Despite finishing last season 9-4, Carolina Forest’s strength of schedule kept the Panther lacrosse team out of the playoffs.

The memory of that snub lingered through the offseason, so much so that when the Panthers returned to the field last week, they sent a strong message by defeating local rival Socastee 15-6.

Carolina Forest jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and never looked back. The Panthers remained disciplined while the Braves took some costly penalties that the Panthers capitalized on.

Panther scoring was led by junior attackman Joe Venazio with six goals and an assist. Sophomore attackman Kaidon Hunt scored three goals and added two assists.

Other leading scorers were Sebastian Musumeci with three goals and an assist; Matt Sampollo with a goal, three assists and a team-high six ground balls; and Curtiss Pellegrino with two goals.

Goalie Steven Elias kept Socastee scorers at bay with 21 saves.

Lockdown defense was led by Sophomore Goalie Steven Elias (21 saves). Patrick Daly, Dylan Kennedy, Johnathan Foust, Joseph Gross and Jamal McClain limited the Brave offensive chances as well.

Carolina Forest has a new coach this season. Will Loftin has taken over for Adam Gross, who coached the past two seasons.

The Panthers also defeated Academic Magnet 9-6 on Friday. They were scheduled to face River Bluff on Thursday, but results from that contest were not available.

Girls’ lacrosse falls to Socastee

Goals were everywhere to be found in the season opener for Carolina Forest, but Socastee managed to stay on top in an 18-13 decision on Friday.

Samantha Custer led the scoring for the Lady Panthers with four goals. Shannon Wilt and Lee Adi each had two goals, while Isabella DiMarino had a goal and assist.

Carolina Naguila, Jordan Stone, Sophia Sadr and Ally Brannon each scored goals as well. Dannie Johnson had six saves in the net.

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