Lyon United’s southern lacrosse closes Walled Lake United in regional semi-final
If anyone had asked South Lyon United boys’ lacrosse head coach Justin Boughton at the start of the season that his season would end with a chance at a regional title, he would have told them that would not happen.
He’s only had two comebacks from the 2019 team which finished 15-6 and first at the Lakes Valley Conference, and took the field in 2021 with sophomores and double-digit freshmen who had never played college lacrosse before.
But Boughton found himself watching his team fight for a chance he never thought possible. And South Lyon United were doing whatever they wanted to see.
“The children came out hungry. They know there is no next game and they wanted to take it out, ”Boughton said. “That’s all we want to see: our children fight against everything, fight against adversity.”
South Lyon United (12-4) took a 10-4 victory over co-champion LVC Walled Lake United (13-6) for a date in the Region 4 final against Northville on June 2.
South Lyon United knew what they were going to see from Walled Lake United. The teams faced each other twice in 2021, each securing a victory with Walled Lake holding a regular-season one-goal advantage, 25-24.
After:Northville lacrosse resumes, defeats Huron Valley United in regional semifinals
After:Michigan 2021 Lacrosse Playoff Scoreboard
But in the regional semi-final, senior goalkeeper Gus Taylor and the rest of the Lyon south defense did not allow the opponent to come close to what they had done before.
Southern Lyon have allowed just five goals for a Walled Lake United side who have averaged over 10 goals per game, ending the attack with physical play in transition and with Taylor in guard at the net .
For senior Andrew Goodrich, it was on the mark for a team that has won six games this season in which the defense has allowed five goals or less.
“We have a very diverse group of soccer players, wrestlers and hockey players,” Goodrich said. “Coming into this season, I knew we were going to be pretty physical.”
Goodrich, on the other hand, was able to ramp up the offense, using off-ball movements to beat defenders and get a clean appearance.
He scored five of South Lyon United’s 10 goals against Walled Lake United, helping another score from junior Andrew McCarthy in the final two minutes of play.
“He’s a very talented young man,” Boughton said. “He has a great cast around him to help him. He is a great leader. We have a lot of reasons to rely on him. He likes to put the team on his back and help them carry, but he’s also a great teammate and ready to go the extra mile for each of his guys.
Goodrich wasn’t sure southern Lyon would get to this point either, highlighting his side’s 4-3 start to the season, including a loss to Walled Lake United, before winning nine of their next 10 games.
“We struggled at the start of the season. We fought hard, ”he said. “It feels good to be part of this team, and especially to lead them.”
While not a familiar group for Boughton to coach, who has been in the role for six seasons, it is a group he has seen flourish.
“These young men are amazing,” Boughton said. “It was just an honor to watch them and see them grow and see the hungry capacity they have for this game.”
South Lyon United will face Northville in the Region 4 final at 6 p.m. on June 2.