Waynflete girls put it together, earn interclass win over Cheverus

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Waynflete junior Izzy Burdick prepares to beat Cheverus sophomore goalie Maeve McGarrity for one of her six goals in Saturday’s 15-8 victory.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.


Waynflete 15 Cheverus 8

C- 4 4- 8
W- 12 3- 15

First half
23:44 C McElman (Johnston)
22:54 C McElman (Booth)
21:47 W Olney (unassisted)
20:42 W Olney (Burdick)
20:13 W Baginski (Canning)
18:07 W Burdick (unassisted)
16:47 W Stockford (Burdick)
15:54 W Baginski (free position)
14:07 C Johnston (Booth)
12:48 C Johnston (McElman)
11:49 W Burdick (Stockford)
9:22 W Burdick (free position)
6:34 W Burdick (unassisted)
3:48 W Olney (free position)
:24 W Stockford (Canning)
:05 W Olney (Canning) 

Second half
23:22 C Black (Flaherty)
20:26 W Olney (Canning)
17:23  C Johnston (free position)
15:04 W Burdick (free position)
11:52 C McElman (MacDonald)
10:45 C McElman (free position)
4:46 W Burdick (Pope) 

C- McElman 4, Johnston 3, Black 1
W- Burdick 6, Olney 5, Baginski, Stockford 2 

C- Booth 2, Flaherty, Johnston, MacDonald, McElman 1
W- Canning 4, Burdick 2, Baginski, Olney, Pope 1

Draws (Waynflete, 13-11)
C- Johnston 7 of 19, Booth 4 of 5
W- Pope 12 of 22, Boedeker 1 of 2

Ground balls (Waynflete, 34-29)
C- Johnston 10, Black 6, Booth 5, Griffiths 3, Briggs, McElman 2, Willard 1
W- Pope 10, Canning 6, Boedeker 4, Olney, Wildes 3, Burdick, Stockford, Wagg 2, Baginski, Sandberg 1

C- 18
W- 14

C- 13
W- 25

Shots on cage:
C- 12
W- 21

C (McGarrity) 6 
W (Akers) 4

PORTLAND—After an up-and-down first half of the 2017 season, the young but promising Waynflete girls’ lacrosse team believes it’s about to the corner and be more consistent and successful.

Saturday afternoon at Fore River Fields, the Flyers took the first step toward that goal with a solid performance in a key interclass test against visiting Cheverus.

Waynflete fell behind when Stags senior standout Brooke McElman scored two quick goals, but the Flyers settled down and demonstrated just how explosive their offense can be. 

Two quick goals from sophomore LZ Olney, followed by another from junior Laura Baginski, erased a deficit and produced a lead in a mere 1 minute, 44 seconds.

Waynflete wasn’t done either, as junior Izzy Burdick scored her first goal, Burdick set up junior Ya Stockford for another and Baginski converted a free position to make it 6-2.

After junior Mackenzie Johnston got two goals back for Cheverus, the Flyers scored the final six goals of the first half, sparked by three straight from Burdick and two more from Olney, to take a commanding 12-4 advantage.

From there, senior Ali Pope’s solid play in the draw circle and Waynflete’s defense ensured that the Stags would never make a run and Olney scored one more goal and Burdick added a pair in the second half as the Flyers went on to a 15-8 victory.

Burdick finished with a career-high six goals, Olney added five and Waynflete improved to 4-3, dropping Cheverus to 3-4 in the process.

“The girls responded,” said Flyers coach Cathie Connors. “It’s a nice step. Cheverus is a good team, well coached. We’ve needed to connect and our transition was much better today. We made some changes to see what works well with a young team.”

Up and down

Both teams entered Saturday’s contest with an identical record.

Cheverus started with a narrow 11-10 home loss to Windham, then fell at home to Messalonskee in a playoff rematch, 17-6, before getting in the win column at Bonny Eagle (13-11), at home versus Deering (16-3) and at Portland (7-6). Thursday, the Stags were no match for visiting, defending Class A South champion Massabesic in a 17-2 setback.

Waynflete opened with a 16-2 win at NYA, then held off host Freeport, 11-7. After a 12-4 setback at Yarmouth, the Flyers prevailed, 13-5 at Scarborough. After an 8-6 home loss to Greely, Waynflete’s first to the Rangers since 2004, it fell, 10-4, at York Wednesday.

Cheverus won the first two meetings in the series, in the regular season and playoffs in 2007, but since then, the Flyers captured eight of nine (see sidebar, below), including last spring’s 18-4 decision at the Stags.

Saturday, Waynflete overcame a sluggish start to prevail again.

Cheverus had the game’s first shot and the first goal, as McElman took a pass from Johnston and beat Flyers freshman goalie Avis Akers just 76 seconds into the contest.

When McElman scored again the next time down the field, on a feed from sophomore Bella Booth, it appeared as if the Stags were going to have their way, but Connors replaced sophomore Emi Boedeker in the draw circle with Pope and Pope won six of the next seven opportunities to help spark the Flyers’ comeback.

Waynflete got on the board with 21:47 to play in the half, when Olney scored unassisted.

Olney then tied the score 65 seconds later, taking a pass from Burdick before beating Cheverus sophomore goalie Maeve McGarrity.

With 20:13 left before halftime, senior Isabel Canning’s first assist found the stick of Baginski, who finished to put the Flyers on top to stay.

The onslaught continued as Burdick scored unassisted with 18:07 to go and with 16:47 remaining, in transition, Burdick set up Stockford for a 5-2 lead, forcing Stags’ first-year coach Bill Fenton to call timeout.

It didn’t help, at least initially, as Baginski buried a free position shot with 15:54 to go. 

Cheverus then went back on the attack and Johnston snapped Waynflete’s 6-0 run when she finished a pass from Booth with 14:07 to go.

With 12:48 showing, McElman dropped a perfect pass on to the stick of Johnston and Johnston finished to pull the Stags within 6-4.

But the rest of the half would belong to the hosts.

First, just 59 seconds later, in transition, Stockford passed to Burdick for a goal.

With 9:22 left, Burdick scored on a free position.

Then, with 6:34 remaining, Burdick scored again, unassisted, and the lead was back up to five, 9-4.

“Once we started connecting, we worked to make each other look good,” Burdick said. “The past two games, I’ve started at low attack. That’s what I played freshman and sophomore year. I like that. Our offense is great. We can all score. We work together so well. We have a skilled offense and it’s awesome to see.”

“Izzy’s done great on attack,” Connors said. “Her scoring made a difference.”

After Olney scored on a free position with 3:48 to go before halftime, the Flyers dominated the final minute to fully pull away.

With 24 seconds showing, Canning fed Stockford for a goal.

Then, after a Pope draw win, Canning again got the ball and set up Olney for a goal with just 5 seconds to play and Waynflete had a 12-4 advantage at the break.

In the first half, the Flyers won 9 of 16 draws and had a 15-5 shots advantage.

Cheverus didn’t roll over in the second half and played hard for 25 minutes, but could never make a run.

The visitors did open the second half scoring, when freshman Aisling Flaherty fed sophomore Annesley Black for a goal with 23:22 left, but with 20:26 on the clock, Olney (from Canning) answered.

With 17:23 to play, Johnston scored on a free position, but with 15:04 to go, Burdick scored on a free position of her own for a 14-6 lead.

With 11:52 remaining, McElman took a pass from sophomore Terryn MacDonald in transition and finished and 53 seconds later, McElman scored again, on a free position, to cut the deficit to 14-8, but after Connors called timeout, Waynflete settled down and didn’t allow another goal.

Burdick’s sixth and final score, set up by Pope, with 4:46 on the clock, brought the curtain down on the Flyers’ 15-8 triumph.

“They got those first two goals and then we focused and got into our flow,” Pope said. “This is a great confidence boost. We’ve had some competitive games and we stayed positive. It’s nice to get a win.”

“We seem to have a tradition now where we start from behind, but I’m proud of the girls,” Connors said. “They worked together and trusted each other more than we have. We got to ground balls more and won more draws than we’ve been winning. If we can do that, it make everyone feel like they’re working hard.”

Burdick had six goals and two goals and Olney was a prolific scorer as well, tickling the twine five times and adding an assist.

“LZ did a great job,” Connors said. “She was all over the place. She was aggressive, in a good way.”

Baginski and Stockford both added two goals. Canning had four assists, while Baginski and Pope finished with one each.

Pope helped Waynflete enjoy a 13-11 edge in the draw circle and she won most of them when the Flyers were seizing control in the first half.

“I haven’t taken many draws since my junior year,” Pope said. “I love it. It’s so fun.”

“Ali has worked hard,” Connors said. “She’s playing full middie now. Those draw wins were huge.”

Akers made four saves.

Waynflete had a 34-29 edge in ground balls (Pope led the way with 10 while Canning collected six), had a 25-13 shots advantage (21-12 on cage) and only turned the ball over 14 times.

Cheverus was led by McElman, who had four goals and an assist.

“(Brooke’s) a very strong athlete,” Connors said. “I just needed to get our defense in line. I didn’t want to have to face-guard her.”

Johnston scored three times and had an assist. Black also scored.

Booth had two assists, while Flaherty and MacDonald had one apiece.

Johnston grabbed 10 ground balls, Black collected six and Booth finished with five.  

McGarrity stopped six shots.

The Stags turned the ball over 18 times.

“(Waynflete’s) a well-coached team,” Fenton said. “(Cathie) does a fantastic job with those girls. We hadn’t seen the draw-and-dump as well as they do it. They were great at it and that was our big downfall.”

Hoping for a strong finish

Cheverus has another tough test Tuesday when Marshwood pays a visit. Games at Thornton Academy and Scarborough are followed by the Stags’ home finale versus Gorham before they close at Maine Girls’ Academy.

“Next week will be big too,” Fenton said. “We have some stuff to work on obviously. We’ll get better. We want to finish strong and get in the playoffs. Whatever it takes.”

Waynflete has no respites the rest of the way and needs some wins to guarantee a playoff berth. After playing at dangerous St. Dom’s Wednesday, the Flyers host Lake Region, Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth before closing at Kennebunk.

“I have confidence in everyone,” said Pope. “Our freshmen have risen to the occasion. I hope we can stay strong. I’m super-excited for the rest of the season. Especially the playoffs.”

“We really need to focus on starting from the beginning and putting everything in from that first whistle,” Burdick said. “Sometimes we get down, then pick it up. We know we can pick it up if we have to, but if we can get ahead, that will put us ahead of other teams.”

“We’ve never played St. Dom’s and we’re looking forward to that,” Connors added. “I have no idea what to expect. We have an opportunity to turn things around. Hopefully today was the start.”

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

Waynflete junior Laura Baginski splits Cheverus defenders sophomore Bella Booth and senior Alayna Briggs and beats Stags sophomore goalie Maeve McGarrity. 

Waynflete junior Ya Stockford knocks the ball away from Cheverus sophomore Annesley Black.

Waynflete freshman Emily Wagg tries to knock the ball away from Cheverus senior Alayna Briggs.

Cheverus junior Mackenzie Johnston prepares to beat Waynflete freshman Avis Akers for a goal.

Cheverus senior Brooke McElman shoots as Waynflete sophomore Emi Boedeker (10) and senior Isabel Canning defend.

Cheverus junior Kathryn Griffiths runs up the field as Waynflete freshman Clara Sandberg defends and senior Ali Pope gives chase.

Previous Waynflete-Cheverus results

Waynflete 18 @ Cheverus 4 

@ Waynflete 9 Cheverus 6 

@ Cheverus 10 Waynflete 9 

Waynflete 11 @ Cheverus 5

@ Waynflete 16 Cheverus 5

Waynflete 10 @ Cheverus 6

@ Waynflete 14 Cheverus 4

Waynflete 15 @ Cheverus 2

@ Waynflete 15 Cheverus 1

@ Cheverus 9 Waynflete 8
Western B semifinals
@ Cheverus 12 Waynflete 6

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