CANTON — Creekview juniors Karina Van der Walt and Maya Maldonado put on a show early.
They combined for four early goals, and the Lady Grizzlies rode a hot start in a 20-4 win over Brookwood in the first round of the Class 6A/7A lacrosse state playoffs Wednesday.
Van der Walt ripped in a goal off an assist from Maldonado just 17 seconds into the game, then proceeded to score twice in just over a minute before Maldonado added her own with 22:39 left in the first half.
Creekview (15-3) had too much offensively for Brookwood (8-12). Van der Walt finished with three goals and Maldonado, who is committed to play at Mercer, finished with five goals and two assists.
“Our goal is to be fast, exciting and play with a lot of effort,” Creekview coach Russell King said. “We did that. It’s exciting when the girls are giving it their all. We were able to put two strong halves together and do what we want to do.”
While King is the coach for the team, Maldonado’s father, Martin, is the lay coach, handling most of the on-field work with the players.
King said the two have a good relationship and the dynamic works well with the team. Martin Maldonado also coaches one of the Creekview youth teams, so he has worked with most of the players for several years.
“These girls are great,” he said. “They’ve always seen themselves as contenders. We see ourselves as trying to go deep.”
As far as Maya Maldonado’s performance, both coaches said they try not to get caught up with stats. The players mostly do not either.
The team is improving with depth, both coaches said. Martin Maldonado said he thought the Lady Grizzlies had one or two girls who could score consistently a few years ago. Now, he estimates there are about five or six capable of producing on offense.
“We have some really good, dynamic girls that are capable of playing at the next level,” Martin Maldonado said, “and they just want to win. We’ve had really good team chemistry.”
In 2019, Creekview advanced to the second round before falling to North Paulding 18-17 in overtime. North Paulding advanced to the semifinals, so Maldonado said Creekview could see the opportunity.
Last season, the Lady Grizzlies started off 6-0 before COVID-19 forced a shutdown of the spring sports season.
This year, Creekview is hoping to make its first quarterfinal since 2013.
The Lady Grizzlies will get the opportunity by hosting Allatoona in Round 2 on Thursday.
“They know what it takes (now),” King said.