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Strong second half sends Waynflete girls' lax past Cape, 11-7

Sports

Strong second half sends Waynflete girls' lax past Cape, 11-7

CAPE ELIZABETH—While it remains a work in progress, the Waynflete girls' lacrosse team continues to suggest that it could be something very special by the end of the season.

Possibly good enough to win another championship.

Monday night Hannaford Field, the Flyers trailed four different times in the first half, but came alive in the second, riding a four-goal performance from one of their freshman phenoms, Martha Veroneau, winning 18 of 20 draws and going on to an 11-7 victory over Cape Elizabeth.

Waynflete took the lead with 2:30 to go in the first half, got two goals in the first minute of the second stanza to take control and no one knows how to protect a lead like the Flyers, who milked the clock late to improve to 4-1 on the season, dropping the Capers to 3-3.

"It was a very close game," said Veroneau. "We just wanted to go out and play like a team and have good sportsmanship and it worked. In the second half, we just went out there and tried harder and tried to end the game."

Closing the gap

Entering Monday night's contest, Cape Elizabeth hadn't beaten Waynflete since May 4, 2002 (a 15-game stretch). The Flyers eliminated the Capers from the playoffs in 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2009, but last year, Cape Elizabeth gave Waynflete fits before the Flyers prevailed, 9-5, in the regional final.

The Capers have gone win-one-lose-one so far in 2010, defeating Fryeburg (17-2), Wells (15-7) and Marshwood (11-9), while losing at two of the top powers in Class B, Falmouth (11-8, in overtime) and Yarmouth (18-8).

Waynflete, of course, is the two-time defending Class B champion and the state's elite program. The Flyers have been tested in the early going, but remain at the top of the heap. After rolling, 14-3, over visiting Greely in the opener, Waynflete saw its 22-game win streak snapped with a 7-6 loss at North Yarmouth Academy. The Flyers bounced back with a 17-6 home victory over Freeport (giving coach Cathie Connors her 200th victory) and last Thursday, held off talented, visiting Yarmouth, 8-6.

Monday, Cape Elizabeth came out confident and strong and took a 1-0 lead just 36 seconds in when junior standout Karyn Barrett took a pass from classmate Anna Darling and fired a shot past Waynflete freshman goalie Katherine Torrey. The Flyers tied the score with 18:12 to go in the first half when senior Amy Allen (from junior Mica Thompson) beat Capers sophomore goalie Elin Sonesson, then went up 2-1 on a free position goal from Veroneau.

Moments later Veroneau had another free position, but hit the post and the hosts countered and tied the score on an unassisted tally from junior Paris Bethel.

Cape Elizabeth went up 3-2 on an unassisted goal from freshman Lauren Steidl, but Allen (from Woodhouse) answered to tie the score. The Capers then made it 4-3 when Darling set up Barrett, but off the ensuing draw (more on that in a moment), Woodhouse raced in and scored unassisted to even the score at 4-4. Steidl scored unassisted with 4:26 left in the half for Cape Elizabeth's final lead before Veroneau scored on a free position to tie it and playing a man-up after a yellow card, junior Liv Chap (from classmate Scout Haffenreffer) scored with 2:30 remaining in the half to put Waynflete ahead to stay, 6-5.

The Flyers should have had a larger lead after winning a whopping 11 of 12 first half draws (Woodhouse lost the first, then won the rest), enjoying an edge in shots on goal and ground balls, but eight turnovers kept the game close.

Befitting their champion status, Waynflete began to assert control in the second half and soon had a little breathing room.

Just 30 seconds in, Haffenreffer scored unassisted to make it 7-5. Thirty seconds later, Haffenreffer scored again (this time from freshman Sadie Cole) and just like that, the Flyers had an 8-5 advantage.

The hosts ended a 4-0 run when Darling scored on a free position with 16:42 to play, but Veroneau answered with an unassisted goal, Woodhouse set up Allen for a tally and with 9:03 to go, Veroneau scored unassisted again to make it 11-6.

"Martha had an incredible game," Connors said. "She's seeing it now. She plays like an upperclassmen. She's a basketball player. She sees the holes."

"I'm surrounded by so many good teammates," Veroneau said. "They created openings and I took them. It's amazing to be on this team. All the upperclassmen help so much and teach me so much about the sport."

With 8:34 to go, after just their second draw win, the Capers drew back within four when Darling assisted Steidl for a goal, but Woodhouse won the ensuing draw and Waynflete drained almost all of the remaining time and went on to the 11-7 victory.

"It was a much better second half," Connors said. "We were playing not to lose in the first half. We pulled it together. Scout had some important goals."

Veroneau led all scorers with her four goals. Allen added three, Haffenreffer had two goals and one assist and Chap and Woodhouse (two assists) added one goal each. Cole and Thompson also had assists. Torrey made four saves.

Most importantly, Woodhouse was sensational on draws, winning 90 percent (18 of 20).

"Morgan's just unbelievable at everything," Veroneau said. "She's an amazing athlete."

The Flyers had a 31-25 advantage in ground balls. Chap had eight and Cole six. Waynflete outshot Cape Elizabeth, 22-11, and had 14 turnovers to just eight for the hosts.

Despite the loss, Capers coach Kurt Chapin was pleased with his team's effort.

"Our defense stepped up and played excellent," he said. "A couple bounces here and there and the game would have been different. We took good steps. We could have rolled over when we saw the green team with the 'W,' but we're young enough not to know the difference.

"In this game, especially against that team, draws and possessions are huge. We talked at halftime that they'd try to get two goals and run the clock out. That's what they do. Hopefully we'll put a shotclock in at some point."

Cape Elizabeth got three goals from Steidl, two from Barrett and one apiece from Bethel and Darling (who also had three assists). Barrett led the Capers in ground balls with five. Sonesson made four saves.

Cape Elizabeth is home Wednesday against Greely and goes to Wells Friday. The Capers hope to get another crack at Waynflete in the playoffs.

The Flyers return to action Wednesday when they have another regional test at vastly improved Falmouth. Saturday, Waynflete hosts Cheverus.

"We have another big one Wednesday," Connors said. "We have to start strong in that one. We can't be a second half team against Falmouth."

"This team's really strong," added Veroneau. "We're taking it game by game."

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net

Photo: Jason Veilleux/For The Forecaster

Waynflete freshman Martha Veroneau makes a move on a defender Monday. Veroneau had a game-high four goals in helping the Flyers improve to 4-1 with an 11-7 victory.

Photo: Jason Veilleux/For The Forecaster

Cape Elizabeth freshman Talley Perkins finds herself surrounded by the smothering Waynflete defense. The Flyers allowed just two second half goals.

Photo: Jason Veilleux/For The Forecaster

Waynflete's talented freshman Sadie Cole gets attention from two defenders during a first half possession.

Photo: Jason Veilleux/For The Forecaster

Waynflete junior Scout Haffenreffer looks for an open teammate during the first half. Early in the second half, Haffenreffer scored two key goals to help the Flyers open up their lead.

Photo: Jason Veilleux/For The Forecaster

Waynflete senior Morgan Woodhouse was her usual unstoppable self Monday, winning 18 of 20 draws to help pace the Flyers to victory.