Harmeyer’s Lady Trojans played to their potential nearly the entire game and held an early lead against the longtime lacrosse powerhouse.
But Milton went on a late second-half run to get separation, and despite a late comeback attempt, the Lady Trojans had to settle for a 10-7 loss against a team that beat its in-state opponents by an average of 16.4 goals this season.
“They almost pulled it out,” Harmeyer said. “I would have liked to have had this one for the seniors, but we’ll get it.”
Goalkeeper Lauren Wetherhead gave Lassiter (14-6-1) a chance to hand Milton a loss by saving 18 of the 28 shot attempts she faced.
The 10 goals Wetherhead did allow was a season low for Milton against an in-state opponent. Aside from the assortment of out-of-state opponents the Lady Eagles faced, their previous low for a game was 17 goals in a win over North Cobb. Ten times this season, they scored 20 or more.
On the offensive end, Cydney Tutchton, Alex Fusco and Lucy Mills each scored two goals to lead Lassiter, while Johnna Fusco dished out three assists.
Milton (16-3-1) created more scoring opportunities in the second half, which proved to be the difference, and Lassiter had difficulty taking advantage of its free-position opportunities.
The Lady Trojans had at least seven chances to score from 8 meters out in the second half, when the game was still within reach, but the shots failed to find the back of the net.
“Milton is very fast (defensively),” Tutchton said. “All the girls on that team have so much talent and they’re extremely fast, but I think it was more us not moving their goalie.”
Milton’s second-half spurt came in the final minutes with three straight goals that allowed the Lady Eagles to take a five-goal lead with 1:24 left to play. Lassiter desperately fought its way back late when it won consecutive draws that led to consecutive goals by Alex Fusco, but Milton managed to hold possession with 45 seconds to go.
Before Milton got away late and clinched its eighth state title in nine years, it was kept in check by the Lady Trojans and had a few chances in the first half to pull away.
Lassiter attacked Milton early by winning draws and used that to build a 3-1 lead. Alyssa Gattis scored on the Lady Trojans’ first possession in the first minute of the game, on a Jill Rankin assist. Lassiter took a 2-0 lead 4 minutes later Tutchton finished up top just outside the crease.
After Milton got on the board 6 minutes into the game, Lassiter bounced back and took a 3-1 lead when Mills scored on the run off a Johnna Fusco feed.
Then Milton’s defense tightened up and took away Lassiter’s lead for good when Lydia Cassada scored on a free-shot opportunity with 6:48 left to play in the half.
Once Milton tied the games, turnovers started to mount for Lassiter. The Lady Trojans were called for charging and offsides penalties when it had scoring opportunities, and a turnover led to Milton taking its first lead with 1:58 left.
Lassiter quickly tied it on a Mills goal, but Milton took the lead for good with 42 seconds in the half when it spread Lassiter’s defense, allowing Southern California signee Annie Ruland to score on the run.
Ruland and Jessica Masinko scored three goals apiece for Milton.