Waynflete girls eliminated by Kennebunk

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Kennebunk senior Jenny Bush and Waynflete freshman Emi Boedeker take the opening draw of Saturday morning’s Class B South semifinals. Bush scored six goals to lead the Rams to a 10-2 victory.

BOX SCORE

Kennebunk 10 Waynflete 2

W- 2 0- 2
K- 5 5- 10

First half
23:22 K Bush (Sandford)
22:55 K Bush (Sandford)
17:49 W Moore (Canning)
10:11 K Oakman (Sandler)
2:58 W Giguere (Veroneau)
14.0 K Sandler (free position)
0.0 K Bush (Sandford) 

Second half
19:43 K Sandford (Sandler)
18:29 K Bush (Sandler)
17:28 K Bush (Sandler)
13:59 K K. Schwartzman (Sandler)
8:11 K Bush (free position) 

Goals:
W- Giguere, Moore 1
K- Bush 6, Oakman, Sandford, Sandler, K. Schwartzman 1

Assists:
W- Canning, Veroneau 1
K- Sandler 5, Sandford 3

Draws (Kennebunk, 7-6)
W- Boedeker 6 of 13
K- Bush 6 of 10, Sandford 1 of 3

Ground balls (Kennebunk, 33-24)
W-Moore 4, Dubois, Giguere, Smith 3, Canning, Majercik, Pope 2, Burdick, Olney, Rowe, Stockford, Veroneau 1
K- Fogg, Oakman, Sandford, H. Schwartzman 5, Bush, Kudas, K. Schwartzman, Small 3, Sandler 1

Turnovers:
W-23
K- 18

Shots:
W- 8
K- 18

Shots on cage:
W-5
K- 15

Saves:
W (Majercik) 5 
K (Kudas) 3

KENNEBUNK—For 24 minutes, 46 seconds of Saturday morning’s Class B South girls’ lacrosse semifinal, the Waynflete Flyers did everything they had to do to make life difficult for the undefeated, powerhouse Kennebunk Rams.

And then, in 14 fateful seconds, all that good was torn asunder, as Kennebunk scored twice for some breathing room and the title-starved Rams went on to yet another impressive victory.

A little over a month after Kennebunk came to Waynflete and forced a mercy rule running clock en route to a decisive victory, the Flyers, to no one’s surprise, played much tougher and gave the Rams all they could handle.

At least for awhile.

Early on, it appeared that top-ranked Kennebunk was destined for another easy win, as senior standout Jenny Bush scored twice, but No. 5 Waynflete answered on a goal from senior Nina Moore and after Rams junior defensive standout Marran Oakman got in on the offensive fun with a goal with just over 10 minutes to play in the first half, the Flyers answered again, as sophomore Lydia Giguere scored after a terrific individual effort with under three minutes to left to cut the deficit to 3-2.

As time wound down, it appeared Waynflete would get to the half only down a goal, but with 14 seconds remaining, senior Carly Sandler scored on a free position and after Bush won the ensuing draw, Kennebunk got the ball into the offensive zone and as time expired, Bush took a pass from senior Liv Sandford and finished for a backbreaking tally to make it 5-2 at halftime.

The Rams then dominated the second half, getting goals from Sandford and two more from Bush to blow it open.

Senior Kyra Schwartzman added a goal and Bush scored one final time to help Kennebunk go on to a 10-2 victory.

The Rams got six goals from Bush, five assists from Sandler, three from Sandford and improved to 13-0, advanced to host No. 2 Falmouth (12-1) in the regional final Wednesday at 4 p.m. and ended Waynflete’s season at 9-5 in the process.

“We knew they’d be a different team this time, but we knew that we’re also a different team,” Bush said. “We knew they’d come out hard and we’d have to step up and play the game we always play.”

“Kennebunk is a great team and Jenny is amazing,” said Flyers coach Cathie Connors. “Hats off to them.”

Seems like old times

For awhile, there was no rivalry quite like Waynflete-Kennebunk, as the teams met in the playoffs four times in five years, producing some memorable games.

The first encounter came in the 2002 regional semifinals, where the Rams earned their only postseason win over the Flyers, holding on for a 7-6 triumph. The next meeting, in the 2004 regional final, was unforgettable, as Waynflete shot to a 5-0 lead, Kennebunk rallied to force overtime and when six minutes of OT didn’t resolve anything, the game went to a third, “sudden victory” overtime, where the Flyers prevailed, 8-7, and went on to win the state title. In 2005, the teams played in Portland for the first time and Waynflete won in the regional final, 11-6, en route to another championship. The next year, again in Portland, the Flyers prevailed, 14-8, in the Western B Final.

Until Saturday, the teams hadn’t met since in the playoffs although they have played consistently in the regular season (the Rams spent several years in Class A in the interim).

Kennebunk, which dropped an overtime heartbreaker to Yarmouth in last year’s Class B state final, has lived up to billing as the favorite this spring, winning all 12 regular season games, only getting seriously tested once, a double-overtime win at Falmouth.

The Rams earned the top seed for the playoffs and got a bye into the semifinals.

Waynflete stumbled four times in the regular season and wound up ranked fifth in Class B South, but Wednesday, in the quarterfinals, the Flyers went to No. 4 Lake Region and eked out a 7-6 victory to stay perfect all-time in that round and advance.

On May 4, Kennebunk came to Portland and rode a smothering defensive effort and six goals from Bush to a 13-3 victory.

Saturday’s contest was closer, at least for a half, but the Rams punched their ticket to the regional final.

Bush won the opening draw and Kennebunk set up on offense, but initially, the Rams couldn’t solve Waynflete’s zone defense. 

Then, with 23:22 to play in the first half, Sandford fired a pinpoint pass to Bush, who beat Flyers senior goalie Charlotte Majercik to make it 1-0.

Bush won the ensuing draw and 27 seconds later, the tandem connected again, as Bush scored for a 2-0 lead.

It took several minutes for Waynflete to get a settled offensive possession, but once it did, it got on the board as with 17:40 remaining in the half, as junior Isabel Canning set up Moore for a shot which got past Kennebunk senior goalie Bella Kudas to cut the deficit in half.

The Flyers couldn’t pull even, however, and with 10:11 to go in the half, after Schwartzman was robbed by Majercik, Sandler found Oakman, who has dazzled on the defensive end this spring and showed she’s quite adept offensively as well, for a 3-1 lead.

Waynflete again made it a one-goal game with 2:58 to go before halftime, on one of its prettiest goals of the year, as senior Anne Veroneau, from behind the goal, threw a high pass to Giguere and Giguere used every inch of her tall frame to snare the pass, then fired the ball past Kudas to cut the deficit to 3-2.

At that point, the Flyers had the Rams somewhat on the ropes and had it remained a one-goal game at the break, Kennebunk might have gotten a little nervous, but instead, the Rams closed the half like the champions they hope to become.

After Sandford hit the post, Kennebunk kept possession and with 14 seconds to go, Sandler earned a free position. She then sent a high shot past Majercik for a 4-2 lead.

The Rams weren’t finished, as Bush won the draw and as time wound down, Sandford got the ball on the wing and lobbed a pass toward the goal. Giguere jumped and the ball missed her stick by centimeters and landed in Bush’s stick. Just before the horn, Bush fired the ball into the net and with a 5-2 advantage, Kennebunk had a huge energy boost.

“That was really important because it game us momentum going into the second half,” Bush said. “I knew we had to go and at least get a shot off. Liv kind of lobbed it and luckily it just missed a girl’s stick and I just shot it. It felt awesome.”

“That was huge, then we took the life out of them,” Barker said.

Waynflete had done so many good things in the first half, but couldn’t help but be deflated during the break.

“Those 14 seconds were tough and that was unfortunate,” Connor said. “They’re just that good. We tried to play our defense and the girls did a good job, but Jenny got open.”

Waynflete actually had the first good look of the second half, but sophomore Ya Stockford shot just wide 58 seconds in.

The Rams then scored three goals in 2 minutes, 15 seconds to break it open.

With 19:43 to go, Sandler set up Sandford a goal.

After a Waynflete timeout, with 18:29 remaining, Bush got open in front, Sandler set her up, and Bush finished.

With 17:28 left, the tandem combined again, as Sandler fed Bush for a goal and an 8-2 advantage.

“Carly was amazing today,” Sandler said. “She’s really stepped up as a feeder.”  

Connors called her second timeout of the half, but it didn’t stem the tide.

With 16:38 to play, Veroneau had a shot saved by Kudas and with 13:59 to go, Sandler set up Schwartzman, who made a nice catch of a low pass before finishing to make it 9-2.

Waynflete’s last scoring chance came with 11:24 to go, but Kudas denied sophomore LZ Olney’s free position.

With 8:11 remaining, Bush scored her final goal on a free position and the Rams ran out the clock from there and went on to a 10-2 victory.

“We knew we had to step up and pull away and keep building,” Bush said. “We did that really well.  We knew the elbows would be open. We used that to our advantage.”

“It feels good,” Barker said. “(Cathie) always puts together a great squad and always puts together a great game plan. We talked at the half that the elbow was wide open and the girls finally saw that and we took advantage of it. They gave us the clear, but they kept numbers back, so we did a slow break. Our defense is playing really, really well. Everybody is transitioning the ball now, we can go from side to side. We’re playing like a team.”

Bush, arguably the state’s premier girls’ player, led the way for the Rams with six goals. Oakman, Sandford, Sandler and Schwartzman also scored. Sandler had five assists and Sandford finished with three.

Kudas made three saves.

Kennebunk had a 7-6 edge in draws, a 33-24 advantage in ground balls (Oakman, Sandford, junior Gabby Fogg and sophomore Hallie Schwartzman all collected five), outshot the Flyers, 18-8 (15-5 on cage) and overcame 18 turnovers.

Waynflete got goals from Giguere and Moore and assists from Canning and Veroneau. Majercik made five saves. Moore had a team-high four ground balls. The Flyers turned the ball over 23 times.

“We had a hard time getting into their defense,” Connors said. “It’s super-strong. They played a very good game.”

Game of the Year

Kennebunk and Falmouth have, as expected, advanced to set up a regional final showdown for the second year in a row (last spring, the visiting Rams avenged a regular season loss with a 9-7 victory at Falmouth, improving to 3-0 all-time in the postseason series between the schools). Kennebunk won the first meeting on Kyra Schwartzman’s goal, but the Rams know beat the Yachtsmen again will be a challenge.

“We have to keep our momentum going,” Bush said. “We can’t get frazzled. A lot of it is mental for us. We just have to come out strong. This is our last chance and we’re leaving it all on the field. We have nothing to lose. We want to win it this year.”

“We have to keep on doing what we’ve been doing,” Barker said. “The girls are hungry. They’re ready and focused.”

A year to remember

The 2016 season was unlike any in the storied annals of Waynflete girls’ lacrosse.

The Flyers expected to come into the season with some question marks to answer, but that there was no way to prepare for the loss of junior Beata Vest, who took her life in March. 

Waynflete had its ups and downs on the field, but the team improved dramatically and under the leadership of Connors and her assistant, Carrie Earls, and will long be hailed for its effort.

“I’m so proud of how far the girls came this year,” said Connors. “They played as hard as they could until the end. They never got frustrated and worked together all the way through.”

The Flyers graduate three-year goalkeeper Majercik, the talented Moore, defensive stalwart Meddy Smith, Veroneau, who returned to the program and made a big impact, and Christian Rowe, who scored some huge goals in her time in uniform.

“We’re losing five incredible seniors who played key positions,” Connors said. “They’re the most amazing leaders.”

Waynflete has gone three straight years without winning a championship for the first time, but the Flyers will soon be back in the title mix.

Perhaps as soon as 2017.

“We have some good kids coming up and I think they’ll be ready,” Connors said. “I’m excited for next year.”

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

Previous Waynflete stories

Season Preview

Waynflete 8 @ Cape Elizabeth 7 (OT)

@ Falmouth 17 Waynflete 6

@ Waynflete 10 Scarborough 5

Kennebunk 13 @ Waynflete 3

@ Yarmouth 4 Waynflete 3

Previous Kennebunk stories

Kennebunk 13 @ Waynflete 3

@ Kennebunk 9 Yarmouth 5

Kennebunk 7 @ Falmouth 6 (2 OT)

Previous Waynflete-Kennebunk playoff results

2006 Western B Final
@ Waynflete 14 Kennebunk 8

2005 West Division Final
@ Waynflete 11 Kennebunk 6

2004 West Division Final
Waynflete 8 @ Kennebunk 7 (3 OT)

2002 regional semifinal
@ Kennebunk 7 Waynflete 6 

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