MILTON — No team in this year’s Class 6A/7A state tournament has kept pace with Milton’s girls lacrosse program, a 13-time state champion since the sport was first sanctioned in 2005.
Walton became the latest victim to the three-time defending state champion Tuesday, trailing by 13 goals at the half before falling 17-3 in the semifinals.
For the fourth straight round, Milton (20-0) won by 14 goals, doing the same against East Coweta, Lassiter and Creekview. The Lady Eagles will play for their 14th state championship Saturday against West Forsyth at Denmark High School.
Walton (11-8-1) struggled to win the draw in the first half, with Milton winning 10 of 12 times the teams faced off. That allowed the Lady Eagles to dominate possession for the majority of the first 25 minutes, and they seldom had trouble making their shots.
Milton took 19 shots in the opening half, with 13 going in. The Lady Eagles were already ahead by five goals before the game was 9 minutes old, and they were ahead by double digits with 10 minutes left to play in the half.
“What we saw (Tuesday) was that we were not as fast,” Walton coach Mandy Ryan, who led the Lady Raiders to a state title in 2016 against Milton. “(Milton doesn’t) make mistakes, and I don’t know what to say about the draw. First-step quickness is what we need to work on.”
Maddie Dora led Milton with five goals and two assists. Brie Catts, Skylar Carrasquillo and Maeve Simonds finished with three goals each, and Taylor Kozina added two more.
Walton did not get its first shot until the second half and had six for the game. Amelia White put one in the goal. Margo Wilson would score the next two goals for the Lady Raiders.
Once Walton got on the board, a running clock was already in effect.
Catts scored Milton’s first two goals of the game, with the second coming at the 22:40 mark. Simonds accounted for the next two, forcing Walton to call timeout with 17:53 left in the half. Catts scored again, followed by Carrasquillo, to give Milton a 6-0 lead.
Three straight goals by Dora made it 9-0 in the Lady Eagles’ favor, and Carrasquillo scored again at the 10:23 mark to force the running clock.
Walton had just four possessions in the first half, with the first three ending in a forced turnover by Catts.