Fort Mill’s Alexa Strelick runs down the field at Bob Jones Stadium looking for a way to score. Strelick had three goals in the Jackets season opening win Wednesday night.

In 2020, Fort Mill girls’ lacrosse team felt like it had what it took to win a state title, but had their season derailed because of the coronavirus dashing those hopes. Those hopes were rekindled with the start of their season Wednesday night.

Fort Mill edged out Charlotte Country Day 14-11 to open the 2021 season, which won’t be a cakewalk for the Jackets as they have six dates against North Carolina teams. They also play strong South Carolina teams such as Bishop England, Oceanside and region foes Clover and Nation Ford.

Their match against Country Day was a back-and-forth battle from the opening whistle. Fort Mill got the edge late in the second half with about six and a half minutes left in the game and was able to hold off Country Day.

Fort Mill head coach Kirsten Terry said a lot of their performance in the opening game of the season had to do with nerves getting the best of them.

“They were super nervous to start,” she said. “They pulled it together.”

Terry said her team’s goal is like every team’s goal and for the Jackets that is winning a state title. She feels like she has the team this year to do it. Fort Mill had been in the last two state title games in 2018 and 2019, coming up short each time.  

“They want to keep the reputation of being the best,” she said. “We have a super strong senior and junior class.”

Country Day went up 2-0 in the first two minutes of the game, but Fort Mill came back to take a 3-2 lead with goals from Lydia Laney, who scored two of the three, and Emma Ziemer. Country Day would tie the game at 3-3 with about 13 minutes left in the opening half, and the two teams would continue to trade goals until they went into the half tied at 6-6. Natalie Michelow, Auri French and Alexa Strelick would each score goals for Fort Mill in the first half.

Fort Mill came out scoring in the first minute of the second half with a goal from Emma Marchan to go up 7-6. The two teams again started trading goals, as the Jackets always stayed a step ahead for the most part. Country Day would tie the game on six different occasions.

The Jackets added second half goals from Strelick, Laney, and French. French would lead Fort Mill with five goals in the game, followed by three from Strelick and Laney. Ziemer, Marchan and Michelow would all score a goal as well. 

After Country Day tied the game at 10-10 with 10:23 left, Fort Mill would score four of the final five goals with French getting three of those goals to pull away.

Fort Mill is next scheduled to host Lake Norman March 1 and then travel to Clover March 4 for their first Region 3-5A game.

Mac Banks:, @fortprep