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PORTLAND—If one game is any indication, the two-time defending Class B state champion Waynflete girls’ lacrosse team will be very, very difficult to dethrone.
Wednesday afternoon at a rainy Fore River Field, the Flyers showed their offensive balance, racing to an 11-0 lead, and their defensive strength, holding the Rangers without a shot on goal until late in the first half, en route to a 14-3 triumph, their 22nd in a row.
Waynflete had seven different players score and got three goals each from senior Amy Allen and junior Scout Haffenreffer.
“It was really something,” said Haffenreffer. “It’s the first game. We’re all really happy. It’s going to be a good season.”
Last year, Waynflete went 15-0 and won its second straight Class B title, its eighth championship in the Maine Principals’ Association-sanctioned era (which began in 1998) and its 10th under coach Cathie Connors, now in her 18th season. The Flyers graduated several standouts, are breaking in a group of newcomers and appear mortal, but figure to only get better as the season progresses.
Greely has been a playoff regular and is coming off a 4-9 campaign, which ended with a loss to Falmouth in the quarterfinals. The Rangers face a brutal schedule in 2010, but hope to contend.
Waynflete and Greely have been longtime rivals, but for the past five years, the rivalry has been completely one-sided. The teams have met eight times in the playoffs since 1997, with the Flyers capturing seven of those matchups. Waynflete entered Wednesday’s contest having beaten the Rangers 10 straight times (Greely’s last win came May 18, 2004).
Make it 11.
The Flyers broke the ice just 1 minute, 54 seconds in when Allen scored unassisted. Off the ensuing draw, senior Morgan Woodhouse fed freshman Martha Veroneau for a goal and a 2-0 lead. With 19:25 left in the first half, Haffenreffer scored unassisted, forcing longtime Rangers coach Peter Wiles to call timeout.
It didn’t help.
The flurry continued as Woodhouse scored unassisted, Haffenreffer did the same, freshman Sadie Cole scored on a free position, Cole fed Allen for a goal, Woodhouse scored unassisted, Veroneau scored an unassisted goal and Allen added another for a 10-0 lead with 8:46 left in the half, capping a seven-goal surge in just under nine minutes.
Greely finally got its first shot on goal (from senior Melanie Howland, which went wide) with 2:34 to go in the half. Thirty-three seconds later, Cole fed junior Liv Chap for a goal and an 11-0 lead. With two seconds to go before halftime, the Rangers got on the board when Howland fed senior Rachel Hawkins for a goal.
Waynflete won 10 of 13 first half draws and forced 19 turnovers.
Connors substituted liberally in the second half, but the Flyers kept the pressure on early, getting goals from Haffenreffer (unassisted) and Cole (from Haffenreffer) for a 13-1 advantage. Greely answered with a pair of goals from Howland, but with 9:12 to go, an unassisted goal from sophomore Lucy Crane accounted for the 14-3 final score.
Allen and Haffenreffer (one assist) each had three goals for Waynflete. Cole (three assists), Veroneau and Woodhouse (one assist) had two goals apiece. Chap and Crane added one each. Freshman goalie Katherine Torrey didn’t have to make a save in her debut. The Flyers wound up winning 15 of 19 draws and forced 30 turnovers. Waynflete grabbed 52 ground balls as Cole and Veroneau had seven each and Haffenreffer garnered six.
“Not a bad way to start the season,” said Connors. “The defense is coming along. It was nice for Katherine to get her feet wet this way. We had a lot of balance on offense. Our freshmen did really well. They jumped in and we were able to see what they can do.”
Haffenreffer praised her new teammates for their contribution.
“They are freshmen, but they’re great,” she said. “I think we clicked well. It wasn’t much of a transition. They all bring good skills to the team. It wasn’t hard to teach them what they need to know.”
Greely got two goals and an assist from Howland and one goal from Hawkins. Senior goalie Hannah Dexter made seven saves. Junior Kelly Burrell had a game high eight ground balls, while Howland added seven.
“The second half was better,” Wiles said. “We learned quite a lot from Waynflete. It’s nice to see some good lacrosse demonstrated for us so we can emulate it. That’s how we approached it in the second half. They cleared the ball beautifully and stopped our clearing. They have some very good players who just drive through our defense. We can’t guard man-on-man yet. We don’t have the skills yet. Waynflete can drive through our defense at will and score. As usual, their skills are very good. We have some good leaders. Morale is good on the team. We have a good spirit. We’ll improve.”
The Rangers’ road doesn’t get any easier Friday when they host Yarmouth, which is coming off a big home win over rival NYA. Greely welcomes York Tuesday.
The Flyers go to NYA Friday for a state final rematch. Waynflete figures to get a much sterner test, but is up for the challenge.
“We’re all really pumped for NYA,” Haffenreffer said. “They’re a good team. They’ve always been our team to beat. We’re excited and we’ll see how it goes.”
“We’ll be ready,” Connors added.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org