KENNESAW — Coming into Saturday’s Class AAAAAAA-AAAAAA girls lacrosse finals, Mill Creek knew it would have a tough task on its hands against the state’s premier program in Milton.
And throughout the first 10 minutes of the first half, it looked as if the Hawks were up to the task.
However, a 23-6 advantage on the draw proved to be the difference for the Eagles as they won 20-7 to capture their 13th state title in 15 years.
“We struggled on the draw,” said Mill Creek head coach Brian Williamson. “Coming in, we knew how important it was to win those. When you don’t win them, you have to play defense and that’s what we had to do. Our defense got tired and (Milton) took advantage.”
The Hawks (17-6-1) were up to the task early on.
Milton took an early 3-0 lead on two goals by Belle Dora and a goal by Allie Peebles. Mill Creek’s Sara Grieco had an early chance, but her shot went off the crossbar.
Then, with 17:40 to go in the first half, Lyndsey Lewis got the Hawks on the board, going top shelf to make the score 3-1. Lewis added another goal two minutes later thanks to an assist by Grieco.
Milton responded scoring three goals in two minutes to bring the score to 6-2.
Still, the Hawks wouldn’t go away.
Grieco took the ball into the offensive zone and spun her way off a defender to put the ball into the back of the net, making it 6-3 with 10:46 to go in the first half. After a quick goal by Milton, Grieco responded with another goal, making the score 7-4.
“We did some good things offensively,” Williamson said. “I can’t be more proud of this team.”
However, that would be the closest the Hawks would get as the Eagles added three straight goals, two by Brie Catts and one by Caitlyn Costa, bringing the score to 10-4.
Reagan Finley and Grieco added goals towards the end of the first half as the Hawks entered the break down 12-6.
From the outset of the second half, Milton put its foot on the pedal, scoring eight straight goals to put the game away.
Grieco added the final goal of the game with 1:19 to go.
“It means a lot to us to get to this point,” Williamson said. “I received a lot of emails and well-wishes from other coaches in Gwinnett. We wanted this one not only for Mill Creek, but Gwinnett as well.
“(This game) gave us confidence moving forward. You can’t manufacture this atmosphere in practice.”