Flora splits lacrosse doubleheader

April 8, 2014 

A.C. Flora came away with a split decision in Tuesday’s lacrosse state playoff doubleheader at Bolden Stadium.

The Falcons boys (9-5) moved on to the second round with a 12-9 win over Lexington. The Falcons girls closed the book on a 9-4 campaign after suffering a 14-9 loss to Academic Magnet.

Flora opened the postseason with a win over Lexington for the second year in a row. This time it was much tougher than last season’s 13-2 blowout.

“We wanted to get off to a good start and have a good finish,” said ACF coach Mickey Purdy. “We came out strong, but it took us a while to finally put it away. We had some lapses, but this is a game of runs kind of like basketball. At this time of the season, you win any way you can and move on.”

The Falcons unleashed 11 shots in the first quarter and scored the game’s first four goals in the opening six minutes. But the scrappy Wildcats withstood the early Flora burst and actually out-scored the Falcons, 9-8, the rest of the way.

“I’m glad we had that fast start because it turned out that we really needed it,” said Purdy. “I give Lexington all credit in the world. They put a lot of pressure on us and I’m proud of the way our guys responded.”

Lexington made its final move with two goals in 50-second span by Scotty Gavlin that cut the Flora lead to 12-9 with 3:12 to go. But the Falcons all-new defensive unit slammed the door on the Wildcats down the stretch.

“We had to replace our entire defensive unit from last season, and this is the first real pressure game they’ve had and they did very well,” said Purdy.

Sophomore goalie Sean Merritt, for instance, made three of his six saves in the fourth quarter, including a big one on a high shot by Lexington’s Jim Brittingham with two minutes to go.

Jack Adams paced the Falcons balanced attack with four goals and was backed by Daniel Salais (2 goals, 2 assists), Ike McIntosh (3 goals), George King (2 goals) and Fletcher Hardee (1 goal).

Flora will face either Bishop England at home or Academic Magnet on the road in the second round later this week – either Thursday or Friday, depending on the opponent.

The flow of the girls game for Flora was a complete reverse of the boys script.

Academic Magnet jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the opening 16 minutes of the first half. The Falcons played the Raptors even the rest of the game but could never overcome the early deficit.

ACF pulled within 7-5 on a goal by Mary Riley Clayton with 21:59 to go in the second half, but that was as close as the Falcons would get. Academic Magnet responded swiftly – scoring with the next two and a half minutes to restore order.

Not surprisingly Raptors star Hunter Leckonby was in the middle of the decisive move. Leckonby scored two of her game-high nine goals in the key portion of the game.

Carson Brantley led Flora with four goals.

“The defense we used at the start of the game was not a good match-up for us,” said Falcons coach Scott Guillerault. “We made a change and that helped get us back in it for awhile. We’re disappointed with the loss, but this has been an incredible year for the girls.”

Indeed, the Falcons posted a single-season record for wins and qualified for the state playoffs for the first time in four years.

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