Lacrosse juggernaut ends Collins Hill's season

ALPHARETTA -- Coming into Friday's state quarterfinal boys lacrosse game against Alpharetta, Collins Hill knew it would be running into a juggernaut.

However, that thought was intensified midway through the first quarter of Alpharetta's 16-1 win, which sent the hosts to the state semifinals where they will play at Lassiter on Tuesday.

"We knew we were going to be facing a tough team," Collins Hill head coach Ryan Keefer said. "We didn't have as much time as we would have liked to prepare for them, but that's no excuse."

The Eagles (11-9) looked strong in the game's opening minute, winning the faceoff to take it on offense.

After spreading the field on the offensive side, Holin Axley made a quick move from behind the net, getting his defender to lose his footing, clearing the way to the goal, which he converted to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.

Alpharetta (17-1-1) took it to Collins Hill from there, showing why it is one of the best teams in the state.

Kyle Reed tied the game with an unassisted goal with 10:48 to go in the first quarter, with Chris Katz scoring with 8:30 left to give the Raiders the lead.

Reed and Patrick Baldwin scored the next two goals for the Raiders, giving them a 4-1 lead after the first quarter.

The second quarter was much of the same as Katz scored 24 seconds into the quarter to put Alpharetta up 5-1. The Raiders added four more goals in the quarter, including one more from Katz to take a 9-1 lead into halftime.

"The main thing is they took good shots," Keefer said. "We had some opportunities, but didn't convert them. They did."

The second half wasn't any different, either. Baldwin scored the first goal of the quarter, while Katz added two more, and Connor Johnson added the Raider's 13th goal of the game.

Three more goals by Alpharetta in the fourth quarter put the final points on the scoreboard, closing the game with a running clock.

Katz finished the game with five goals and an assist, while Baldwin had three goals and an assist.

By the end of the game, Alpharetta won 15 of 19 faceoffs, not allowing the Eagles to get a chance to get it on the offensive end.

Keefer said that although the manner in which they lost was a tough way to go out, he's still proud of the way his team played throughout the season, advancing to the quarterfinals for the first time in school history.

"This (season) will carry us into next year," he said. "We have that belief that we can make the playoffs and succeed. Now, we just have to push forward."