Roswell boys lacrosse off to hot start in 2021

By Zach Shugan

ROSWELL, Ga. — The Roswell boys lacrosse team is off to a hot start in its 2021 slate.

Ranked No. 2 in Georgia by Thunder LB3 Lacrosse, the Hornets (6-1, 2-0) have yet to lose to an in-state team this year. Roswell started the season 4-0 with wins over Buford, Riverwood, Dunwoody and King’s Ridge before dropping its first game of the year Feb. 27 to Christ School from North Carolina. Earlier this week, the Hornets bounced back with a win over No. 3 Allatoona, and most recently they took down an out-of-state opponent to close out the first week of March.

Roswell defeated Memphis University School (TN), 19-15, in a high-scoring affair under the lights Friday night at Roswell Area Park.

“We’ve gotten a couple early wins in the area, which is great to get those out of the way,” Roswell director of lacrosse Bryan Wallace said. “We’ve been trying to test ourselves with some out-of-state competition and trying to play as good of teams as we can so we’re ready for the stretch in May.”

Roswell junior Scott Stickles (#7) finished with one goal in the Hornets’ March 5 win over Memphis University School. (Zach Shugan)

Roswell was led by a barrage of goals from sophomore Alex Lobel, who netted a hat trick in just over one quarter and finished the game with seven goals. Senior Evan Plunkett and sophomore Hill Plunkett also had hat tricks, scoring three goals apiece.

Roswell jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the game, but MUS closed the first quarter with three unanswered scores to cut the Hornets’ lead to 6-5. The game stayed close, and fast-paced, in the second quarter. A total of 13 goals were scored in the quarter, with the Hornets getting one more than the Owls to lead 13-11 at the intermission.

The defenses settled in eventually, as the third quarter saw only four goals scored. Lobel and Hill Plunkett each added to their goal count on the night, and the Owls got two in return to make it a 15-13 game entering the fourth quarter.

Roswell junior Sam Provenzano (#27) defends a Memphis University School midfielder during the Hornets’ March 5 win over the Owls. (Zach Shugan)

MUS scored four minutes into the fourth quarter to make it a one-score game, but that was the closest the Owls came to overtaking the Hornets on the scoreboard.

Ten seconds after MUS scored to make it a 15-14 game, Evan Plunkett countered with a goal to put Roswell back up by two scores. The Hornets controlled possession most of the fourth quarter and scored three more unanswered goals to take a 19-4 lead with less than two minutes remaining to put the Owls away for good.

“We started off a little hot,” Wallace said. “We got the energy going and then I think we got a little complacent and took the foot off the gas pedal. We got killed on man-down. I think we were in the box like 15-16 times. It’s tough playing against a good squad. Give them credit. We hurt ourselves with some penalties, but once we had the ball six on six, we were in good shape.”

Roswell returns to action March 9 in an area game against Cambridge (5-2, 1-0).

With their early success this season and the No. 2 ranking they boast, Wallace knows the Hornets have a target on their back as they try to win another area title and make it to the state playoffs for the 10th year in a row.

“We’re going to get everybody’s best, which hopefully ramps up our focus day in and day out. We can’t have an off day. The area games mean the most. We want to wrap up that one seed and get home field. Everything else is kind of live and learn and get ready for May.”

Roswell is seeking its first state title since winning it all in back-to-back years in 2014 and 2015. The Hornets were bounced from the 2019 state tournament by Centennial in the Sweet 16, and the 2018 Hornets were eliminated in the Elite Eight by North Gwinnett.

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