Greenville had all the parts. It just took the Red Raiders a little while to put them together, and it sure looked like a finished product Friday night.
Thomas Lister and John Krall each scored four goals, and Greenville capped the regular season with a 12-5 victory over rival J.L. Mann at Sirrine Stadium.
The Raiders are not sure where they’ll land in the eight-team Upper State bracket — perhaps a No. 4 seed — but they’re confident they’re a whole lot better off than they were a few weeks ago.
“I think we’re right where we need to be,” Greenville coach Corey Gheesling said. “I think we’ll get one more game at Sirrine, and there’s not a better lacrosse venue in the state than Sirrine Stadium, so we just want to keep it up. The playoffs are what we do here. It’s time we ratchet it up another whole level and get ready for next week.”
The Raiders are 7-6, but three of the losses came against out-of-state teams, including one against Lambert (Georgia), which Gheesling said is a top-five team in the Southeast. They also lost to Riverside, Fort Mill and Wando — no slouches in this state.
And the team that attacked such an ambitious schedule was one trying to reassert itself.
“It was a learning curve to start the year,” Gheesling said, “a lot of sickness, a lot of injuries, and it took a while to adjust to some of the graduated guys from last year, longer than we expected it to be, but we kind of withstood the storm on that and have come out on the other side. Guys are buying into their roles. It’s not just Ashton Baca and John Krall doing everything. Thomas Lister had four goals tonight. Rob Little’s scoring, Cannon Few’s scoring and the ball movement’s significantly better than when we played Fort Mill two weeks ago.
“Ashton’s the reigning player of the year for midfielders. I think Wilson’s definitely contending for goalie of the year this year, and John Krall is contending for attackman of the year. Ashton and John Krall are top three in the state in points, and Wilson Nickles has just had a completely outstanding year. Hopefully he stays hot for the next couple games, and we have a rock in the goal.”
Lister, a senior, had three of his four goals in the first half, and Krall, a junior, scored all four of his goals in the first half, the last coming with 5.6 seconds left and giving Greenville an 8-2 lead.
Baca had a goal and two assists. Krall also had three assists. Little, Few and Kian Razzaghy each scored once for the Raiders.
“Last year, our senior class was definitely our strongest, so we had a lot of them starting and running the offense and just clicking with us,” Baca said. “This year, having lost at least 12 seniors, a lot of the rising seniors had to step up and realize it’s not up to everyone else. They had to start getting in the flow of things.
“The first couple of games, it was kind of hard realizing their spots and their responsibilities, so me and John were doing a lot of it. Then pretty much after spring break, we’ve pretty much started to click, and everyone’s been trusting each other a lot more, and just overall we’ve been getting our jobs done and playing a lot better.”
For Mann (9-4), Lucas Hediger scored two goals, and Will Kupec, Keegan O’Connell and Spencer O’Connell each scored once.
“We started off the game with four penalties, and we put ourselves in a hole, but our guys battled,” Patriots coach Rob Searfoss said. “If we could come out and not shoot ourselves in the foot, we’d be a lot better, but the kids played hard till the end and I’m very proud of them.”