The Brunswick girls’ lacrosse team is heading back to states.
For the second straight year, the Dragons defeated the Cheverus Stags in the Eastern Class A Final, this time 13-8 after defeating the Stags 14-3 last season.
“I knew Cheverus was going to be a strong team,” said Brunswick coach Beth Caputi. “I believed they played Scarborough to an one-goal game.”
Despite being the sixth seed for the second straight year, the Stags were frustrated they were knocked off in the regional final again.
“We got to this point last year and were hoping to take it a little further,” said Cheverus coach Jamie Chamberlain. “We battled a lot better than we did last year, but certainly the girls are disappointed. Certainly the girls wanted to take it a step further.”
The Stags, who finished 9-6, jumped out to a early 1-0 lead 26 seconds into the contest as Meredith Willard released a shot in transition in front of Brunswick goalie Molly Hermon.
“We did okay, we were right there,” said Chamberlain. “Last year we were right with them, we were getting some chances – it just seemed they were getting the ground balls.”
The Dragons (13-1) responded just before the four minute mark where Suzannah Smith found the back of the net for her first goal of the game with Caroline Wild picking up the assist.
The two teams traded goals again as midielder Alex Logan gave the Stags the 2-1 lead at the 9:06 mark with Sadie Lyons setting the goal up. Just 37 seconds later, Smith tied the game up with her second goal of the half.
Brunswick would take its first lead at the 12:08 mark playing a man down as Corinne O’Connell finding the back of the net. Cheverus responded 22 seconds later while a man-up with Logan finding the back of the net.
But the Dragons would score five straight heading to halftime with Lillian Kjellman giving them the 4-3 lead with O’Connor picking up the assist with 8:59 remaining in the half. Nearly two minutes later, Dakota Foster found the back of the net as Kjellman set her up to give the Dragons a two-goal lead. Kjellman, Foster, and O’Connor would cap the scoring off in the first half.
“I thought we played as a team and that’s one thing that’s fun about this group, everyone takes a role,” said Caputi. “Lillian (Kjellman) didn’t start today, but she came in and scored two goals.”
Cheverus continued to fight, rallying two for straight goals to start the second half. Lyons would assist on both as she found Logan at the 3:15 mark and Elyse Caiazzo exactly five minutes later to cut the deficit to 8-5.
“We were way too tentative and people weren’t moving,” said Chamberlain, on his team’s struggles on offense late in the first half. “We told them they had to be moving and attack the defense. From there we were able to create some opportunities.”
Foster would get the hat trick at the 9:08 mark with Wild getting the play started with a helper.
The Stags would go on another run with Catie Walsh and Willard picking up goals to get within two at 9-7.
“They beat us in transition,” Caputi said of Cheverus’ offense. “When we don’t make our transitions where we need to be defensively, they definitely exploited that, and they found some seams. When we got (our defense) to settle, they didn’t score too often.”
Then it was the Anne Kelly and Caroline Wild Show as Kelly rattled off three goals at the 13:10 mark, 18:42 mark, and the 19:02 mark with Wild notching the assists.
“Caroline has been the strongest sister,” Anne Kelly chuckled. “All year she has been able to find the seems and I found the seams between their two players because they play zone.”
O’Connor picked up Brunswick’s 13th goal with 2:10 remaining in the contest while Walsh was credited with Cheverus’ eighth goal back at 13:46 mark of the second half.
“We realized if we scored eight goals in the first half, we can keep scoring in the second,” Kelly said.
Molly Hermon made eight saves for the Dragons and Hope Carriea stopped seven shots in goal for Cheverus.
Brunswick will take on two-time defending state champion Scarborough (14-1) in the Class A title game Saturday at 3 p.m., at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.
It’s a rematch of last year’s final, won by the Red Storm, 13-11.