RALEIGH — Athens Drive stunned Wakefield, holding the Wolverines scoreless for more than 20 minutes Friday and scoring 10 unanswered goals en route to a 19-9 win in the first round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association girls’ lacrosse playoffs.
Athens Drive, a wild card after finishing 8-4 in Conference 2, held the Conference 3 two-seed to its second lowest goal total of the season.
“I think because we lost to Wakefield last year in the playoffs that we came in with a little more fire this year and ready to play,” said first-year Athens coach Jennifer Brunsting.
Athens Drive (12-4) goes on to face a familiar opponent in Conference 2 champion Green Hope on Tuesday.
Green Hope, the defending state champions, beat Athens Drive 16-7 and 16-9 during the regular season.
“We know exactly what to expect,” Brunsting said of next week’s game. “Green Hope always has a really strong program, but we’re fired up and I think that we’re hitting our stride at the right time.”
Athens Drive attacker Kieran Garvey, who led the Jaguars with six goals and three assists, said playing against top competition like Green Hope during the regular season prepared the team to dominate against Wakefield.
“I think they were surprised because we haven’t gotten a chance to play them this year and we’ve only had one common opponent,” Garvey said. “They didn’t really know what to expect except for our record. I think they weren’t expecting us to come out as strong as we did and to play as hard as we did.”
Wakefield (12-4) recovered from a 2-0 deficit to go ahead 4-2, but Athens Drive kept on the attack, tying the game at five points apiece and retaining control from there.
Wakefield coach Denna Grasso said she was surprised by the game’s outcome and large point differential. She thought the teams would be evenly matched coming into the contest, but felt her team didn’t play its best.
“I think we both have some really good athletes that we rely a lot on, and if you put us out on paper it would be a 50-50 game,” Grasso said. “We just had no cylinders running. We couldn’t put things together. It was just not our game of lacrosse today.”
Sarah Hume added four goals for Athens.
Abby Blakely led Wakefield with four goals.