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The Pacers continue their strong season in the playoffs, routing Glencoe to start.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Lakeridge's Nolan Lawler sprints toward the goal during his team's 21-3 win over Glencoe in the first round of the Metro area tournament at Lakeridge High School on Thursday, May 13.The 2021 season has fallen short of perfection for the Lakeridge boys lacrosse team.

But that doesn't mean the Pacers don't have their sights set on a perfect finish.

Lakeridge took the first step in that direction on Thursday, May 13, powering past Glencoe 21-3 in the first round of the Metro area tournament — basically, this year's version of the state playoffs for teams in the northern portion of the state.

"I thought we did good," said Lakeridge junior midfielder Jake Reichle, who helped his team post a 21-5 advantage in faceoffs and also scored twice. "We capitalized on the transitions and we just did our thing where it was comfortable. We just played."

"I think when we just started to move the ball and started trusting our teammates, we just got a lot better," said junior Nolan Lawler, who finished with three goals and two assists in the win. "Once we started to move the ball around and trust our team, it got a lot better."

With the win — the team's fourth straight — the second-seeded Pacers improved to 6-2 overall after finishing second in the Three Rivers League regular season. No. 15 Glencoe, meanwhile, lost for the third straight time and ended its year at 3-6 after finishing second in the Pacific Conference.

Lakeridge 21, Glencoe 3

Despite the lopsided final margin, the Pacers took a while to catch fire on Thursday, not scoring their first goal until Preston Stewart took a pass from Jude Cowie and connected 3 minutes, 20 seconds into the contest.

But once Lakeridge got going, the Pacers exploded. They scored their second goal just 10 seconds later — that one by Wilson Godfrey assisted again by Cowie — and then added another five goals over the ensuing 4:07 to grab a commanding 7-0 lead.

Stewart made it 3-0 on a counterattack, Ethan Bernhardt connected on a drive down the right side, Tyler Williams hit a sidearm shot, Matt Wright took a Lawler pass and scored on a cut and Cody Hart added an overhand shot for that 7-0 lead with 4:23 left in the first quarter.

The Pacers added one more score — by Gavin Sheehan — at the end of the period for an 8-0 lead, then poured more gas on the fire with eight more goals in the second period. Reichle and Lawler both hit twice in that stretch, and Lakeridge also got goals from Williams, Jackson Darcy, Ryan Carpenter and Brooks Dennett.

"Everyone on our team can score," Lawler said. "We know Cody (Hart is), obviously, the best player in the state, but we all trust each other. We have one of the best attackers in the state and one of the best defenses in the state. Everyone, even the JV kids that swing up, they can all score so we trust everyone."

Glencoe, meanwhile, finally broke onto the scoreboard when Joseph Heninger took a pass from Bodie Johnson and hit a low shot from the right side with 1:32 to go in the half, but by that time, the Crimson Tide was in deep, deep trouble and trailed 16-1 at halftime.

With the game played with a running clock in the second half, the Tide managed a 2-2 tie in the third quarter, getting both their goals from Evan Grimshaw while the Pacers answered with scores from Lawler and Wright.

Lakeridge ended the game with three unanswered goals in the fourth quarter — those from Ty Cowie, Jackson and Jack Gales — and rolled home behind the stellar defense led by Pacer goalie Andrew Nyhus and defenders J.D. Henninger, Zac Waible and Ben Glover.

Looking ahead to the rest of the playoffs, the Pacers say they'll be ready.

"We've just got to play together as a team and do our thing," Reichle said. "We've just got to come out firing and not come out flat. You've just got to come out and score the first couple goals and get rolling. That's it."

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