(Ed. Note: For the full Cheverus-Portland and Waynflete-Wells game stories, please visit theforecaster.net)
The Waynflete girls’ lacrosse team once again finds itself two wins away from the Class B pinnacle.
The Flyers, the two-time defending state champions and top seed in the region, pulled away in the second half to beat visiting Wells, 18-7, in Thursday’s Western B semifinal round, setting up a regional final against Falmouth Wednesday afternoon.
Cheverus advanced to the Eastern A semifinals after eliminating Portland, 5-3, last Wednesday. The Stags saw their season end with a 12-8 loss at Mt. Ararat.
Taking care of business
The Waynflete program simply rolls on year after year, winning games and championships. This year’s team is a little more mortal than the past couple seasons and features four freshmen in the starting lineup, but the Flyers managed to win 10 regular season contests to finish with the top seed for the fourth time in five years since the creation of two classes.
In the semifinals, Waynflete met Wells for the first time ever in the playoffs. It took awhile, but the Flyers once again imposed their will.
Waynflete led just 6-4 late in the first half before finally kicking into gear for good, dominating possession and featuring a balanced offense. The Flyers closed the first half on a 4-1 run, then carried play in the second half, pulling away to an 18-7 victory behind five goals from senior standout Morgan Woodhouse, four from senior stalwart Amy Allen and three from fabulous freshmen Sadie Cole and Martha Veroneau.
“We knew Wells would come out and give their all,” said Veroneau. “It was a tough game. They have a lot of really good players.”
“We weren’t connecting at first,” said Waynflete coach Cathie Connors. “We weren’t cutting. We were struggling, then suddenly we had good fastbreaks and got everyone in the rhythm of things. We needed to regroup and play our own game. All in all, I’m glad we started playing our transition game. We needed this under our belt.”
Wednesday at 3:30 p.m., the Flyers will host No. 2 Falmouth (10-3), a team they dispatched, 15-5, on the road, back on May 12. The only previous playoff meeting was last year in the semifinals (a 12-4 Waynflete win).
“We definitely have to step it up against Falmouth,” Veroneau said. “They’ll give us a game.”
“I think the girls will play really hard,” Connors added. “They’re doing everything they can. They’re excited to be in it. We’re a young team. We’re excited to be this far.”
If Waynflete advances to yet another state game, it would play either North Yarmouth Academy (10-3) for the third year in a row, or Yarmouth (10-3), Saturday at 10 a.m., at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.
The Flyers lost both regular season meetings with the Panthers, 7-6, in Yarmouth, April 28 and 8-7 at home, May 25. Waynflete has beaten NYA in five of the past nine state finals, including 9-5 a year ago. The Flyers swept Yarmouth in the regular season, winning, 8-6, at home, May 6 and 12-9 in Yarmouth May 24. Waynflete last met the Clippers in the postseason in the 2006 Class B Final, a 12-5 Yarmouth win.
Looking to 2011
Last week, in the quarterfinals, third-ranked Cheverus hosted No. 6 Portland in a battle of 7-5 squads. The Stags won the regular season meeting, 12-8, May 3 at home. It was the first time the city rivals met in the postseason.
The Bulldogs carried play in the first half, but couldn’t dent Cheverus senior goalie Katie Haley. Seniors Sage Witham and Bri Amato scored to give the Stags a 2-0 halftime lead. The visitors finally broke the ice with 19:27 to play in the second half when promising sophomore Catherine Flaherty fired a shot past Haley on a free position.
Cheverus answered with two goals in three minutes (Fitzpatrick, unassisted and sophomore Sarah LaQuerre, from Amato) to seemingly get some breathing room.
Portland wouldn’t quit, however and pulled within a goal behind strikes from sophomore Raechel Allen and senior standout Nancy McAdam. The Bulldogs couldn’t get the equalizer, however, and the Stags accounted for the 5-3 final score when senior Emily Van Duzer scored with 2:27 to go.
“You need the defense in the playoffs,” said Cheverus coach Jamie Chamberlain. “Our defensive players were sharp. This is the best game Katie’s had in goal (18 saves). It’s nice to see her come forward and bail us out. The kids hung in there and made plays at crunchtime. Portland certainly played its best game. They were very active and we had to match that. It’s good to come out on the winning end.”
Portland wound up 7-6, just the second winning record in program history.
“We gave them all we had,” said Bulldogs coach Eric Wales. “It was a huge effort. Stat-wise, I’d have to say we control the ball and had a lot more shots. The girls have a lot to be proud of. We were there the whole game. A few shots hit the post and their goalie made some big saves. We came together as a team. We try to raise the bar each year. We hope to keep moving forward.”
Cheverus then went to second-ranked Mt. Ararat, a team it didn’t see in the regular season and one it had never faced in the playoffs. The Stags trailed virtually the whole way, were down 6-5 at halftime and couldn’t rally in the second half before falling, 12-8, to end up 8-6. Amato had three goals, Fitzpatrick two and Haley made seven saves.
“They came out and got two quick ones and that put a different tone on the game,” Chamberlain said. “It seemed like mentally we were a step slow. We just couldn’t finish. We had chances. Each team had 24 shots. We were always one behind. The kids played well, it just didn’t click. It wasn’t meant to be. The opportunity was there for us. It just didn’t work out the way we wanted it to. We tried. No complaints. The kids should be proud of what they accomplished this year. According to the power rankings, we played the toughest schedule in our conference.
“We lose six seniors, most of them starters. We have some talent back. Pretty much the whole defense will be back. Attack is mostly what we’re losing and Katie in goal.”
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
A swarm of Mt. Ararat defenders surrounds Cheverus’ Brianna Amato, at the end of Friday evening’s game in Topsham. The Stags fell, 12-8, in what proved to be their season finale.
Cheverus senior Grace Fitzpatrick runs into traffic Friday night in the Eastern A semifinals.