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Defense lets Hawks' girls hang on vs. Peachtree Ridge lacrosse

HOSCHTON -- Mill Creek's girls held Peachtree Ridge scoreless for 17 minutes spanning the end of the first half and the beginning of the second, and held on to defeat the Lions 13-10 to claim the Area 4-AAAAAA girls lacrosse championship Wednesday.

The victory earned the Hawks (17-1, 6-0) their second area championship in school history and they advance to next week's state playoffs on a high note.

Seven different Mill Creek players scored, which pleased Hawks coach Brian Williamson. "That is fantastic, unselfish play," he said. "We distributed the ball well but I know we will have to play better next week."

The teams traded goals early in the first half with Mill Creek holding a 6-5 lead with 8:33 left in the half. Peachtree Ridge (12-5,5-1) was able to stay in the game due to its ability to control the face off and match the high powered Mill Creek offense. This game was very different than the 17-5 Mill Creek win over the Lions in early March.

"We lost about 10 of 15 faceoffs in the first half," Williamson said. "We rotated players in the spot and finally gained some control."

With more than eight minutes left in the half, Mill Creek went on a 4-0 run to increase its lead to 10-5 at the half. Mackenzi Fagioli, Tori Windom, Maddie Beck and Emily Hallberg scored to give the Hawks a cushion heading into the break.

Beck and Windom scored in the first seven minutes of the second half to increase Mill Creek's advantage to 12-5.

Peachtree Ridge broke the drought with 16:29 left in the game when Darby Frisbie scored one of her game-high, five goals to give the Lions some momentum. Frisbie scored three more times in the next eight minutes to help cut the Mill Creek lead to 13-9 with 8:46 remaining. Sabrina Han's goal for Peachtree Ridge cut the lead to three with four and a half minutes left. However Mill Creek would not let the defending area champions get any closer.

Mill Creek pulled the ball out on offense, partly to run the clock and partly out of roster preservation.

"We had many players who, if they got a card, would have to sit out the state playoff game and we couldn't risk it,"Williamson said.

The Lions' final chance came with more than a minute left but Mill Creek goalie Jillian Wissell made one of her three saves on the night to seal the win.

Beck, a sophomore, led the Hawks with four goals while teammate Rachel Gunn added three for the Area champs who doused Williamson with a ice water cooler after the game.