By Greg Gielczyk
NORTON SHORES — Landon Taylor scored four goals and added one assist to lead the Mona Shores boys lacrosse team to a 15-5 victory over Grand Rapids South Christian in the OK Conference Tier 3 championship match on Thursday.
The Sailors were celebrating Senior Night and honored Dakota Gudgell, Taylor, Kenny Stewart and Stephen Koziak prior to the game.
It was a tight first half, as the Sailors opened up a 2-0 lead early, only to see the South Christian Sailors come back to score a pair of goals to tie it, 2-2.
Gathering some momentum toward the end of the first half, Mona Shores gradually began to dominate possession in the second half and was able to pull away from South Christian.
Junior midfielder JJ Boos matched Taylor with four goals for the Sailors. Senior attack Koziak contributed three goals, and junior attack Luke Beilhartz added one goal and two assists.
“One of our strengths is the amount of guys we have contributing to the score,” said Sailors head coach Murle Greer. “We average over eight players contributing to the offensive side in every game.
“We’re able to attack you from different parts of the field. If you lock down one or two of our guys, we have other guys that can step up.
“It’s a pretty balanced offense, with a lot of weapons.”
Mona Shores has a great defensive unit on the other side of the field, and an outstanding junior goalie in Parker Hayward, who is setting right around a 64 percent save percentage.
But, it’s still a young defense. Two of the starters are sophomores and other is a junior.
“Very young, but very athletic and very coachable,” added Greer. “Just big, strong, tough kids on the defensive side. No matter how many goals we give up a game, we’re right where we want to be for the most part.”
The Sailors improved to 12-1 on the season, and finished their conference schedule at 6-0 to win the championship outright.
Mona Shores faces a rugged three-game finish to the regular season, beginning with Byron Center, a solid Tier 2 program, on Saturday.
Next week, the Sailors face Tier 1 Grand Rapids Catholic Central and end the regular season against Lowell.
“We have a murderers’ row before we get into the playoffs,” Greer said. “Which is a good thing, because the level of competition will prepare us for the way we need to play in the playoffs.”
The Sailors are currently second in their region.