Forest’s Guynn helps Wildcats mercy-rule The Villages

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Posted December 25, 2020 | By Brendan Farrell, Ocala Gazette

Forest High forward Lauren Guynn found herself alone with just the goalkeeper to beat.

Keeping her composure, she cooly slipped a low shot past the keeper into the back of the net. A cheer went up from the crowd, and Guynn went to celebrate with her teammates.

That was a familiar scene at Forest High last Thursday night, as Guynn tallied five goals, including her 100th career goal. The Wildcats quickly downed The Villages in an 8-0 mercy-rule victory. Forest improved to 7-0-1 on the season, while The Villages fell to 3-4.

“She’s a special player,” Forest coach Mike Elliott said. “You get those players every so often. She’s a good kid. She’s always there.”

Jenna Maiorino scored just a few minutes into the game, and things snowballed from there. Guynn scored three straight goals for Forest to give the Wildcats a 4-0 lead midway through the first half.

Forest was relentless in the first and only half of play. The Wildcats dominated possession and were always dangerous in the attacking third.

Coming out of the break, The Villages’ next gaffe was self-inflicted. An own goal put Forest up 5-0, and it wasn’t long before Guynn notched her fourth goal of the night. Guynn then found herself on another breakaway a few minutes later and deposited her fifth goal of the game.

Picabo Lesh joined in on the fun and scored Forest’s eighth goal of the night before the game came to an end.

It had been a tough week for Forest, who had nine players in quarantine due to COVID-19.

“My message to them before the game was like, ‘Adversity is going to hit you in life, as in sports. And just, you know, you got to play your game and keep playing,’” said Elliott. “Everyone’s going through something like this. It’s 2020. But just keeping them focused and keeping them believing in themselves and just mainly that no one person is bigger than the team.”

Guynn has been one of the best scorers in Class 6A across the state this season. She was leading the entire class in goals with 23 in seven games before her five-goal night against The Villages.

Forest faces Plant (Tampa) on Dec. 29, while The Villages’ next game is against Taylor (Pierson) on Jan. 7.

“(We need to) just to not digress, to just keep moving forward and not let these two weeks, you know, lose a step,” Elliott said. “Trying to just keep going with what we’re building.”

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