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Strategic surges lead to Mill Creek lacrosse sweep

Staff Photo: John Bohn Mill Creek goal keeper Alex Schneider (17) makes a save against Collins Hill during Friday's game.

Staff Photo: John Bohn Mill Creek goal keeper Alex Schneider (17) makes a save against Collins Hill during Friday's game.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Mill Creek's Tori Windom (11) prepares a successful shot on goal while defended by Collins Hill's Riley Poynter (9) and Kellie Murphy (19) during the second half of Friday's game.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Collins Hill's Tim Singer (4) defends Mill Creek's Trent Walker (24) during the first half of Friday's game played at Collins Hill.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Collins Hill's Syndey Gordon (7) is defended by Mill Creek's Abigail Fitler (14), right, and Lara Russell (20) during the second half of Friday's game.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Collins Hill's Aubrey Johnson (21) drives the ball while defended by Mill Creek's Jacob Hubbard (18) during the first half of Friday's game.

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Staff Photo: John Bohn Collins Hill's Riley Poynter (9) defends Mill Creek's Maddie Beck (23) during the second half of Friday's.

SUWANEE -- Mill Creek's boys and girls lacrosse teams each used a surge menatlity to its advantage in Friday night's Area 4-AAAAAA doubleheader at Collins Hill.

The boys used a four-goal spurt spanning the first and second quarters to build a big early lead, and then added another run of four straight goals in the final 5:21 to put away a 13-3 win.

Earlier in the evening, a run of seven straight goals by the Mill Creek girls late in the first half and early in the second gave the Hawks the working margin they needed in a 20-11 victory.

Ian Miller scored four goals for the Mill Creek boys (10-1, 7-0), including one with 7:51 left in the first half that ended a run of four goals over a 6:12 span that pushed the Hawks lead from 2-0 to 6-0 early in the second quarter.

"We've been trying to put together four full quarters," Mill Creek coach Bo Adams said. "I think we got a good three and half in (Friday). A little bit of the third quarter we had some penalties that kind of slowed us down. But they picked it back up in the fourth. ... It was good to see them figure it out and play better in the fourth."

Playing without Super Six midfielder Nick Kozlowski, who was out with a concussion suffered a week earlier against Brookwood, the Hawks got contributions from several sources throughout the evening, including Miller, who also had two assists, and Zach Roper, who contributed a hat trick.

Both those players also played prominently in Mill Creek's final fourth-quarter surge after Collins Hill (5-5, 2-2) had cut what was once an 8-0 lead to as little as 9-3 with 2:13 left in the third quarter on two goals by Tim Singer -- both off assists from Russell Garner and another by Chet Popelka, assisted by Patrick Norton.

Roper got the Hawks' finishing kick started by charging in from the left wing to score an unassisted goal with 5:23 left to extend the lead to 10-3.

Alec Bussink scored just 58 seconds later, and Miller and Roper each found the back of the net in the final 2:53 to apply the finishing touches.

In addition to Miller and Roper, Mill Creek also got a big night from Sam Kibildis with two goals and an assist, Bussink with two goals and Will Bryan with a goal and an assist, plus three key saves from goaltender Alex Schneider.

Mill Creek's girls (10-1, 3-0) received several challenges from Collins Hill, but answered each one with an impressive run of goals.

"It was almost like they needed a wake-up call sometimes," Hawks coach Brian Williamson said. "(Collins Hill) would get within two, and then we'd come back and score. I thought we played hard. ... To me, what made a big difference was whoever was winning the draw because whoever was winning the draw was the (team) that was scoring."

It was a key win on the face-off immediately after Jessica Murad's goal brought Collins Hill to within 7-5 with 6:52 left in the first half that ignited a run that gave Mill Creek breathing room.

Tyler Rediger turned the win into a goal when she converted Rachel Gann's pass just 21 seconds later extended the Hawks' lead back to three goals at 8-5 with 6:31 left in the half.

Gann then added a goal on a one-timer from Abigail Fitler just over two minutes later at the 4:30 mark, and Mackenzie Fagioli set up Maddie Peek for another goal with 33 seconds left in the half to send Mill Creek into intermission with a considerably more comfortable 10-5 lead.

The streak reached as much as seven consecutive goals for the Hawks after Fagioli scored, followed by two goals from Emily Hallberg and another by Maddie Beck in the first 3:26 of the second half and pushed the Hawks' lead to 14-5.

Collins Hill tried to fight back, with Anna Britt scoring a goal and Alyssa Quinones adding two more in a 1:20 span early in the second half to cut the Mill Creek lead to just 14-8 with 19:47 still left to play.

The Eagles then threatened to pull even closer when Quinones found herself just a few yards away from goal in the slot, but Hawks goalkeeper Jillian Wissel denied her with a stick save with 19:01 left.

And the momentum from the most important of Wissel's 15 saves on the night carried over to the offense just 1:02 later as Peek scored off an assist from Nicole Gump with 17:59 to play, which ignited a string of three goals over the next 3:19 to finally put the game away.

Peek finished the game with six goals and an assist, while Tori Windom added four goals, Hallberg had three goals and three assists, Beck chipped in three goals and an assist and Gann had two goals and an assist.

Britt led Collins Hill with four goals and an assist, while Quinones had an assist to go along with her two goals and Abby Squires contributed two goals, 12 draw controls and five groundballs.