurred in GAC's end of the field that the Spartans (11-5) didn't manage a shot until the seventh minute and didn't score until Angeline Nercessian's goal with 15:57 left in the first 25-minute half.

Ahead 15-3 by halftime, the Wolves steadily pulled away. GAC didn't score consecutive goals until Sarah Brown and Caroline Freeman brought the Spartans within 16-5 with 17:35 remaining.

The victory was Wesleyan's fourth straight, following wins over North Springs (21-4), Duluth (22-4) and Collins Hill in earlier rounds of the tournament. The Wolves enter today's final regular-season game at home against Blessed Trinity averaging 22 goals in those last four games, while holding opponents to five on average.

Key to winning the Gwinnett championship was execution, Wolves coach Mary Wilson Schill said.

"We had good teamwork and great passing," she said. "The girls really hustled today."

Wesleyan was led by Kennington Groff, who scored seven goals. Ali Gustin added five and Batchelor three.

Groff, who missed four games because of basketball season, said coming out quickly was key to winning.

"We came out pumped and ready to win," she said. "We wanted to come out fast from the very beginning, get on them, and take it right to them."

GAC was led by Nercessian, who scored twice. Freeman, Lyndsey Kytle, Missy Roughgarden and Brown scored once.