Nation Ford’s Abbey Kuebler works her way through traffic against Catawba Ridge during the Falcons’ season opener Tuesday night. Photo by Rob Upton

If the Nation Ford Falcons girls’ lacrosse team wanted to open the season with a statement, consider it done.

The Falcons shutout Catawba Ridge 19-0 to open the 2021 lacrosse season for both schools. Nation Ford was led by Maddie Barhorst, who scored seven goals in the game. Catherine Barhorst and Julia Steinberger each added three goals for hat tricks as well. Staci Tang got the shutout in goal for the Falcons.

For both teams, just getting back on the field with missing the majority of the season last year after being shut down because of COVID-19 was a win. Despite the score, Nation Ford head coach Kristine Schmidt said they still had some kinks to work out.

“We just need to play together,” she said. “We have some strong teams in our region. We have to work even harder.”

Nation Ford went up 13-0 by the half as Maddie Barhorst scored five of her seven goals in the first half. She opened the game scoring about four minutes into play and the Falcons quickly found another gear. Steinberger scored two minutes later and Nation Ford took off.

Scoring in the first half for the Falcons along with Maddie and Catherine Barhorst was Abbey Kuebler, Mia MacMillan and Hailey Wiethoff.

Kuebler added her second goal of the game to open the second half just 35 seconds into play. Steinberger added two more goals, as did Maddie Barhorst, and Kristen Knauff added a goal as well for Nation Ford in the second half.

For Catawba Ridge, their youth showed through in the loss, but first year head coach Pat Gormley said given the cancelled season last year, this is something to build on despite the loss.

“I just want to see improvement everyday” he said. “We just weren’t ready. They are learning every day. Hopefully, we improve the rest of the season.”

Nation Ford is scheduled to play at Blythewood Thursday and then will host Catawba Ridge again Saturday. The Copperheads are scheduled to play Butler Thursday and then will travel back to face the Falcons this weekend.

Mac Banks:, @fortprep