No. 1-ranked Milton rolls past Mill Creek

HOSCHTON -- The magical ride that has been the Mill Creek girls' lacrosse season came to an abrupt halt in the Class AAAAAA semifinals Tuesday night.

That's because No. 1-ranked Milton came to Markham Field and rolled past Mill Creek 23-3 with a powerful display on both ends of the field.

Milton (17-3-1), a seven-time state champion with eyes on a fourth straight dating back to 2010, will move on to Saturday's championship game to take on the winner of Walton-Lassiter.

For Mill Creek, it was a disappointing end to a terrific season in which the Hawks posted 19 wins against just two losses -- a regular-season loss at Walton and Tuesday to Milton.

"Our girls had a great season and we played a lot of good teams to get to this point," said Mill Creek head coach Brian Williamson of the Hawks' third-year program. "We were behind in a lot of games this season and came back to win. That shows a lot of character and integrity by always playing hard, which they did tonight.

"We will continue to grow and build. We only lose four seniors and bring a lot of players back. We still have a lot of work to do, but we'll enjoy what we accomplished this year. What can you say -- we're one of the last four teams playing in the state tournament."

Milton scored the first five goals of the game in less than five minutes to take a 5-0 lead against a Mill Creek defense that had held 12 opponents to single digits.

Mill Creek, ranked No. 5 in AAAAAA, did get on the scoreboard with 18:51 left in the first period as Tori Windom scored with an assist from Maddie Peek to cut the Milton lead to 5-1.

Mill Creek also had two scoring opportunities that would have cut the lead to 5-3, but the Hawks couldn't answer.

That left the door open for Milton to build on the lead and the Eagles did just that by scoring five straight goals again to push the advantage to 10-1 with 7:28 left.

Mill Creek scored on a goal from Windom, who found the back of the net for the second time in the game at the 6:53 mark to make it 10-2.

From there, Milton scored four more goals to close out the opening period and take a 14-2 lead at the half.

Mill Creek produced the first score of the second period when Emily Hallberg scored, but that would be it for the Hawks in this game as Milton scored the final nine goals of the game for the 23-3 victory.

"There's a reason why Milton is one of the top two or three teams in the country," said Williamson. "They are one of the best. They exploit mistakes. If you make a mistake, they take advantage of it and they're going to burn you.

"We did some good things early, we were moving the ball and we were patient. But we had a very hard time winning the draws, maybe 25 percent. Milton also does a great job of picking up a ball on the ground. We just didn't win any of those groundball wars at all."

Annie Ruland led Milton with four goals and three assists while Mackenzie Lech and Lydia Cassada had three goals and an assist.

Milton, which has outscored its opponents 63-7 in the first three rounds of the state tournament, also got a pair of goals from Hannah Davis as 15 Eagles scored in the game.