Ready for revenge

Lady Panthers return to state championship with win over Fellowship Christian


Shelby Foster

Junior goalie Karlee Jenks surveys the Lady Paladin offense. Jenks acted as a brick wall for Starr’s Mill, only allowing two goals on the night. Her stellar play helped the Lady Panthers make their second consecutive A-AAAAA GHSA State Championship game.

Rilee Stapleton, Editor-in-Chief

All season long, the girls’ lacrosse team at Starr’s Mill has been waiting for their chance to return to the state championship game to avenge last year’s loss to Blessed Trinity.

We’re at the point where these girls know where every girl is on the field at any given moment.

— head coach Mary Lehman

The only team left in the way was Fellowship Christian, and they stood no chance against the impassioned Lady Panthers. From whistle-to-whistle, Starr’s Mill dominated the Lady Paladins, cruising to a 19-2 victory.

“We’re trying to keep the ball movement quick,” head coach Mary Lehman said. “We’re at the point where these girls know where every girl is on the field at any given moment.”

Junior Ryanne King led the scoring with seven goals on the night. Senior Alyssa Angelo tacked on another five, and senior Ansley Wallace scored three times. Junior goalie Karlee Jenks saved most of the shots that came her way, only allowing two past her on the night.

Junior Charlotte Berg and sophomore Lexi Menna scored the only two goals for Fellowship Christian, as turnovers plagued their offensive possessions. The Mill dominated the face-offs and the Paladins couldn’t find any good looks on the few possessions they had.

“When we slowed it down and timed our cuts right and worked together, it really helped to get people open,” Angelo said. “We always want [our goals] to be assisted shots.”

Shelby Foster
Lady Panthers team ring the victory bell after their 19-2 win over Fellowship Christian. Junior Ryanne King led the team with seven goals. The Mill is stacked with offensive firepower, and they look to utilize it in a championship rematch against Blessed Trinity.

Starr’s Mill asserted their dominance early with two quick goals in the first five minutes from Angelo and Wallace. Freshman Emma Grace Hepler then increased the lead to 3-0 on her first goal of the game. King then blew the game open with three straight goals, extending the lead to 6-0 halfway through the first half.

Angelo scored twice more before the Lady Paladins finally scored their first goal. Berg put Fellowship Christian on the board, but they found themselves in an 8-1 hole. The Lady Panthers continued their run with five more goals. By halftime they had already built a 13-1 lead.

“Every single game, we come in ready,” Wallace said. “We treat every game now like it’s the most important one of the season.”

Most of the second half saw the Mill chew the clock. The Lady Paladins started to gain more possessions, but Jenks held strong and only allowed one goal. King, Wallace, and Angelo closed the game out and led Starr’s Mill to a 19-2 win, sending them to the state championship game.

Fellowship Christian finished with a 17-2 record on the season and a 3-1 area record. Sophomore Brooke Beard, the team’s leading scorer, had to sit out due to yellow cards she received earlier in the tournament. However, Beard and Menna were the top two scorers for the Lady Paladins and both will return next season.

“We’re going back to get redemption,” Angelo said. “I think we’re unstoppable right now. Hopefully, we can keep the intensity up.”

Blessed Trinity has been a target for Starr’s Mill all season, and the Lady Panthers will have their shot at revenge. The Titans defeated McIntosh 15-5 in the Final Four, sending them to Kennesaw State for an opportunity to win their fourth straight state championship.

Starr’s Mill seeks revenge and will stop at nothing to avenge their loss to the Lady Titans a year ago. The two will fight for the A-AAAAA GHSA State Championship at 10:30 a.m. on May 18 at Kennesaw State University’s Fifth-Third Bank Stadium.