Falmouth girls stifled by Kennebunk on Senior Night

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Kennebunk’s girls’ lacrosse team celebrates a goal during Tuesday’s 9-5 win at Falmouth. The defending Class B champions handed the Yachtsmen their first loss of the year in a regional final rematch.

Chris Lambert photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Kennebunk 9 Falmouth 5

K- 3 6- 9
F- 4 1- 5

First half
22:23 F D. Sarazin (Bell)
21:14 K Beaudette (Bangimaier)
17:10 F Stucker (K. Sarazin)
16:19 K Gorton (free position)
15:00 K Koch (unassisted)
14:11 F Bell (Stucker)
12:40 F Oakes (Stucker)

Second half
22:34 K Dumas (unassisted)
17:21 K Gorton (free position)
15:02 K Fogg (Gorton)
7:03 K Dumas (unassisted)
4:49 K Beaudette (unassisted)
3:02 K Dumas (unassisted)
1:35 F D. Sarazin (Bell)

Goals:
K- Dumas 3, Beaudette, Gorton 2, Fogg, Koch 1 
F- D Sarazin 2, Bell, Oakes, Stucker 1

Assists:
K- Bangimaier, Gorton 1
F- Bell, Stucker 2, K. Sarazin 1

Draws (Kennebunk, 9-7)
K- Bangimaier 7 of 11 Oakman 2 of 5
F- Bell 7 of 16

Ground balls (Falmouth, 26-20)
K- Schwartzman 6, Bangimaier 4, Fogg 3, Dumas, Koch 2, Beaudette, Burchill, Connor 1 
F- Bell, K. Sarazin 7, Camelio 4, Oakes, D. Sarazin 2, Budri, Farrell, Mahoney, Proctor 1

Turnovers:
K- 17
F- 20

Shots:
K- 21
F- 16

Shots on cage:
K- 17
F- 7

Saves:
K (Burchill) 2
F (Budri) 8

FALMOUTH—The Kennebunk girls’ lacrosse team certainly knows how to “rebuild.”

The defending Class B state champions have picked right up from where they left off a year ago, remaining dominant despite having many holes to fill, and the previously undefeated Falmouth Yachtsmen found that out the hard way Tuesday evening.

The Rams were able to hold the potent Yachtsmen attack in check for a giant swath of the game and once they got their offense got going in the second half, there would be no stopping them.

Falmouth, on its Senior Night, took an early 1-0 lead on a goal from senior Devon Sarazin, but Kennebunk drew even when junior Briannagh Beaudette answered.

After senior Olivia Stucker put the Yachtsmen back on top, junior Erin Gorton tied the score with a free position and with exactly 15 minutes to play before halftime, senior Katherine Koch gave the Rams their first lead.

Kennebunk would go scoreless the rest of the half, however, thanks to Falmouth senior goalie Mary Budri making several key saves, and when senior Sydney Bell and sophomore Cristina Oakes found the net, the Yachtsmen took a 4-3 lead to halftime.

Oakes’ goal came with 12:40 to go before the half and that would be Falmouth’s last score for a long, long time.

The Rams came out re-energized offensively in the second half and drew even on a goal from senior Leah Dumas.

Then, with 17:21 to play, Gorton’s free position put them ahead to stay.

Senior Gabby Fogg stretched the lead and Kennebunk, which forced more turnovers than the Yachtsmen could manage shots for the majority of the second half, prepared to stall to protect the lead.

Instead, Falmouth gambled on defense and that allowed the Rams to get easy goals by Dumas, Beaudette and Dumas again and while Sarazin snapped a backbreaking 36 minute, 5 second drought with a late tally, the Yachtsmen couldn’t make a serious run and Kennebunk went on to a 9-5 victory.

Dumas led all scorers with three goals, the Rams’ defense dazzled nearly from start to finish and Kennebunk won its seventh game in a row, improving to 8-1 in the process and handing Falmouth’s its first loss in nine outings.

“Our defense is pretty stifling,” said longtime Rams coach Annie Barker. “It’s so strong right now. We thought about doing something different tonight, but I wanted to play them straight up and see what we could do.”

“What killed us was turnovers,” lamented Yachtsmen coach Kait Johnson. “Whatever caused the ball to be switched, that didn’t give us an opportunity to get down there on offense. We never had a chance to play against their defense long enough to work it and score. It’s definitely frustrating, but a loss is good. We’ll learn from it and go forward.”

The place to be

This one needed no advance hype, as both teams have excelled this spring and have gotten to know each well the past few seasons.

Falmouth started the 2017 campaign by winning at Gorham (11-5) and at home over Greely (18-8). The Yachtsmen then rallied late to stun visiting Thornton Academy, 7-6. After a 14-2 victory at Wells, Falmouth edged visiting Cape Elizabeth, 9-8, in overtime. After rolling at Fryeburg Academy, 18-10, the Yachtsmen held off visiting York (10-7) and beat host Freeport (14-6).

Kennebunk lost several standouts to graduating after winning its elusive first state title last spring, but the Rams have hardly missed a beat this season. Kennebunk started with a 17-1 home win over Fryeburg Academy. After falling, 8-5, at York, the Rams beat host Greely (10-6), visiting Lake Region (15-7) and Freeport (15-7), host, defending Class A champion Messalonskee (13-6), host Wells (14-0) and visiting Marshwood (8-7), a decision which gave Barker her 200th career win.

Entering play Tuesday, Kennebunk had won seven of 10 all-time meetings with Falmouth (see sidebar, below), including both a year ago. In the regular season, the Rams eked out a 7-6 double-overtime victory at Falmouth on Kyra Schwartzman’s goal and in the regional final in Kennebunk, the Rams completely shut down the Yachtsmen’s potent attack in an 8-3 victory.

This time around, on a very pleasant evening (61 degrees at the start), after seniors from both teams were honored, Kennebunk put a defensive blanket on Falmouth again and earned another key victory.

Budri set a first half tone by denying a shot from junior Hallie Schwartzman in the second minute. Before the half was over, Budri would save five bids from Schwartzman.

With 22:23 to play in the half, the Yachtsmen got the first goal, as in transition, Bell set up Sarazin to make it 1-0.

The Rams came right back with 21:14 on the clock, as Beaudette took a pass from freshman Mia Bangimaier and beat Budri to tie it.

After Stucker hit the crossbar, Falmouth retook the lead, 2-1, when sophomore Kayla Sarazin got the ball to Stucker, who fired past Kennebunk senior goalie Mallory Burchill with 17:10 to go.

Again, Kennebunk answered, as 51 seconds later, Gorton buried a free position shot.

With exactly 15 minutes on the clock, the Rams went ahead for the first time, as Koch rolled the crease before shooting past Budri for a 3-2 lead, but Kennebunk wouldn’t score again until after halftime.

The Yachtsmen tied the game with 14:11 remaining, as Bell finished a feed from Stucker, and with 12:40 to go, Falmouth went back on top, when Stucker set up Oakes.

At that juncture, the prospect of the Yachtsmen not scoring for roughly an hour of real time was inconceivable.

But that’s exactly what happened.

Late in the half, Budri made a series of saves to preserve the lead and Falmouth went into the break on top by a goal.

In the first 25 minutes, the Rams had an edge in shots, but couldn’t solve Budri, who had six saves.

That would change in the second half.

When Dumas got through the defense and beat Budri with 22:34 remaining, Kennebunk snapped a 17 minute, 26 second drought and tied the score, 4-4.

With 17:21 on the clock, Gorton earned a free position and buried it to put the visitors on top for good.

The Rams scored again with 15:02 left, as Gorton passed to Fogg, who eluded two defenders before finishing to make it 6-4.

After Budri saved a free position from Dumas, the Yachtsmen hoped to respond, but they couldn’t hold on to the ball and were called for several foul calls that made matters even worse.

Barker called timeout with a little under 8 minutes left and Kennebunk prepared to milk time off the clock, but Falmouth gambled on defense, trying to force a turnover.

Dumas then made the Yachtsmen pay by scoring unassisted with 7:03 to play.

Bangimaier won the ensuing draw and the Rams worked the clock down to 4:49 before Beaudette scored unassisted for a commanding 8-4 advantage.

“I thought the offense would come,” Barker said. “Once we realized the holes were there and we didn’t try to go through Sydney, it opened up. We know Falmouth’s strength is not their defense. If a team plays us man and we pull it out, we have a lot of girls who can go one-on-one. We gained momentum and the lanes were open.”

“They started to stall and we had to pressure out,” Johnson said. “They beat our girls 1-v-1. We’d rather they get a quick goal and give us a 50-50 opportunity to get the ball (on the draw).”

With 3:02 to go, Dumas scored for the final time, unassisted, and the celebration began on the Kennebunk sideline.

Falmouth finally got some offensive chances after a Bell draw win and with 1:35 left, Bell set up Devon Sarazin for a goal which not only ended the Rams’ 6-0 run, but more importantly put an end to a mindboggling 36:05 drought.

That’s as close as the Yachtsmen would get, however, and the Rams went on to the 9-5 victory.

“We have really great players,” said Kennebunk senior captain Marran Oakman. “We lost a lot of talent, but we had a lot of talent come in and we’ve figured out how to work it and it’s benefiting us. We work on our defense day in, day out. We work on every situational thing that could happen and it really paid off for us today. We weren’t frustrated on offense in the first half, but we knew we had to dig deeper. We had to make sure we put a fake on all our shots.”

“We talked all week about being composed,” Barker said. “We had to be smart with the ball and be disciplined. We had a freshman (Tiernan Connor) start and play low defense for the first time tonight because another girl was out. We have an unbelievable JV program every year. Our feeder system keeps kicking people to us. We practice together every day, so they’re used to playing with us and they’re ready when it’s time.”

Kennebunk was led offensive by Dumas, who had three goals. Beaudette and Gorton both scored twice, while Fogg and Koch tickled the twine once.

Bangimaier and Gorton had assists.

Bangimaier won 7 of 11 draws, helping the Rams hold a 9-7 edge in that all-important category.

Schwartzman finished with a team-high six ground balls.

Burchill made two saves.

Kennebunk had a 21-16 edge in shots (17-7 on cage) and only turned the ball over 17 times, while forcing the Yachtsmen to give the ball up 20 times.

Falmouth got two goals from Devon Sarazin and one apiece from Bell, Oakes and Stucker. Bell and Stucker had two assists apiece and Kayla Sarazin finished with one.

Budri made eight saves.

The Yachtsmen did win the ground ball battle, 26-20, as Bell and Kayla Sarazin shared game-high honors with seven each.

“It’s always a mentally challenging game to play Kennebunk,” Johnson said. “We’ll get better. It’s humbling and it will make us want it a little more. A loss builds character.”

Crucible

Both teams have some big hoops to jump through between now and the end of the regular season.

Kennebunk (now second by a sliver to Falmouth in the Class B South Heal Points standings) hosts Yarmouth in a state final rematch Thursday, plays at dangerous Cape Elizabeth Tuesday and closes versus Waynflete in a game played at the University of New England June 1.

“It’s just another win under our belt,” Oakman said. “We have more challenges coming. It’s a confidence booster. We need to play with 100 percent intensity like we usually do. If we do that, that will be our key to success.”

“We have to keep on tweaking and adding things every day and we’ll keep on studying our opponents,” Barker said.

Falmouth goes to Lake Region Friday and visits Waynflete Tuesday before closing at home versus Yarmouth in what could very well be a state final preview June 2.

“Our schedule is stacked at the end, but this team has never had it easy,” Johnson said. “Whether we’re not expected to be good, or expected to be good, it’s never easy, but we’ll fight and earn every single goal, every single win until the ultimate victory. The girls are great. They work so hard. I’m so proud of them.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Falmouth senior Devon Sarazin shoots the ball past Kennebunk sophomore Sophie Thompson.

Falmouth senior Olivia Stucker prepares to beat Kennebunk freshman Tiernan Connor and score a first half goal.

Falmouth junior Chelsey Smithwick is defended by Kennebunk junior Mia Murray.

Falmouth sophomore Kayla Sarazin hounds Kennebunk junior Hallie Schwartzman.

Kennebunk senior Leah Dumas, who scored three goals, shoots past Falmouth senior goalie Mary Budri.

Falmouth senior Sydney Bell is shadowed by Kennebunk junior Erin Gorton.

Previous Falmouth-Kennebunk results

2016
Kennebunk 7 @ Falmouth 6 (2 OT)
Class B South Final
@ Kennebunk 8 Falmouth 3

2015
Falmouth 10 @ Kennebunk 8
Western B Final
Kennebunk 9 @ Falmouth 7

2014
Kennebunk 9 @ Falmouth 8

2013
Falmouth 14 @ Kennebunk 8

2012
@ Falmouth 17 Kennebunk 10

2009
@ Kennebunk 15 Falmouth 4

2007
Western B semifinals
@ Kennebunk 11 Falmouth 7

2006
Western B quarterfinals
@ Kennebunk 14 Falmouth 6

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.