GW lacrosse: Patriots bury Mohigans to stay unbeaten

KENNY KEMP | Gazette
George Washington’s Cheyenne Banks shoots over Morgantown’s Karina Collins and Abigail Ward.

George Washington’s lacrosse season has been one that would make any grandpa proud.

“We’ve really brought it this year,’’ said Patriots junior Sarah Wilson, a three-year starter. “All the crowd ever says to me, especially my grandpa, is just how much we have improved, and he’s been there since Day 1. He just thinks it’s the most amazing thing. To go 9-0, it’s just a great feeling.’’

The Patriots displayed that moxie after teetering a bit in the opening half Tuesday as Wilson scored 50 seconds into the second half to start a barrage that carried them past defending state champion Morgantown 15-6. A crowd of about 50 attended the matchup of the state’s top girls prep teams at Steve Edwards Sr. Field at GW High School.

GW was clinging to a 5-4 lead at halftime but put away the Mohigans with eight straight goals to open the final 25-minute period. Wilson, Sarah White and Grace Moore each scored twice during the bombardment with Kasey Rhodes and Maggie Helmick chipping in one goal apiece in building a 13-4 advantage with 12:23 left in the game.

“[Morgantown] beat us by too many last year,’’ laughed Wilson. “We knew we had to pick it up. We needed to start playing together and get our heads straight. This is a completely different team from last year. We know we will fight for every goal. We knew we could win this game. ’’

White finished with a team-high five goals while Wilson and Moore pitched in four each for GW, which edged Fairmont Senior 12-11 Monday at Laidley Field. Rachel Cokeley turned in five saves while Allasyn Simunic made two stops in keeping Morgantown at bay for much of the evening. The Mohigans were limited to two goals in the second half.

“I felt going in we were going to win,’’ said GW coach Greg Mallory. “Our girls are passing much better. We have a heck of a defense. They don’t get a whole lot of accolades, but they shut [Morgantown] down. They’ve got [Emma] Hicks, she’s playing D-I next year. To be able to go up against somebody like that and keep her down is a good accomplishment.’’

GW has fielded a girls lacrosse team since 2009 and broke even for the first time last year with a 5-5 record. Lacrosse isn’t sanctioned by the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission.

“As a team we’ve just become stronger and stronger,’’ Wilson said. “Individually, just passing, catching, we’ve got the basics down now. We’ve just come a long way. I think we can continue on this path. We want to keep this streak going.’’

“We’ve got a lot of great athletes,’’ added Mallory, who has several players getting looks from colleges. “They went to camps all summer and a lot of these girls have been playing all year just passing on a weekly basis with each other. They just work really, really well. We’ve just grown by leaps and bounds.’’

Of course an unblemished season would be nice, but there’s a bigger prize awaiting the Patriots. The high school state championships will take place at Trace Fork, just a few miles from GW.

“That’s the biggest goal the girls have,’’ Mallory said, “to play in the finals on their home turf. I think if our girls play their game we can take this all the way.’’

Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkinson@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.

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