GREER – Drew Bertka stuck to Greenville’s star like glaze on a donut. Clay Walters did just what his coach thought he would do. Peyton Lambrecht once again demonstrated his uncommon passing skill.
And so on.
Riverside was in command Thursday night, and the Warriors rolled to an 11-4 victory over the Red Raiders in a second-round boys lacrosse playoff match at The Reservation.
“We played as a team as much as we could,” said Riverside senior Chandler Satterfield, one of the defenders who helped limit Greenville to a tie for its lowest output of the season. “Greenville’s a big rival for us, and it means a lot to win.”
Especially at this point, because it’s win or go home. The Warriors (13-2), seeded second, move on to Tuesday’s Upper State championship game. They will play on the road for the first time in the playoffs against top-seeded Fort Mill (11-3).
“A lot of people didn’t think we’d make it this far, but we’re flying high right now,” Riverside coach Zach Cummings said. “We’re having a blast. The seniors want to keep going. They’re not giving up.”
“They played a heck of a game,” said Greenville coach Corey Gheesling. “They’ve been on fire all season. They deserved this win and they outplayed us. They scouted us well and took away our best options.”
The Raiders’ best option was junior midfielder Ashton Baca, a Furman University recruit, and the Warriors kept him scoreless.
“Drew Bertka took care of him single-handedly,” Satterfield said. “He had him all night long. He had his number.”
“I would say Drew Bertka is the best long-stick middie in the state right now,” said Cummings. “He’s got nine goals and three assists. He plays defense, he scores goals, he’s a threat, and that’s just troubling for another team, because you’ve got a long pole in there who can score. He’s an unreal offensive and defensive player.”
Bertka, Lambrecht, Henry Evans, Tyler Senn and Jordan Adams had a goal apiece for Riverside. Lambrecht contributed three assists. Ryan Cerino, the Warriors’ Division I recruit, a senior who signed with Bryant (R.I.) University, scored three goals.
And then there’s Clay Walters, who stopped by to have lunch with Cummings at school Thursday. He wondered what his coach thought about that night’s game.
“You’re going to have a great chance tonight,” Cummings told him. “Everybody knows about Ryan. Everybody knows about Peyton liking to dish it off. This might be your night to shine.”
Walters was among the night’s brightest stars, scoring three goals to make Cummings’ forecast come true.
“He stepped up,” Cummings said. “He’s a freshman. He’s got three more years, and I can’t wait to coach the kid.”
Cannon Few, Thomas Lister, John Krall and Rob Little each scored a goal for Greenville (8-7).
“We’ll just get back to the drawing board and get ready for next year,” Gheesling said. “It’s a shame with this big group of seniors, but they worked hard and made this a team that was something special and I’m very proud of them.”