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York County high schools have lofty goals in lacrosse playoffs, which begin Tuesday

Tuesday is the first day of the 2024 SCHSL High School Lacrosse state tournaments and York County has four schools looking to establish themselves as the best program in South Carolina.

One of those programs is Nation Ford’s boys lacrosse team (10-6), which enters the tournament as the defending-5A boys’ lacrosse state champions.

The Falcons started 2-3 on the year but won eight of their next nine games before dropping the final two games of the regular season.

Head coach Cory Turner said the growth from his team this year makes it hard to not look beyond this season.

“We have a lot of juniors that have really stepped up, which is huge for the future,” Turner said. “They’ve done a really good job and filled that role, and I really feel positive that next year, Nation Ford is going to have a really good lacrosse team. I’m excited about it.”

Despite the excitement, Turner doesn’t want his team to rest on their laurels.

The defending champion’s first-round matchup will be an athletic Byrnes team that brings a lot of pressure offensively, pressure that has given Nation Ford issues at points during the season.

“(We) need to stop thinking that we’re state champs,” Turner said. “You got to live that state champion life until the season started. Now, it’s a whole new season, a whole new team. I’ve got a lot of guys who still haven’t realized that, thinking people are going to roll over for us. And they forgot to realize that we went from being the hunting to the hunted, and whenever we play teams, we get their best.”

Another team looking to make a splash in the postseason is Catawba Ridge’s girls lacrosse team.

The Copperheads sit at 6-7 in an up-and-down season, but they know they have an offense that can be tough to stop when it’s clicking and feel confident heading into their first-round matchup.

“We actually scored 20 in more games than this team has in the past, so that’s good, but then we had some games where our offense didn’t click,” head coach Patrick Gormley said. “But right now, we’re looking good through practice today, so if we play our game, I’m not too worried about tomorrow. I think we should have it, but we’ve got to come out and play our game.”

Gormley attributed some of the offense’s inconsistency to the team simply having a bad game.

However, he feels that recent practices with a consistent lineup could pay dividends for the team going forward.

“We had a couple of injuries at different times during the year and absences, so having everybody together in the last game and then the last couple of practices has helped,” Gormley said. “Hopefully, we’re just clicking on all cylinders when we get to the field tomorrow. If our defense is solid, that’ll give our offense more opportunities.”

First-round playoff lacrosse schedule

Tuesday, April 16

4A Girls Lacrosse

Catawba Ridge at Eastside; 5:30 p.m.

4A Boys Lacrosse

Catawba Ridge at Eastside; 7:30 p.m.

5A Girls Lacrosse

Nation Ford at Fort Mill; 6 p.m.

Clover at J.L. Mann; 6 p.m.

Wednesday, April 17

5A Boys Lacrosse

Byrnes at Nation Ford; 6:30 p.m.

Clover at Mauldin; 5:30 p.m.

Fort Mill at Boiling Springs; 7 p.m.