Waynflete girls' lax ready for another title run; Cheverus, Portland also in the mix
Although it's a little more mortal than in previous seasons, the Waynflete girls' lacrosse team has a great shot to wind up on top of the Class B heap for the third year in a row.
The Flyers enter the playoffs as the top seed in Western B and have a bye into the semifinal round Thursday where they will face No. 4 Wells.
In Western A, host Cheverus, the third seed, and No. 6 Portland will do battle Wednesday in the quarterfinals (3 p.m. start time).
Deering (3-8-1) and McAuley (3-9) failed to qualify.
We've seen this movie before
Waynflete, the state's premier program, went undefeated in winning the 2009 championship, but this spring, the Flyers, who lost several key players to graduation, have been challenged on several occasions.
Waynflete passed 10 of its 12 tests, but fell twice by a single goal to North Yarmouth Academy. Regardless, the Flyers easily earned the top seed in the region for the third year in a row.
"I'm thrilled to death to be 10-2," said Waynflete coach/dynasty-builder Cathie Connors, who won her 200th career game back on May 3. "I have no regrets. Having two losses by one goal, I'm good with that. For such a young team to have this record, I'm really proud of them."
Waynflete hosts Wells (6-6) Thursday at 4 p.m. in the semifinals. The game was moved up from its scheduled Saturday date. The Flyers did not play the Warriors in the regular season. The teams have no playoff history.
"I feel great," Connors said. "I think we're so excited and really want it. We're having fun. The playoffs will be really tough. More so than in the past."
Cheverus and Portland were both moved to Eastern A this year to balance the regions and both city squads comported themselves nicely, earning playoff berths.
The Stags went 7-5 in the regular season, which included an upset win over perennial power Kennebunk. Cheverus lost its last two outings, but earned the No. 3 seed in the region.
"The kids did a good job this season," said Stags coach Jamie Chamberlain. "We were competitive. When we took care of the ball, we played well. Beating Kennebunk was big for us. All three facets of our game, offense, defense and midfield, worked well in that game. There were games where we were inconsistent, but that one game, we played consistently well from start to finish."
The Bulldogs also wound up 7-5, falling, 12-11, at Marshwood in the regular season finale last Tuesday.
"I think it was a very good regular season," said Portland coach Eric Wales. "We had a three-game win streak and won three games on the road. I think the girls worked well together. We're healthier than we've been all year long."
On May 3, the host Stags beat Portland, 12-8. Cheverus raced to an 8-1 halftime lead in that one. The teams have no playoff history.
"Hopefully we're ready," Chamberlain said. "We know what we need to do. (Portland has) nothing to lose being the lower seeded team. We want to start off well and go from there. We match up well. We hope to wear them down."
"I like the matchup and the bracket we're in," said Wales. "If my girls can give me two good hours on Wednesday, we could make it happen. We need to play better on the defensive side, control the circle and control the clock."
The winner goes to No. 2 Mt. Ararat (8-4) for the semifinals Friday at 5 p.m. Neither the Bulldogs or Stags met the Eagles this year or have any prior playoff history.
"(Mt. Ararat) plays man-to-man, which is an advantage for us since they haven't gone against a zone team," said Chamberlain, of a prospective Cheverus-Mt. Ararat meeting. "They've been playing better at the end of the season."
The Western A and Western B Finals will be held next Wednesday, June 16, on the field of the highest remaining seed. The Class B state game is Saturday, June 19 at 10 a.m. The Class A state final is the same day at 3 p.m. Both contests will be contested at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org