The Carolina Forest girls lacrosse team got out to a huge lead early on Wednesday night.
And the Panthers never looked back.
Carolina Forest entered halftime with a seven-goal advantage and held off a Myrtle Beach comeback attempt in the second half en route to a 10-3 victory over the Seahawks at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium.
“I think the game went realty smooth and we had a lot of girls that excelled. It was great game,” Panthers coach Jade Seay said. “… I’m really happy with the progress I’ve seen with my team and just how smart they played. We’re excited.”
Juniors Anna Fontaine, Samantha Custer, Ally Brannon and Kaitlin Howell had one goal each for the Panthers (3-0), but the determination shown by Carolina Forest junior Aly Estes stood out as she racked up six goals.
“I know she’s a more experienced player and she’s got some years in her,” Myrtle Beach coach Morgan Desmond said of Estes. “It showed tonight. She has good ball control.”
The Panthers scored three goals in under four minutes to open the game with some momentum, and Carolina Forest entered halftime leading 7-0.
Still, Seay wasn’t comfortable at that point.
“[Scoring early] built up our confidence, but I told my girls, ‘don’t let your head get too big. We’ve got to stay focused and we have to play smart.’ They have to remember everything we’ve taught them,” Seay said. “Those first goals were great but we have to remember to keep our head straight.”
Meanwhile, Desmond encouraged her team during halftime to pick it up in the second half -- and they did just that.
After Taylor Riga scored to cut Myrtle Beach’s deficit to 7-2 with a little over 12 minutes to play, Kailey Flannelly scored her second goal of the night to bring the Seahawks within four -- but that was as close as they would get.
“It was a slow first half. The way our team had played the first half is not how we practiced,” Desmond said. “I gave them a really good pep talk at halftime and told them to come back and own their field and they did. I’m really proud of them for how they played in the second half. Everyone hustled, we got good shots on goal and they were really confident.”
As a first-year sanctioned lacrosse program, the Seahawks have yet to pick up a win and were coming off a 23-1 loss to defending Class AAAA state champion Wando.
But Desmond also knows that Rome wasn’t built in one day.
“It was a good learning game for us,” Desmond said of Wando. “It’s good to play a team that has years of experience under their belt. We can see like five years from now when hopefully we’re fighting for that state title what we’ll be looking like.”
Myrtle Beach hosts Pinewood Prep on Friday at 5:30 p.m., and Desmond is confident her team will pick up its first win.
“As a coach, the most important thing for me to do is to always give positive, constructive criticism,” Desmond said. “The last thing these girls need is to feel down on themselves. Really hyped them up at halftime and at the end of the game we know what we need to work on. Friday, Pinewood Prep out of Charleston is coming here and there’s no reason we should lose that game. We’re going to get a ‘W’”
In the meantime, the Panthers will prepare for their game on Friday as they host Waccamaw at 5:30 p.m.
Seay wants to keep things rolling.
“We’ve been improving and it showed tonight,” Seay said. “We just have to keep it up.”