Two goals in the first minute of the game set the tone as the Carrollton High School girls' lacrosse team dominated McEachern in Monday's 21-3 victory at Grisham Stadium.
First it was Leigh Anne Turner just 11 seconds in and then Ansley Barge made it 2-0 12 seconds later and the rout was on for the Lady Trojans (3-2). Turner would reach a hat trick, Barge would score another, while Mamie Crawford and Maddie Willingham all scored before McEachern (0-4) would find the back of the net.
By the final horn that score would triple, on both sides, putting Carrollton back over .500 on the year.
"It was a good win for our girls. McEachern's going through it a little now with a new coach in the last week. I don't know what's going on there, but still, our girls came out," Carrollton head coach Ashley DeWitt said. "A lot of girls scored, a lot of girls played and it was good to get those young ones some minutes. Their defense, man-on-man defense. really hit us a lot and we dropped too many balls. We've got to work on getting contact and being able to hold the ball."
Even though the Carrollton defense was not tested often, it came through with a lot of plays that stopped the Lady Indians from getting themselves back in the game. Junior goalie Katy Taylor finished with five saves on the night.
"The first four, five minutes of the game we kept it on our end, away from [our defense]. When they came down we did stop them. They had a couple of girls that were very fast that could drive the lane. The girl that scored the goals was a good shooter," DeWitt said. "It was good to stop her. We stopped her a bit after that."
Turner finished with four goals as Barge and Kaly Colquitt scored three goals each, Taylor Cox, Delaney Paul, Crawford and Willingham scored two apiece and Breanna Rhodes, Shae Hungerford and Kaylee Camp each scored once.
The Lady Trojans are still on a learning curve in their third year of existence and the improvements from Year 2 to Year 3 might not have been as big from the first season to the second. But there is still some excitement around what this team can do, and in some ways has already done.
"Through the five games you can tell that we are better than we were last year. We really only had one game that we didn't play where I thought we should have, that was against Darlington. Other than that, the girls are getting a lot better," DeWitt said. "We're still behind our stick skills, but a lot of the girls it's still only their third year. It's still a young thing. So it's great we have 22 girls in the fifth through eighth grade playing. So the future is bright and the girls are working hard and continuing to work hard."
Three Lady Trojans will have the chance to continue to play at the next level as Turner has signed with Young Harris, A'Miracle Winters with Point University and Christiana Emory with Reinhardt. That's something the Carrollton program can hang its hat on, even in the early stages.
"The girls signing, that's great. We've got three fixing to go to college and one already in college. That's four in the three short years," DeWitt said. "That's great. It gives them the opportunity to do something else. We are excited about that."
Turner is not just the leader of that group, but the team. And that's not by accident.
"[Turner's] worked the hardest on her stick skills. From the very first year she worked every second on the stick skills … that's where it's at. You see her going right hand to left hand, shooting left, shooting right," DeWitt said. "It's just how much time you put in it, whenever you can. Just wall-balling and throwing with a friend."
It's not a one-girl show, though. There are plenty of other players who have been putting the effort into the sport and combining that with a natural athletic ability to make the Lady Trojans a better team.
"Our other girls, Ansley Barge, A'Miracle Winters, both of them are three-sport athletes that come out and play. Both of them just came out from basketball and that's been a big help to our team. They're very athletic," DeWitt said. "Got a couple of young ones, Maddie Willingham, our goalie's just a junior and [Taylor] is doing so much better. Katy Camp, Erin Nalley, girls like that are really doing good. Taylor Cox is a sophomore that's started for two years. So the future, we've got some future girls coming."
With lacrosse split into just two classifications — Class AAAAAA and Class A-AAAAA — that puts the Lady Trojans in a 12-team region with some of the top teams in the state to contend with for playoff spots. There are private school powers like Darlington, Pace Academy, Walker and Westminster and then the public schools like Kell, which have been playing lacrosse since it started.
"Definitely, the area's big. You play all those Cobb County schools who have been playing lacrosse for forever and it's in their rec programs. So you're behind with that, but we've caught up. We beat some private schools. We beat River Ridge, who's up in that Cobb County area. We're getting a lot closer," DeWitt said. "Except for Kell and Westminster, who are the Buford of lacrosse. You have those great, great teams, but then we're matching up pretty good."
On Thursday Carrollton will get a good, non-area test as Greater Atlanta Christian comes to Grisham Stadium. Not only will the Lady Trojan varsity team get to see how they match up, but the junior-varsity squad will get to square off against some top competition.
"The first year GAC beat us pretty bad, last year it was a two-point game after giving up four or five early. We're expecting to come out and really challenge them for a win. If we play hard and get after it I really think we've got a great opportunity to be there with them so we have a chance," DeWitt said. "And we're playing JV this year with them. So all the young ones can play and all the old ones can play."
Story by Jordan Hofeditz
Photographs by Ricky Stilley
Reprinted from Times-Georgian