Despite slow start, Panthers shut out Northgate


Alyson Phinney

Junior Garrett Meunick fights for possession during a faceoff. Meunick went a perfect 16 of 16 on faceoffs in the win against Northgate, giving the Panthers an automatic advantage on the offensive end.

Ben Barkley, Staff Writer

The Starr’s Mill varsity boys’ lacrosse team came into Tuesday’s game against Northgate after losing two tough matchups in the form of North Paulding and Westminster. Despite a slow start, they turned it around with an offensive out-pouring against the Vikings as they cruised to a 12-0 victory to stay above .500 on the season.

Alyson Phinney
Junior Addison Long passes by a Northgate defender en route to the goal. Long had a hat trick in the 12-0 victory over the Vikings, while six other Panthers had at least one goal.

Leading the way on the offensive end was senior Reid Harrison, who scored two goals, and junior Addison Long, who scored three goals. Junior Garrett Meunick went a perfect 16 of 16 on faceoffs, keeping the ball on the Mill’s side for the majority of the game. Defensively, goalie senior Derek Saylor played a shutout first half, while junior Brock Merritt finished off the second half to keep the Vikings scoreless.

“It was a good win for our guys,” head coach Jeff Schmidlkofer said. “Northgate’s an up-and-coming program, but our guys played well to counter that.”

The game got off to a slow start for both teams, with the ball staying on Starr’s Mill’s side of the field. However, Northgate kept the powerful Panther offense in check with enough defensive intensity to keep Starr’s Mill off the board.

Senior Adam Bennett finally got the Panther offense going off a fast break down the field with four minutes left in the quarter. This was the only score of the quarter as the Vikings upped their defensive intensity to make the score 1-0 in favor of the Mill.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that can play,” Schmidlkofer said. “Getting them to play together is the biggest thing.”

The second quarter saw the Starr’s Mill offense expose the flaws of the Northgate defense. This started off fast, with junior Addison Long scoring his first goal of the game thirty seconds into the the quarter. Sophomore Gabe Lopez followed it up with another fast break goal three minutes later to make the score 3-0 midway through the second quarter.

“It was a good team win,” Lopez said. “It was cold out there, but we got the job done overall.”

We need to work on being unselfish and on our shot efficiency.

— senior Reid Harrison

Long then scored his second goal of the night as the Panthers started to find a rhythm in their offense. Senior Reid Harrison and sophomore Cole Bishop rounded out the scoring for the half to make the score 6-0 at halftime.

“We had to go out there and get it done,” Harrison said. “We need to work on being unselfish and on our shot efficiency.”

The third quarter saw Starr’s Mill keep the same pace offensively. Harrison caught the defense off guard for his second and final goal of the night within the first three minutes of the quarter to make the score 7-0.

Whenever Northgate took possession, the Mill forced bad shots and turnovers, aiding the offensive onslaught. Junior Christian Sparkman added his first of two goals for the game, while Long scored his third and final goal to complete the hat trick.

Alyson Phinney
Panther player attempts to stop a Viking from scoring. The Starr’s Mill defense shut out the Northgate offense, largely in part to goalies senior Derek Saylor and junior Brock Merritt. This win marks their first shutout win of the season.

The rest of the quarter was slow for both teams, despite quick fast breaks off of faceoff wins by Meunick, leaving the score 9-0 Starr’s Mill at the end of the third quarter.

“To people who say we are on a downward year, I say be ready,” Lopez said. “Just keep watching and we’ll be ready.”

The fourth quarter got off to a quick start offensively for the Mill, as Sparkman scored his second goal of the game five seconds into the quarter to make the score 10-0 right out of the gate. Defensively, the Panthers were still not allowing any offense to be created by Northgate.

“This is one of the toughest schedules we’ve ever had,” Harrison said. “I don’t care about the record as long as we’re getting better as a team.”

Harrison and Junior Karsen Kalen scored the two final goals of the game to make the score 12-0 with three minutes left in the game. The Mill let the clock run down after that, giving them a 12-0 victory, their first shutout win this season.

“The last few years, we’ve had 17-2 records but then we’re getting beat in the second round of the playoffs,” Schmidlkofer said. “In order to stop getting beat in the second round, you’ve got to be able to play against those good teams.”

The Panthers have another test at 1 p.m. on March 9 in Panther Stadium when they take on Buford. The Wolves (2-1) are coming off of a close 9-8 victory over the Kell High School Longhorns.