The finest season in the history of the Deering boys’ lacrosse program came to an end last week.
After winning 12 times this spring and making it to the regional championship game for the first time, the Rams’ run concluded with a hard-fought 9-5 loss at Lewiston last Wednesday in the Eastern A Final.
Deering, which didn’t even score a goal in last year’s quarterfinal round loss to Lewiston, was on fire from the get-go this season, winning its first six contests by an average margin of 17-3. After falling at Kennebunk, 6-4, the Rams won five more in succession, highlighted by an impressive 8-4 home victory over Portland May 22 (Deering’s first win over the Bulldogs in seven years), to finish 11-1, good for the No. 2 spot in the region.
The Rams then won their first playoff game since 2007, edging No. 3 Messalonskee, 8-6, in the semifinals, sending them to top-ranked Lewiston.
Senior standout Carleton Allen’s two goals kept Deering close at halftime, down just 3-2, but the Blue Devils pulled away in the third period with four straight tallies. Senior Cody Marcroft and junior Matt Flaherty scored for the Rams early in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 7-4, but Lewiston answered with two more. Marcroft scored again late to account for the 9-5 final score, ending Deering’s year at 12-2.
“It was a really close game, but they controlled most of it,” said Deering coach Bob Rothbart. “They outplayed us and outcoached us. They were prepared really well. We’ve been a second half team all season, so I thought we had a shot at coming back. It didn’t happen. We couldn’t generate much offense. We had to stop their two stars, (Curtis) Robinson and (Sam) Cloutier. We didn’t stop them. Between them, they had six goals.”
The Rams’ 12-2 record was cause for celebration. It was a season unlike any other in the 13-year history of the varsity program.
“We got farther than ever before,” Rothbart said. “It was a terrific season. We were pretty pleased. It’s a great group of kids.”
Deering graduates some key cogs, including Allen, Jake Farrell, Cody Marcroft, Noah Whittenburg, goalie Nick Holton, Isaac Wipfler and Zach Poulin, who wasn’t available for the playoffs after a violation of the school’s honor code. Several others, led by All-American defender Karl Rickett, return and the Rams should remain in the Eastern A hunt in 2012
“We have a couple huge holes to fill,” said Rothbart. “We’re losing a batch of starters. Our defense will still be strong. Losing Carleton and Zach on offense will hurt. Losing the goalie is big. We do have some JV guys coming up who should be really good and other athletes in school are now interested in lacrosse. We’ll still be good next year.”