DEMOREST -- The Men's lacrosse team started their season off strong with a 12-10 win over the Millsaps Majors. The visitors matched nearly every point the Lions put up but the Lions took advantage of extra goals in the second and fourth periods to usurp the Majors.
It wasn't an easy game for the Lions at Walker Athletic Complex as they gave up the first point to Millsaps five minutes into the match on a Piedmont man-down. The Lions outshot the Majors in the first period 15-13 and answered Millsaps' goal with a strong goal of their own six seconds after the Sumner Gantz faceoff win. Taylor Carter nailed his first goal of the season with a hard shot off the Gantz assist.
Only a minute after play began in the second period, Junior midfielder Nick Green got back into scoring stride with a smart unassisted strike past the Millsaps goalie. The Majors couldn't stand to be down a point and matched the score 60 seconds later. After a few minutes of back-and-forth hard defense by the two teams, Steve Blanchard scored his first goal of the season and first since missing last year due to injury.
Millsaps, now down in scores, attempted a comeback but Piedmont's Mick Baker stayed big between the pipes and made a set of sweet saves to keep the Lions ahead. At the eight minute mark, #Taylor Carter sweetened the deal with his second goal of the day; this time assisted by Blanchard.
The Lions kept on firing but for the next few minutes every shot veered wide or high of the target. Millsaps took advantage and put two goals in quick to tie it up, 4-4. With time winding down below the 0:10 mark the half looked all but over. Fortunately, Piedmont's Holin Axley had the ball and with a swift pass to the wide open Blanchard, the next sound the Lions heard was the swoosh of the net as Blanchard struck gold with seconds left giving the Lions a 5-4 lead into the halftime break.
A botched attack led Millsaps to tie up the game a minute into the third period. With the score at 5-5 much of the third period was a stalemate. Brian Sweeting and Carter Jara went to work on defense, each causing a pair of turnovers to keep the Majors honest. With four minutes left in the match, Patrick Ammons took a swing at the Millsaps goal and thanks to an Axley assist, the Lions were once again in the lead, 6-5.
At the 2:23 mark, Millsaps matched the score again, but the Lions were ready and Sumner Gantz flicked a goal by the Majors keeper. Axley got his third assist of the game in the same moment.
Millsaps entered the fourth period aggressively and scored first but for the next five minutes, Piedmont matched both of their goals with scores by Carter and Branson Mikell. With the score in Piedmont's favor, Mick Baker continued to make saves in the back. Nick Green followed up a blocked shot with a rip to give the Lions a 10-8 lead with seven minutes left to play. Just a minute later, the junior filed another one in the back of the net for a three goal lead.
In the final three minutes of play, Millsaps answered with two goals but it wasn't enough as Spencer Ortis split the goals to give the Lions a 12-10 win before time expired in Demorest. The finally scoresheet showed the Lions with a 54-44 advantage on shots and 15 face-off wins versus 11 on the Majors side. Taylor Carter and Nick Green led the way scoring with three goals apiece while Axley's four assists put the Lions in scoring position. Baker came away with 14 saves for the Lions defense.
The Lions are now 1-0 in the 2014 season and will travel to Young Harris College on Wednesday, February 12th. Piedmont took a hard-fought 7-5 win from the Mountain Lions last year in Demorest.