Waynflete two wins from another championship; Flyers fend off Falmouth's upset bid, Cape Elizabeth next
Saturday afternoon, the Waynflete girls' lacrosse team took another step closer to its ultimate goal, a second straight Class B state title.
The Flyers, playing for the first time in 12 days, had to deal with some rust and from an inspired effort from visiting Falmouth, but ultimately had too much firepower and advanced with a 12-4 victory.
Wednesday at 4 p.m., Waynflete will host Cape Elizabeth in the regional final.
The only other local girls' team to qualify, Portland, beat South Portland in the Western A preliminary round before losing to top-ranked Gorham in the quarterfinals.
The Flyers were sensational in the regular season, going 12-0 and only getting tested once, an 8-6 victory at Yarmouth in the finale. Waynflete easily earned the top seed for the tournament and was expected to stroll in to the state game, but Falmouth had other ideas.
The Yachtsmen were just 4-8 in the regular season and were ranked fifth. They won 12-9 at No. 4 Greely in the quarterfinals.
Waynflete easily took the regular season meeting, 16-7 way back on May 1 (the teams had no prior playoff history), but the rematch would be a different story.
In the early moments, the Yachtsmen dominated possession and had several good looks (getting seven of the first eight shots) against Flyers first-year junior goalie Sasha Timpson, but Timpson (seven first half saves) stood tall and kept the game scoreless.
Finally, with 17:22 to go in the first half, the hosts took the lead for good when junior Morgan Woodhouse set up senior Ellie Cole for a goal. Two minutes later, senior Mariah Monks scored unassisted. Monks did it again with 9:36 left in the half for a 3-0 lead.
Waynflete would eventually go up 5-0, thanks to an unassisted tally from Woodhouse and another Monks goal (this one from junior Amy Allen).
With 2:31 to go before halftime, Falmouth finally broke through when sophomore Laura Fay set up senior Nicolette Sipperly for a goal.
If the half would have ended there, the Yachtsmen would have been in great shape, but the Flyers finished strong, scoring three times in the final 84 seconds.
First, Cole (from Allen) tickled the twine with 1:24 to go. A minute later, Cole set up senior Anna Libby, who beat Falmouth sophomore goalie Jen Greene. Then, with just 10 seconds remaining, Allen scored unassisted and it was 8-1 at the break.
The hosts won eight of 10 draws, had an 18-16 ground ball advantage and forced 13 turnovers.
As it turned out, however, Waynflete wasn't home free.
Falmouth opened the half with three straight goals (senior Haley Jordan, junior Emma Sipperly, and sophomore Jess DiPhillippo) to make it 8-4, but Waynflete wouldn't buckle.
Cole scored with 8:31 to play, ending a 16 minute, 39 second drought, to make it 9-4. The Flyers then got strikes from sophomore Liv Chap, Monks and Cole and improved to 13-0 with the 12-4 decision.
Cole and Monks both had four goals. Allen, Chap, Libby and Woodhouse added one apiece. Timpson finished with 12 saves.
"Falmouth gave us a battle," said Waynflete coach Cathie Connors. "It was a physical game. Falmouth forced us to stay on our toes. It was good for the girls to get a scare. It'll get us ready for Cape."
Back on May 21, the Flyers won 11-2 at the Capers. The teams have met four prior times in the postseason (with Waynflete winning all four), including each of the past two years. In the 2007 quarterfinals, the Flyers were 13-3 winners. Last spring, in the semifinals, Waynflete cruised, 11-1. Cape Elizabeth is playing in its first regional final since 1997.
"Cape is a very strong with great athletes," Connors said. "They will come to play on Wednesday. We'll have to be on to win this one."
If, as expected, the Flyers beat the Capers, they will meet either Yarmouth (11-2) or NYA (11-2) in the Class B Final Saturday at 5:30 p.m., at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.
Waynflete was a 12-3 home winner over the Panthers May 30, then passed its test at the Clippers. Last year, the Flyers beat NYA 12-8 in the state game.
Portland made it back to the quarterfinals this year. The Bulldogs were 6-6 in the regular season and earned the No. 8 seed.
Last Tuesday, on a rainy night, Portland hosted No. 9 South Portland in a rematch of a close regular season contest (a 7-6 Bulldogs' victory, May 19). The teams had no prior playoff history and would go-and-forth in a captivating battle in the Western A preliminary round.
Three unanswered goals from junior standout Nancy McAdam put Portland ahead to stay. Promising freshman Rachel Allen added a goal and the Bulldogs were up, 4-2, at halftime.
After South Portland got back within a goal early in the second half, Portland went on another three-goal run as Allen, senior Kristin O'Kelly and senior Heather Lipps scored to make it 7-3. McAdam and Allen (three goals on the night) answered Red Riots' goals for a 9-5 lead, but the visitors scored three in a row to make things tight, 9-8.
Finally, with time winding down, Bulldogs junior Mariah Callender came up with a big steal and Portland was able to hold on for the win.
"Our whole season has been figuring it out," said McAdam, who led all scorers with four goals. "We've had so many times where we had to start over. Our motto has been, 'figure it out.' It's something we had go get used to."
"We got a little overconfident at the end and took for granted that we had a four-goal lead, but I had to let them work it out," added Portland coach Eric Wales. "We got some big stops and got a big turnover from Mariah."
The Bulldogs advanced to meet No. 1 Gorham in the quarterfinals. On May 15, Portland lost 12-6 at home to the Rams. The teams hadn't met before in the playoffs.
The Bulldogs took an early 2-0 lead and were within three, 8-5, at halftime, but ultimately, Gorham was too tough and went on for a 16-8 victory. McAdam had four goals in a losing effort.
Portland finished 7-7, but was pleased with its growth.
"We lost 12 girls from last year," said Wales. "It's a rebuilding year, but we made it back to the quarterfinals. It's a big step to do this two years in a row. The girls worked hard."
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com.