PORTLAND—A year ago, Waynflete’s proud, powerhouse girls’ lacrosse team suffered one of the most stunning playoff losses in its illustrious history.
Wednesday afternoon at Fore River Field, the Flyers made sure it didn’t happen again.
Hosting Cape Elizabeth in a Western Class B quarterfinal, Waynflete took an early lead it wouldn’t relinquish, then turned to its nearly impenetrable zone defense to guide it to the next round.
The Flyers seemingly dominated the first half, but only led, 3-1, at the break behind goals from junior Christan Rowe, sophomore Beata Vest and junior Nina Moore.
When Capers sophomore Mariah Deschino scored after a terrific individual effort nine minutes into the second half, Cape Elizabeth envisioned another dramatic come-from-behind victory, but Waynflete wasn’t about to buckle.
Vest scored twice in less than four minutes to help the Flyers gain a little breathing room and while seniors Lindsay Stewart and Emma Landes scored late, Moore scored a free position goal of her own and Waynflete went on to a 6-4 victory.
Vest led all scorers with three goals, Moore added two, junior goalie Charlotte Majercik made five clutch saves and the Flyers improved to 9-4, ended the Capers’ season at 7-6 and advanced to set up a semifinal round showdown at No. 1 Falmouth (11-1) Saturday at 3 p.m.
“It was a solid effort from start to finish,” said Waynflete coach Cathie Connors. “I’m really proud.”
For years, you could set your watch in April, May or June by Waynflete beating Cape Elizabeth in girls’ lacrosse, but that all changed in a big way last June 14, when the Capers snapped a 12-year, 24-game losing streak to the Flyers by virtue of a stunning 9-8 upset in the semifinals in Portland.
Cape Elizabeth went on to upset Kennebunk in the regional final, then lost to Yarmouth, 13-10, in the state final.
This spring, the Capers got off to a hot start, winning at Falmouth early, but they cooled late and wound up 7-5 and fifth in Western B.
Waynflete, which began the year with arguably the rawest roster Connors has ever dealt with in her 23 seasons, stumbled a few times, but was competitive throughout and its 8-4 mark gave it the No. 4 seed.
The Flyers had beaten Cape Elizabeth in eight of nine prior playoff meetings and on a beautiful afternoon Wednesday, made it nine of 10.
Not that it was easy.
Waynflete almost struck off the opening draw, as senior Helen Gray-Bauer won possession and earned a free position, but her bid was denied by Capers senior goalie Kate Bosworth.
With 20:10 to play in the first half, the Flyers went ahead to stay as sophomore Isabel Canning passed to Rowe, who beat Bosworth for a 1-0 lead.
Less than two minutes later, with 18:17 showing, Canning set up Vest and the lead was 2-0.
Cape Elizabeth finally got on the board with 12:35 to play in the first half when Deschino set up senior Taylor Herrera, but the visitors wouldn’t score again before halftime.
After Waynflete freshman Izzy Burdick hit the post, Deschino had a chance to tie the score on a free position, but Majercik made the save. Majerick then absolutely robbed Capers senior Kirsten Rudberg in close.
With 2:56 left in the half, Canning set up Moore, who made a great catch before shooting past Bosworth to give the Flyers a 3-1 edge at the break.
Not surprisingly, Cape Elizabeth came out strong in the second half and after Majercik denied Landes, Deschino pulled off a highlight reel spin move around a defender before finishing to cut the deficit to 3-2 with 16:06 remaining.
Connors called timeout and Waynflete responded.
With 15:01 to play, after a Capers’ turnover, in transition, senior Haley Johnson set up Vest for a shot that beat Bosworth between her legs for a 4-2 advantage.
With 11:35 remaining, Moore set up Vest again and the lead was 5-2.
“(The lead) never felt safe,” said Vest, who has really come on as the season has progressed. “It was nervewracking. We measure our maturity and our ability to hold it together when there’s so much at stake. The offense really clicked today. We had a good day.”
After Bosworth prevented Johnson from extending the lead, Cape Elizabeth got back within two when Stewart scored on a free position with 7:47 remaining.
The Capers weren’t able to draw any closer, however, as Moore scored on a free position with 6:51 showing, pushing the Flyers lead back to three, 6-3.
Waynflete wouldn’t score the rest of the way, but unlike last season, the Flyers didn’t allow Cape Elizabeth to come back.
After Majerick robbed Capers freshman Susie Graham on a free position, Rowe had a shot saved by Bosworth.
With 2:40 left, Landes finished a feed from Deschino, cutting the deficit to 6-4, but Cape Elizabeth would get no closer and Waynflete ran out the clock and prevailed, as it made it to the semifinals for the 18th straight season in the Maine Principals’ Association-sanctioned era.
“There was a lot of conversation about last year, but it wasn’t about our past,” Vest said. “It was about focusing on the here and now.”
“We try to not to talk about the past, every year’s a new year, but we did talk about it a little,” said Gray-Bauer. “We talked about the feeling of having a season ended on your home turf. It was an awful feeling and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. We’re always wary. Cathie always says that no lead is safe. We wanted to make sure we were secure on offense, defense and on transition. We really trusted each other.”
“The older kids talked about what happened last year,” Connors added. “They didn’t want to lose on our home field again. Our goal was to never get behind.”
Vest had three goals, while Moore scored twice and Rowe added one goal.
“Beata has been coming through,” Connors said. “We placed good shots and trusted each other.”
Canning had three assists, while Johnson and Moore each finished with one. Five of the Flyers’ six goals were assisted.
Gray-Bauer won 8 of 12 draws.
Majercik made five critical saves.
“It all comes from Charlotte,” said Gray-Bauer. “We feed off her energy when she makes saves.”
Waynflete had a 42-34 edge on ground balls, as Canning finished with eight and Gray-Bauer and Moore each collected six.
The Flyers overcame 18 turnovers by forcing 18 by the Capers.
“We talk about moving our feet, keeping our sticks straight up,” Gray-Bauer said. “We want to play a clean, fine game.”
“I’m so proud of our defense,” Vest said. “That’s really our backbone because the offense can be on or off.”
Waynflete enjoyed a 14-9 shots advantage (11-9 on cage).
Cape Elizabeth didn’t have a multiple goal scorer, as Deschino, Herrera, Landes and Stewart finished with one apiece. Deschino had two assists. Deschino also had a game-high nine ground balls, while Landes collected five. Bosworth bowed out by making five saves.
“(Waynflete’s) very smart,” said Capers’ first-year coach Alex Spark. “Cathie knows what she’s doing. They play so composed for 50 minutes even though they’re a small team. They play a great zone. A lot of teams have trouble with that. The shots we did get off were great shots. I just wish we could have done it more. Our girls fought hard until the very end. I’m proud of the way we played.”
While Cape Elizabeth’s season ended in disappointment, the Capers had their moments.
“We know how talented we are,” Spark said. “We showed we could compete with anybody in the state. We have 11 seniors and I knew most of them coming into the program. The underclassmen really looked up to them. They did a great job leading. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Expect the Capers to be right back in the hunt next spring.
“We have a lot to look forward to,” said Spark. “A lot of girls are coming back. I can’t wait for next year.”
Waynflete will be a decided underdog Saturday. The Flyers suffered their worst home loss in memory to Falmouth May 13 (13-6). Waynflete has won all three prior playoff meetings against the Yachtsmen, including a memorable 10-9 semifinal round triumph in the 2012 semifinals in the most recent encounter.
The Flyers, who have never lost at Falmouth, like flying under the radar and believe they can shock the local girls’ lacrosse world Saturday.
“We just have to work on ourselves,” said Vest. “We’ll remember how it was when we played them, but we’re a totally new team than the first time we played them.”
“We have to go over there and play our game,” Gray-Bauer said. “Falmouth’s a really good team with really good players, but we’re a different team and we’re hungry. We know how to play in the playoffs. We have no pressure. No expectations. We just have to execute.”
“We’ll work really hard,” Connors added. “Falmouth’s a very good team. We’re excited. We can’t wait.”
Waynflete freshman Izzy Burdick is defended by Cape Elizabeth senior Rhoen Fiutak.
Cape Elizabeth sophomore Mariah Deschino races in for a shot.
Cape Elizabeth senior Rhoen Fiutak races up the field.
Cape Elizabeth freshman Susie Graham unleashes a shot.
Cape Elizabeth junior Mo Lavallee defends Waynflete senior Haley Johnson.
Waynflete junior Nina Moore fires a shot into the goal.
Cape Elizabeth senior Melissa Rudberg tries to snare a loose ball.
Cape Elizabeth senior Lindsay Stewart drives on Waynflete junior Meddy Smith.
Waynflete sophomore Beata Vest, who had a game-high three goals, is confronted by Cape Elizabeth senior Rhoen Fiutak.
Waynflete sophomore Isabel Canning, who had three assists, beams at the final horn.
Western B semifinals
Cape Elizabeth 9 @ Waynflete 8
Western B Final
@ Waynflete 16 Cape Elizabeth 9
Western B Final
Waynflete 11 @ Cape Elizabeth 10 (triple OT)
Western B Final
@ Waynflete 8 Cape Elizabeth 7
Western B Final
@ Waynflete 9 Cape Elizabeth 5
Western B semifinals
@ Waynflete 11 Cape Elizabeth 1
Western B quarterfinals
@ Waynflete 13 Cape Elizabeth 3
West Region semifinals
@ Waynflete 16 Cape Elizabeth 7
@ Waynflete 10 Cape Elizabeth 4
Waynflete junior goalie Charlotte Majercik leaps into the arms of sophomore Isabel Canning following the final horn of the Flyers’ 6-4 win over Cape Elizabeth in Wednesday’s Western Class B quarterfinal.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.
CE- 1 3- 4
W- 3 3- 6
20:10 W Rowe (Canning)
18:17 W Vest (Canning)
12:35 CE Herrera (Deschino)
2:56 W Moore (Canning)
16:06 CE Deschino (unassisted)
15:01 W Vest (Johnson)
11:35 W Vest (Moore)
7:47 CE Stewart (free position)
6:51 W Moore (free position)
2:40 CE Landes (Deschino)
CE- Deschino, Herrera, Landes, Stewart 1
W- Vest 3, Moore 2, Rowe 1
CE- Deschino 2
W- Canning 3, Johnson, Moore 1
Draws (Waynflete, 8-4)
CE- K. Rudberg 4 of 10, Deschino 0 of 1, M. Rudberg 0 of 1
W- Gray-Bauer 8 of 12
Ground balls (Waynflete, 42-34)
CE- Deschino 9, Landes 5, M. Rudberg 4, H. Bosworth, Lennon, K. Rudberg 3, K. Bosworth, Fiutak, Lavallee 2, Stewart 1
W- Canning 8, Gray-Bauer, Moore 6, Pope 5, Peirce, Rowe 4, Johnson, Vest 3, Burdick 2, Giguere 1
Shots on cage:
CE (Bosworth) 5
W (Majercik) 5