(Ed. Note: For the complete Cape Elizabeth-Waynflete, Scarborough-Bonny Eagle and Scarborough-Kennebunk girls’ and Cape Elizabeth-Falmouth boys’ game stories, please visit theforecaster.net).
The lacrosse state finals at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland will have a decidedly red and white feel Saturday.
That’s because both Scarborough teams won regional finals Wednesday to advance to the big stage.
Both Cape Elizabeth squads hoped to join the Red Storm, but each suffered a gutwrenching defeat.
Scarborough’s boys are the two-time defending Class A state champions and are closing in on a third.
The Red Storm went 11-1 in the regular season and earned the top seed in Western A. After earning a quarterfinal round bye, Scarborough pulled away in the fourth quarter of its semifinal to down visiting No. 4 Thornton Academy, 7-1, 10 days after a 15-4 victory over the Golden Trojans in the regular season finale. John Wheeler had three goals, Andrew Jones and Ryan Pallotta added two apiece and David Pearson made nine saves.
Scarborough then hosted No. 2 Kennebunk in the regional final Wednesday night. In the regular season, the Red Storm won at the Rams, 9-6. The teams’ last playoff meeting was in the 2009 semifinals (a 13-5 Scarborough triumph). Wednesday,
This one was close and low scoring, but the Red Storm broke open a 2-2 game with three goals late in the first half, including tallies from Ryan Pallotta and John Wheeler in the final minute. Scarborough clung to a 5-3 lead entering the fourth quarter and added one more goal while holding Kennebunk at bay to win, 6-3.
Wheeler had three goals and two assists and goalie David Pearson made 13 clutch saves.
“We went on a small run at the end of the first half,” said Red Storm coach Joe Hezlep. “Pearson had a good game.”
The Red Storm will battle Eastern A champion Cheverus (11-4) in the state game Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Scarborough and the Stags didn’t play this year. The Red Storm beat Cheverus, 12-1, in the 2009 quarterfinals.
“They’ve worked a long time for this,” said Hezlep, of the Stags. “It was only a matter of time. They have a great coaching staff. They grew up during the season. We just need to do what we do. We’ll need to capitalize on opportunities.”
Cape Elizabeth went 11-1 in the regular season, losing only to defending Class B champion Falmouth, but that loss left the Capers slightly behind the Yachtsmen in the final Heal Points standings.
As the No. 2 seed, Cape Elizabeth had its way with No. 3 Greely in Saturday’s semifinal round, 12-1, as Alex Bornick scored five times and Brian Brett and Timmy Lavallee each added a pair.
Wednesday, the Capers renewed what has become the state’s best boys’ lacrosse rivalry, at Falmouth in the regional final. The teams split in the regular season, each winning at home (Cape Elizabeth, 8-6; Falmouth, 14-12). The game marked the fourth successive year the rivals met in the regional final (the Capers won in 2009 and 2010 and the Yachtsmen last season, 11-9).
As expected, this matchup went down to the wire.
Neither team led by more than a goal until the fourth period when Falmouth took a 10-8 lead. Cape Elizabeth got a goal back and had ample opportunities down the stretch, but the tying goal never came and the Capers’ season ended at 12-2 with a 10-9 setback. Junior Alex Bornick had five goals in a losing cause. Timmy Lavallee bowed out with four assists.
“It was a good game,” said Cape Elizabeth’s longtime coach Ben Raymond. “We’re two evenly matched teams. It’s great it came down to a chance to tie with the last possession. We had what we wanted, but they came up big. There aren’t many things we’d have done differently. I don’t think there’s much they’d do differently.
“It’s disappointing absolutely, not to play in a state championship and win a state championship. That’s our goal every year. These guys should be proud of where they are. These guys are always considered a top team in the state. It’s a lot of pressure. It’s unfortunate that their last memory is this game and not a pig-pile at Fitzpatrick Stadium.”
There’s a good chance that 2013 will be the year the Capers get over the hump and return to the Class B pinnacle.
“We have a lot of good players coming back,” Raymond said. “We’ll obviously graduate a lot of good talent, but we’ll come back and start over again.”
The Scarborough girls also entered the playoffs as the top seed seeking a three-peat. The Red Storm went 11-1 in the regular season, losing only to Cape Elizabeth.
Scarborough had an easy time with both No. 8 Bonny Eagle (17-2) and fourth-ranked Kennebunk (16-6) in the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively.
Against the Scots, the Red Storm had a 13-1 lead at halftime and put it on cruise control in the second half, clearing the bench before going on to a 17-2 victory. Senior Maggie Smith had four goals, while classmates Laura Przybylowicz and Mary Scott both added three.
“Anything can happen, it’s lacrosse,” said Smith. “We had a few close games we shouldn’t have had this season. We’re good at starting out with momentum. That’s our strong suit. It’s all about the momentum with our team. If we have a clear mental game, we can play like we have to play.”
“We don’t have a bye this year, which I’m thankful for, because we need to be playing,” said Scarborough coach Marcia Wood. “It’s hard going this long without a game, but (the girls) were fantastic.”
Something had to give when the Red Storm met the Rams. The teams had split four prior playoff meetings and Scarborough eked out a one-goal win at Kennebunk on May 24. This time, no eking was necessary.
The Rams scored the game’s first two goals, but Scarborough roared to life, closing the first half on a 9-1 run, winning 11 successive draws in one stretch, inducing a mercy rule running clock nine minutes into the second half and never looked back en route to an emphatic 16-6 victory. Scarborough had a 2-1 advantage in ground balls, a nearly 4-1 bulge in shots and won 16 of 23 draw controls. Przybylowicz paced the balanced, dynamic offense with five goals, Scott and Smith each added four goals and Kelsey Howard scored twice, set up two other goals and did a little of everything else.
“Our offense is looking strong,” said Przybylowicz. “We look for each other and found each other really well today. I looked around at the seniors and told them I didn’t want the season to be done today. The whole team came out to play today, which is so important since we have such a strong offense, defense and midfield.”
“We got the nerves out and played our game,” said Howard. “We took our time, passed it around and looked for the cutters. We see the key players and they know what to do when they get it. We played an incredible game. Everyone was at the top of their game.”
“I always get nervous no matter what and early in the season, I didn’t know what team would show up, but for some reason in the playoffs, we’ve been focused and have stepped it up,” added Wood. “What a beautiful game. Other than the first few minutes, everything else was absolutely superb.”
Wednesday, Scarborough hosted a Marshwood squad it beat, 10-5, in the regular season and 13-12 in the previous playoff meeting (in the 2008 semifinals). While the Hawks hung tough early with strong defense and goalkeeping, Przybylowicz scored a pair of early goals and the Red Storm soon opened things up en route to a 13-3 triumph. Przybylowicz scored five goals, Scott added four goals with three assists and Howard tickled the twine three times as Scarborough cruised, 13-3.
“It was another impressive performance,” said Wood. “The seniors are just adamant. It took us awhile to get going with their defense and their goalie made a ton of big saves at the beginning. We finally broke it open.”
The Red Storm will face either Brunswick (12-1) or Cheverus (9-5) in Saturday’s state final (game time is 3 p.m.).
Scarborough held off the host Stags, 11-10, back on May 10. The Red Storm beat Cheverus in the lone prior playoff meeting (7-2 in the 2008 semifinals). Scarborough doesn’t play Brunswick in the regular season. The Red Storm beat the Dragons in both the 2006 (13-12 in three overtimes) and 2011 (13-11) state finals.
“If we keep playing like we’ve been playing, I like our chances,” Wood said. “We’ll stay focused. It’ll be a good game. Brunswick we know from last year. Cheverus, if they’re on, they can be trouble.”
Cape Elizabeth hoped to make it to its first Class B state final and had to like its chances as the top seed after a 12-0 regular season.
The Capers earned a bye into the Western B semifinals Saturday, where they pulled away in the second half for an 18-10 victory. Lauren Steidl had seven goals, Talley Perkins added five and Hannah Newhall scored three times.
Wednesday, Cape Elizabeth hosted the sport’s gold standard, No. 2 Waynflete, which was coming off an epic semifinal round win over third-ranked Falmouth. The Capers and Flyers didn’t play in the regular season. Last year in the regional final, Waynflete held on for an 8-7 win, the 18th straight time the Flyers had beaten Cape Elizabeth.
The agony continued in the regional final.
The Capers shot to a quick 4-1 lead, had a 6-3 advantage at halftime and were up, 8-4, with less than 13 minutes to go, but as time grew short, Cape Elizabeth couldn’t hold on to the ball and Waynflete scored four unanswered goals to pull even.
After the Capers dodged a bullet at the end of regulation, they twice went on top in overtime, but each time the Flyers drew even and in “sudden victory” OT, Waynflete got a goal from Walker Foehl and won, 11-10, ending Cape Elizabeth’s best season this century at 13-1 even though Steidl had three goals and two assists and Perkins, Newhall and Bella Robinson all had two goals.
“It was a heartbreaker,” said Capers first-year coach Jeff Perkins. ‘If that game doesn’t enhance the sport of lacrosse in the state of Maine, I don’t know what will. We talked at halftime and we knew they’d come out and do different things. (Waynflete) did a great job. In the first half, they let us have midfield passes. In the second half, they really pressured our defense to get that first pass.
“I told (the girls) we’ve never gone 13-0 before. We never had two home playoff games. We played for one homefield game and we got two. At the beginning of the season nobody, even me, would’ve told you we’d go 13-0 and get two home games. The girls had a great season and beat all expectations. I think at the end, the expectations went the other way. We did what we were supposed to, came out and won games.”
Cape Elizabeth graduates several seniors, but there’s an abundance of talent returning and perhaps 2013 is the year the Capers finally break through.
“It’s a little hard to look ahead right now,” said Perkins. “I had a meeting with the seniors after and thanked them for what they’ve done to take the program to where it is today. They had a lot to do with it. It’ll hurt to have them missing, but we have good stuff going on in Cape. We’re excited about the future.”
Cape Elizabeth junior Adam Haversat tries to hold Falmouth senior Mitch Tapley in check during the teams’ Western B Final Wednesday. The Capers went down to a 10-9 defeat.
Cape Elizabeth junior Lauren Steidl shoots past Waynflete goalie Katherine Torrey during the teams’ Western B Final Wednesday. The Capers led almost the whole way, but had their season end in agony, 11-10, in overtime.