Oh brother, what a win for the sister! Waynflete edges Lake Region in 2 OT thriller

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Waynflete’s girls’ lacrosse team celebrates a goal during its palpitating and crucial 11-10, double-overtime home win over Lake Region Monday afternoon.

Joe Carpine / 365digitalphotography.com photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Waynflete 11 Lake Region 10 (2 OT)

LR- 5 5 0 0- 10
W- 5 5 0 1- 11

First half
23:03 LR Bonenfant (Jakobs)
19:32 LR Shanks (Keenan)
15:54 LR Bonenfant (Keenan)
12:37 W Olney (unassisted)
11:41 W Stockford (free position)
9:35 W Stockford (Canning)
7:24 W Olney (unassisted)
4:50 W Burdick (Canning)
2:17 LR Jakobs (Keenan)
:41 LR Bonenfant (Shanks)

Second half
23:40 W Baginski (Olney)
22:44 W Olney (free position)
22:03 LR Bonenfant (Keenan)
20:30 LR Shanks (Keenan)
18:36 LR Keenan (free position)
17:28 LR Shanks (Keenan)
15:36 W Baginski (Olney)
11:39 W Olney (free position)
10:29 W Stockford (Burdick)
4:46 LR Jakobs (unassisted)

First overtime
No scoring

Second overtime
1:15 W Baginski (Canning)

Goals:
LR-Bonenfant 4, Shanks 3, Jakobs 2, Keenan 1
W- Olney 4, Baginski, Stockford 3, Burdick 1

Assists:
LR- Keenan 6, Jakobs, Shanks 1
W- Canning 3, Olney 2, Burdick 1

Draws (Lake Region, 13-11)
LR- Jakobs 13 of 22, Keenan 0 of 2
W- Pope 8 of 17, Boedeker 3 of 7

Ground balls (Waynflete, 35-29)
LR- Jakobs 13, Keenan 5, Nelson 3, Davis, Green, Shanks 2, Davis-White, Sturk 1
W- Stockford 8, Pope 6, Baginski 5, Burdick, Canning, Olney 3, Boedeker, Parr 2, Akers, Sangster, Wildes 1

Turnovers:
LR- 12
W- 10

Shots:
LR- 25
W- 20

Shots on cage:
LR- 19
W- 19

Saves:
LR (Nelson) 8
W (Akers) 9

PORTLAND—Waynflete’s girls’ lacrosse team is synonymous with postseason success and the possibility of the Flyers not taking part in the playoffs is unthinkable.

That was very much in play, however, prior to the Flyers hosting Lake Region Monday afternoon to kick off a crucial closing stretch of the regular season as Waynflete was on the outside of the Class B South Heal Points standings looking in and desperately needed a win.

The Flyers would get one, but it was take more than the allotted 50 minutes to achieve.

In a contest rife with sub-plots, starting the with the jockeying for playoff positioning and including a tasty sidebar of the family rivalry of longtime Waynflete coach Cathie Connors matching wits with her brother, Lake Region coach David Keenan, and her niece, Lakers junior standout Lindsey Keenan, there was almost no separation in a game which featured five ties and three lead changes.

Lake Region started fast and shot to a 3-0 lead behind early goals from junior Melllisa Bonenfant, junior Rachel Shanks and Bonenfant again, as Lindsey Keenan had a pair of assists.

The Flyers finally got going midway through the first half and rattled off five goals in under eight minutes.

After junior LZ Olney got the hosts on the board, junior Ya Stockford scored consecutive goals to tie it and Olney and junior Izzy Burdick tickled the twine for a 5-3 lead.

Back came the Lakers, as just before halftime, junior Lauren Jakobs finished a Keenan feed and Bonenfant scored again to make it 5-5 at the break.

The back-and-forth fun continued in the second half.

Waynflete retook a two-goal lead, as junior Laura Baginski and Olney scored early, but the next four goals went to the Lakers.

Tallies from Bonenfant and Shanks tied the score and after doing all the giving, Keenan got to score the go-ahead goal on a free position shot with 18:36 remaining. Shanks added a goal and the Flyers were on the ropes, but again, they rallied.

Scores from Baginski and Olney tied the game and with 10:29 to go, Burdick set up Stockford for a 10-9 lead.

Lake Region answered with 4:46 on the clock, as Jakobs finished unassisted and after the Lakers got possession back and ran down the clock, they couldn’t produce the go-ahead goal and the game would go to overtime.

The first, three-minute, “sudden victory” OT session featured a huge save from Waynflete freshman goalie Avis Akers, but no goals and the game would go to a second overtime.

Where the Flyers finally put it away.

After another huge save by Akers, Waynflete transitioned to offense and with 1:15 on the clock, senior Isabel Canning threaded a pass to Baginski in front and Baginski finished to give Waynflete its most dramatic and inspirational victory in a long time, 11-10.

Olney had four goals, Baginski and Stockford both added three and Akers made nine big saves as the Flyers won their third game in a row, improved to 6-3, dropped Lake Region to 4-4 and most importantly, leapfrogged the Lakers in the Heal Points standings.

“We needed this,” Connors said. “I told the girls if they want to be in the playoffs they have to play like it’s a playoff game and they did that today. I love games like this. It was fun, especially coming out on top.”

New rivalry

Lake Region and Waynflete never squared off in girls’ lacrosse until last year and quickly became acquainted, as the host Lakers beat the Flyers, 13-9, in the regular season finale, but eight days later, Waynflete returned to Naples and edged Lake Region in the Class B South quarterfinals, 7-6.

Adding intrigue to the teams’ encounters is the coaches and their relationship to each other.

Sibling rivalry aside, this year’s meeting held extra importance due to the state of Class B South, where seven very good teams reside, but only six will make the playoffs. Entering play, the Lakers held on to the No. 6 spot, while the Flyers were seventh and the odd team out.

Lake Region opened with wins at Erskine Academy (7-2) and at home over St. Dom’s (13-9). After falling at defending Class B champion Kennebunk (15-7) and at home to undefeated Yarmouth (11-6), the Lakers downed visiting Winslow (17-3) and Wells (13-6). Friday, Lake Region lost at Cape Elizabeth, 10-6.

Waynflete opened with a 16-2 win at NYA, then held off host Freeport, 11-7. After a 12-4 setback at Yarmouth, the Flyers prevailed, 13-5 at Scarborough. After an 8-6 home loss to Greely, Waynflete’s first to the Rangers since 2004, it fell, 10-4, at York. The Flyers then bounced back with a 15-8 home victory over Cheverus in a crossover and an 8-5 win at St. Dom’s.

Monday, on a cloudy, chilly and occasionally drizzly afternoon, the Lakers looked to win at Waynflete for the first time, but the Flyers somehow got the all-important victory.

Lake Region’s first settled possession resulted in the game’s first goal as just 1 minute, 57 seconds in, Jakobs passed to Bonenfant, who beat Akers.

Olney appeared to draw Waynflete even with 21:45 left in the first half, but she was ruled in the crease and the goal was waved off.

The Lakers then took a 2-0 advantage with 19:32 on the clock, as Keenan set up Shanks.

After Shanks hit the crossbar, Lake Region struck again with 15:54 to go in the half, as Keenan fed Bonenfant for a goal.

The Flyers didn’t panic and quickly erased the deficit.

Waynflete got on the board with 12:37 to play before halftime, as Olney fought her way through the defense and beat Lake Region junior goalie Madelyn Nelson.

A mere 56 seconds later, Stockford scored on a free position and David Keenan called timeout to stem momentum.

It didn’t work, as after Nelson denied Flyers sophomore Marady Parr in front, Canning set up Stockford for the equalizer with 9:35 to go.

The visitors bid to retake the lead with 8:17 left, but Akers stopped Jakobs’ free position shot.

At the other end, Waynflete went ahead for the first time, as Olney scored unassisted with 7:24 remaining before halftime.

After Akers preserved the lead by denying Jakobs, Burdick finished a feed from Canning with 4:50 on the clock and it appeared as if the Flyers were on the brink of pulling away, but this time, it would be Lake Region countering.

After Olney had a second goal waved off for being in the crease, Keenan set up Jakobs with 2:17 remaining, snapping Waynflete’s 5-0 run and a 13 minute, 37 second scoring drought.

In the final minute, Lakers junior Aisley Sturk earned a free position shot which went wide, but Shanks got the rebound and fed Bonenfant, who finished with 41 seconds to tie the score.

With 25 seconds to go, Olney had a goal waved off for a crease violation for the third time and with 10 seconds on the clock, Keenan shot just wide, sending the game to the break tied, 5-5.

In the first 25 minutes, all statistical categories were close and nothing would change (or be resolved) in the second half,

The Flyers retook the lead just 80 seconds into the new half, as Olney set up Baginski for a 6-5 advantage.

With 22:44 on the clock, Olney buried a free position shot and just like that, Waynflete had a two-goal lead again, 7-5.

Again, it wouldn’t last.

Just 41 seconds after Olney scored, Keenan set up Bonenfant and with 20:30 to play, Keenan fed Shanks to tie the score, 7-7.

With 18:36 remaining, Keenan earned a free position and she shot the ball past Akers and into the net to make it 8-7 Lake Region, forcing Connors to call timeout.

It didn’t help, as just 68 seconds later, Keenan threw a pass from behind the goal to Shanks, who made an amazing catch, contorting her body, before beating Akers for a 9-7 advantage.

Waynflete would again bounce right back and after an Olney free position shot hit the crossbar, Olney set up Baginski with 15:36 remaining.

After Akers denied Keenan on a free position, the Flyers drew even at 9-9 when Olney scored on a free position with 11:39 on the clock.

After Burdick shot just wide, the hosts took the lead again with 10:29 left, as Burdick set up Stockford for a 10-9 lead.

David Keenan called timeout and the Lakers would control the rest of regulation.

After Nelson kept her team within a goal by robbing Parr on the doorstep, Lake Region went back on offense and after Akers denied Jakobs, Jakobs got the ball again and this time, she finished unassisted with 4:46 to go in regulation to tie the score for the fifth and final time.

Jakobs then won the ensuing draw and the Lakers opted to run down the clock. After running around and passing the ball for over four minutes, Lake Region set up what it hoped would be a winning play, but with 9 seconds left, a Shanks redirect of a Keenan pass was just wide and just before time expired, Keenan shot just wide sending the game to overtime tied, 10-10.

“Our mindset going into overtime was just play our patient game, don’t throw the ball away and on defense, don’t touch anyone and stay out of shooting space because they can shoot,” Connors said.

After a five-minute rest, the teams came out amid a steady drizzle to determine a winner, but the first three-minute OT resolved nothing.

Sophomore Emi Boedeker won the draw for Waynflete, but Olney was called for a charge, giving the Lakers a chance to win it.

It appeared that was going to happen when Keenan earned a free position with 1:59 to go, but Akers stood tall and made the save.

The Flyers then gave the ball right back, but after looking for a shot, Lake Region committed a turnover with just 2 seconds on the clock and the game would go to a second overtime.

This time, Jakobs won the draw and the Lakers looked to end it, but Shanks’ shot was turned aside by Akers.

“Cathie told me to be big and keep my eye and stick on the ball at all times,” Akers said. “I just tried to get in front of the ball.”

“I’m really proud of Avis,” Connors said. “She gets better every game. She’s really coming along for a freshman. She has the best attitude. She’s so coachable.”

That gave Waynflete a chance to go on the attack and after the Flyers got settled, they brought an end to the thriller with 1:15 to go in the second OT.

It would be Canning, the team’s spiritual leader, setting up the goal, as she patiently waited behind the cage until Baginski found a sliver of room in front. Canning’s pass through traffic was perfect, Baginski caught it and in one single motion, shot the ball past Nelson into the net and at 5:06 p.m., the 11-10 victory was in the books.

“It’s really exciting,” Baginski said. “I was surprised Isabel made that pass. It was risky. We made eye contact and the ball was there.”

“That’s what Isabel does,” Connors said. “She’s patient, a great passer. That was a great shot by Laura.”

The Flyers were at last able to exult and exhale.

“That (winning goal) made me feel amazing,” Akers said. “Laura is a wonderful attack player. I was looking at the standings earlier and we were seventh. We knew we had to step it up and win this game. A lot of times we get behind, but I know we can pick ourselves back up.”

“Cathie has coached forever and she’s such a good coach,” said Baginski. “She got our energy up and we got on the field and connected. We wanted it so badly. We knew this was a big game. We knew if we lost we might not be in the playoffs. In the end, it came down to hustle.”

“It was a super-fun game,” Connors added. “A little stressful, but we knew it would be like that. We weren’t clicking early on offense and our transition wasn’t connecting. They were getting ground balls. They have some strong players. It came down to who would score last.”

Waynflete’s offense was balanced and potent, as Olney had four goals and two assists, Baginski and Stockford had three goals apiece and Burdick added one goal and one assist. Canning finished with three assists, including on the winner.

Akers had her first signature game, making nine big-time saves.

“It was nervewracking, but I have a really good defense, which is nice,” Akers said. “Everyone was supportive. The team has been welcoming in all ways.”

Avis is doing amazing,” Baginski said. “She’s killing it. We have faith in her. She has so much ability.”

The Flyers had a 35-29 edge in ground balls (Stockford led the way with eight and senior Ali Pope had six).

Despite playing 54 minutes and 45 seconds of high-stakes lacrosse with their postseason aspirations in jeopardy, Waynflete only committed 10 turnovers.

Lake Region got four goals from Bonenfant, three from Shanks, two from Jakobs and one from Keenan, who had six assists. Jakobs and Shanks each added one. Jakobs helped the Lakers enjoy a 13-11 advantage in the draw circle and collected a game-high 13 ground balls. Keenan finished with five. Nelson made eight saves.

The Lakers had a 25-20 shots advantage (on cage, each team wound up with 19) and only turned the ball over a dozen times.

Lake Region is still in its infancy as a varsity team, but it’s fair to say that the Lakers have earned the respect of the state’s most storied program.

“(David) started that program and has coached those girls since third grade,” Connors said. “I’m proud of him. I’m proud of my niece too. She’s a great player.”

Playoffs begin now

Both teams now find themselves in must-win territory the rest of the way.

Lake Region (now seventh in Class B South) is back in action Tuesday at Freeport. After hosting Falmouth in a pivotal contest Friday, the Lakers welcome Fryeburg Academy Tuesday of next week and close at York June 2.

Waynflete has three huge tests remaining.

The Flyers host red-hot Cape Elizabeth Wednesday, welcome Falmouth on Senior Day next Tuesday, then close against Kennebunk in a game played at the University of New England June 1.

“We were up and down earlier, but now it feels like we’re just going up and hopefully we can keep that momentum going,” Baginski said. “Everyone is so excited for the Cape game. We know we can do it. It just comes down to heart.”

“We have three big games to come,” Connors said. “The sky’s the limit. This was a big confidence-boost.”

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

Waynflete senior Ali Pope and Lake Region junior Lauren Jakobs face off in the draw circle.

Waynflete junior Ya Stockford beats Lake Region junior goalie Madelyn Nelson for one of her three goals.

Waynflete freshman Avis Akers denies a free position shot off the stick of Lake Region junior Lindsey Keenan for one of her nine clutch saves.

Waynflete junior LZ Olney unleashes a shot. Olney had four goals.

Waynflete junior Ya Stockford corrals the ball as sophomore teammate Marady Parr looks on.

Waynflete junior Laura Baginski, center, is congratulated by senior Isabel Canning (18) and junior Izzy Burdick after scoring a goal. Baginski later scored the winner in the second overtime.

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