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Lions reach milestones in girls lacrosse victory

SUWANEE -- The last bit of drama in the Peachtree Ridge girls lacrosse team's Class AAAAA state tournament opener played out 40 seconds into the second half.

That's when junior Michelle Fortier scored her 100th goal of the season, one of the highlights as the host Lions routed McEachern 27-6 in the first round and picked up Gwinnett County's first-ever girls lacrosse win in the state tourney.

"I don't think 100 wanted me to get there," said Fortier, who had five goals and three assists and pushed her season goal total to a county-record 102. "I shot so many times and missed so many times."

While Fortier thought she had an off day, her teammates definitely stepped up and cruised into a second-round matchup Saturday at home against Alpharetta.

Senior Rachel Harper led the way with a tremendous all-around game. She had a game-high eight goals to go with two assists, as well as team highs of five groundballs and four caused turnovers.

"(Harper) had a great game," Lions coach Michael Thomas said.

Darby Frisbie matched Fortier's five goals and Kayla Jones had three goals with a team-best four assists. The Lions also got a pair of goals each from Caitlin Palanza and McKenzie Casal and single goals from Kristen Scheder and Savannah Moore. Scheder and Tiffany Uzor added assists, while Sabrina Han caused three turnovers in the defense.

Peachtree Ridge (15-4) never trailed and jumped out to a 16-5 lead at halftime behind Harper, who scored six of her goals in the first half. Frisbie also scored four times in the opening half.

The second half was played with a running clock and the Lions substituted more liberally as the game came to a close.

The lopsided victory was special as the Lions earned their first state playoff win, as well as the first postseason victory for Gwinnett --at least until Mill Creek matched the feat about an hour later.

"It shows the growth of the sport in Gwinnett County," Thomas said of the milestone victory. "The quality is growing. We're getting better and better as we go. And all the Gwinnett teams are rooting for each other at this point to win."

Fortier also reached an individual feat, but she was more happy with the team milestone.

"It was really awesome to win (a playoff game) for the first time," Fortier said. "I'm glad our seniors got to do this before they graduated."