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Wesleyan, GAC go down to the wire, Wolves edge Spartans in regular season finale

Wesleyan's Carter Fears #44 looks to win the face off against GAC's Noah Huggins #9

On Friday, the Greater Atlanta Christian Spartans boys lacrosse team hosted their final regular season game of the year as they welcomed county rival, the Wesleyan Wolves, on a night the Spartans celebrated their Class of 2024 student athletes. With both teams entering the night having already secured region championships and number one seeds for their respective regions, the only thing on the line for either club was bragging rights and a chance to head into the playoffs with some momentum.

As the matchup got under, the Spartans, looking to snap a two game losing streak, would appear to get the early momentum after scoring back to back goals to take a 2-1 lead early in the opening quarter, however the Wolves go on a 5-1 run with Broder Conley and Jameson Meyer scoring two goals each, to close out the quarter with a 6-3 lead. In the second Wesleyan would go up by as many as four goals as they took a 9-5 lead before the Spartans would close the gap and get within two goals to trail 9-7 as Harrison Voelzke, who finished with a game high six goals, would connect for his fourth and fifth goals, but the Wolves would close out the half tacking on two more goals and with an 11-7 lead.

In the third quarter, Wesleyan looked as if they would put the match out of reach as a 3-2 run would give them a 14-9 lead, but the the Spartans would pick up back to back goals to close out the period trailing 14-11. Carrying momentum into the fourth quarter, GAC would open the period with three unanswered goals, including two from Jack Clarke, who finished with four goals, to tie the game at 14-14 with less than three minutes remaining in the game. However, it would be Wesleyan with possession in the final minute of the game as they would take the clock down to the final seconds just before Sam Sermonet would score to give the Wolves a 15-14 lead with two seconds to go in the game. Wesleyan would go on to win by that final score.

"It's really big," Wesleyan head coach, Connor Breslin said of the Wolves win on Friday that marked their eighth in a row and allows them to keep momentum heading into the playoffs. "One of the things we talked about earlier in the season is hurt today to win in may. We took our lumps in February and March and we took some losses. Coming back from spring break, we were able to get it rolling and get on this win streak," Breslin said noting that Friday's close win on the road gives the Wolves "a lot of excitement and momentum heading into the playoffs". And now with their attention turned to the playoffs, Breslin noted that the Wolves, who earned a first round bye, will need improve their team defense as they prepare for post season play.

"Tonight we just laid an egg on it," Breslin said, adding that with two key players making their returns to the line up, "rebuilding that chemistry kind of showed up tonight as a problem but we will definitely be putting in a lot of work on that next week in practice," Breslin added. Meanwhile for the Spartans, despite Friday's outcome, head coach Newton Babb, credited his players for their resilience to battle back and give themselves a chance to win Friday' game. "We competed. We kind of looked in the mirror at halftime and said, we've got to do more," Babb said of the Spartans mindset during the break, praising Wesleyan's level of play to help Greater Atlanta Christian prepare for the playoffs.

The Spartans will be back in action on Tuesday as they will open the Georgia High School Association Class 5A-6A state championship tournament facing off against Lakeside-Evans and Babb said he wants his players to be more physical moving forward as he believed that the Spartans started off timidly on the defensive side of the ball. "I really want our boys to see the film and watch that. When they push the envelope and they compete, they can compete with anyone. They just have to look hard in the mirror and say I can do this," Babb said of the thought process he often reminds his players of needing to have.


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