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Milton's 'great defense' leads to another trip to the GHSA 7A title game

Milton's Ella Pauley #9 is pursued by North Gwinnett's Marisa Giesler #25

On Friday, the six-time defending Georgia High School Association Class 7A girls lacrosse state champions, the Milton Eagles looked to continue their title defense as they hosted the North Gwinnett Bulldogs in a rematch from their matchup back in April, in which the Eagles picked up the 12-5 win. With Bulldogs standing in their way on the road to the title game, Milton would open up taking an early 1-0 lead following a Lillian Katula goal as the Eagles won the opening draw.

As the quarter continued with Milton in control throughout the period, the Eagles' defense made their presence felt, forcing three straight North Gwinnett turnovers that would result in a 3-0 Milton run as the Eagles would close out the opening quarter with a 4-0 lead. The Eagles would carry momentum into the second quarter as they would tack on five more goals to take a 9-0 lead before eventually giving up their first score as Marisa Giesler would get the Bulldogs on the scoreboard and trail 9-1. However, after answering back with a Ella Pauley goal, Milton would take a 10-1 lead into the locker room at the half.

In the third quarter, while the Milton offense was limited to just two goals, the Eagles' defense continued to disrupt the North Gwinnett attack most of the period, however they would allow Giesler to score her second goal of the game, but the Bulldogs tailed 12-2 at the end of the quarter. The final quarter of the game, the Milton defense would stay dominant, allowing just one more goal for the Bulldogs as they would go on to pick up 13-3 win. Kylie Waters would lead all scorers with 4 goals, while Gabriella Henry would finish with four saves on six shots in net for the Eagles.

"It's great, especially in the playoffs. You have to have defense," Milton head coach Tim Godby said after Friday's win as he credited the Eagles' defense for their efforts in the matchup and throughout the playoffs. "Sometimes you're going to be off offensively, shots not going to fall, you may be a little bit sloppy, but defense is the key. You always have to have a great defense to be able to win," Godby added.

Now as Milton will turn their attention to West Forsyth, who they defeated 14-5 back in early March, Godby said that he needs his player to clean up a few things as they prepare for the title game. "We were a little sloppy. We started out good nut we still had seven turnovers in the first half, just being sloppy. We have to clean stuff up like that," Godby noted as the a main area of focus for the Eagles as they have a week to get ready for the championship.

"If we're just patient and not turn the ball over and make sure we're making good decisions, we'll be able to score on anybody," Godby added. The GHSA 7A title game is scheduled for Friday, May 10.


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