There is no better encouragement than success, and A.C. Flora’s success during the 2013 lacrosse season is certain to propel the Falcons to even greater heights.
In lacrosse’s third season as a S.C. High School League sanctioned sport, the Falcons made program history by earning the state’s No. 2 seed in the championship tournament and reaching the Lower State finals.
Although the Falcons lost in the semifinal game to Wando, which won the state title earlier this month, coach Mickey Purdy said this year’s finish is sure to drive the Falcons in seasons to come.
“Having this kind of year can definitely catapult us,” said Purdy, a former high school and college lacrosse official who guided the team to an 11-3 record in his first season. Their semifinal finish was the best of any Midlands boys team in tournament history.
“I think we knew we could have a good year, but I don’t know if, realistically, I don’t know that everyone thought we were going to get where we got. We got a taste of success and we would like to continue that,” he said.
The Falcons were established as a club team before the sanctioning from the high school league. This season, the Falcons’ program included 54 athletes on varsity and junior varsity squads.
Seniors Ben Nicholson and Hunter Griffin said Purdy’s addition to the team was essential in getting to the next level.
“He was motivating to us, and he said some new things that kind of put a new perspective on things that we hadn’t had,” said Griffin, an all-state midfielder and team captain.
“He did a great job handling all of us, pushing us,” Nicholson said.
Purdy said he was proud the team “was able to lock down a No. 2 seed in the Lower State, which allowed us to host a playoff game. Our second game, we were down two goals with three minutes to play, and we tied it up and scored the winning goal with 49 seconds to go. It was a very exciting game, and it was definitely our high point of the season.”
The Falcons believe they have raised the bar for success at A.C. Flora.
“I think we’re definitely leaving behind the start of a legacy for Flora lacrosse. Hopefully, we can become the best team in the state in the next few years,” said senior goalkeeper Justin Evans.
Purdy said he believes the Falcons will get stronger as more players participate in club teams and the local traveling team, the Columbia Flames. And if the Flames organization adds a team for 9-year-olds, Purdy said, the Falcons and other area teams will be strong for years to come.
“We’re the only school in the district that has lacrosse, and we want to set a good example. We want to see the sport grow,” Purdy said.