(Ed. Note: For the full version of this story, with additional photos and a detailed box score, please visit theforecaster.net)
The last local high school sports team left standing this spring, the Brunswick girls’ lacrosse squad, fell in the Class A state final Saturday afternoon.
The Dragons, after an 11-1 regular season, advanced to states by virtue of a 9-5 semifinal round win over Mt. Ararat and a 13-8 regional final victory over Cheverus.
Saturday, at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland, Brunswick faced the team which beat them in the 2011 finale, Scarborough.
This meeting was similar to last as the Dragons made the Red Storm sweat, but ultimately they went down to a two-goal defeat.
Brunswick, bolstered by the desire to give longtime coach Beth Caputi a third championship in her final game at the helm, started fast.
After sophomore Jen Machin had a bid denied by Red Storm junior goalie Meg Kirsch, Machin set up Kelly for a goal with 21:15 to go in the first half to break the ice.
Scarborough’s offense then roared to life, scoring four straight goals.
As expected, Brunswick hung tough, scoring three times in just over two minutes to draw even.
The comeback began with a goal from senior Suzannah Smith (set up by classmate Corinne O’Connor at 9:36). Fifty-one seconds later, junior Dakota Foster scored unassisted. Then, at the 7:29 mark, Smith ran around the cage, blew past a defender and beat Kirsch to tie the score, 4-4.
The Red Storm managed to go back ahead and led, 7-5, at halftime.
In the second half, Scarborough would lead most of the way, but Brunswick made things interesting to the very end.
A free position goal from O’Connor 63 seconds into the second half pulled the Dragons within one.
Brunswick drew even with 21:24 remaining when junior Lillian Kjellman scored through a screen.
When Smith, in a carbon copy of her earlier goal, raced around the crease and left a defender in her wake before finishing with 16:28 to play, the Dragons had an 8-7 advantage, their first since 1-0, and suddenly were smelling upset.
Scarborough called timeout and regrouped, scoring three straight goals to go ahead, 10-8.
With 7:47 on the clock, senior Caroline Wild set up Kelly for a goal and the Red Storm lead was down to one, 10-9, with an abundance of time still to play.
Scarborough won the ensuing draw, but turned the ball over. After Brunswick gave it back, the Red Storm committed another turnover and this one almost cost it dearly as O’Connor had a bid at tying the game. Kirsch made the save, however, and with 4:39 left, Scarborough was still on top.
The Red Storm then got an insurance goal and managed to run out the clock on its 11-9 victory.
Kelly and Smith scored three times each. Foster, Kjellman and O’Connor had one goal apiece. Machin, O’Connor and Wild all had one assist. Herman stopped five shots. Foster went 5 of 14 on draws, Smith 2 of 8. Herman was the team leader in ground balls with five. The Dragons only turned the ball over a dozen times.
“It was a repeat of last year,” Caputi said. “It was very similar. They were more effective in their stall. They were more patient at the end. We had unfortunate turnovers. It was a great game. I’m very proud. I think we did a great job for having some inexperienced girls in the field. We’re a young, young team after our eight seniors and Dakota. I played 12 girls today. Nobody came in off the bench.”
Caputi said after the game that four kids (who are playing lacrosse at four different schools) and a new business are where she now plans to focus her attention, but that she’s most appreciative of her time at Brunswick.
“This is our sixth time here in seven years,” Caputi said. “I’d like to have more state championships, but it’s been a total honor to get out on this field and play really good teams. Back in the day, when we were all one group, we got to play Waynflete in a championship game. There are a lot of great coaches. I’ll miss the collegiality of the coaches. It’s been fun. I have a great group of kids, all the way through. I’ve been really lucky. Brunswick has such a great commitment to athletics.”
Brunswick senior Corinne O’Connor shoots over Scarborough junior goalie Meg Kirsch as senior defender Breanna Goode crashes the play during the teams’ Class A state championship game Saturday. Despite a valiant effort, the Dragons fell, 11-9.
Brunswick senior Katie Swan eludes a pair of defenders.