Waynflete senior Nina Moore finds herself hemmed in by the Kennebunk defense in front of Rams senior goalie Bella Kudas during the Flyers’ 13-3 home loss Wednesday.
Brian Beard photos.
More photos below.
K- 6 7- 13
W- 0 3- 3
23:12 K Bush (Sandler)
21:13 K Sandford (unassisted)
17:44 K Bush (free position)
11:40 K Fogg (Sandler)
8:05 K Sandford (Sandler)
:57 K Bush (Sandler)
23:14 K Bush (Sandford)
21:59 K K. Schwartzman (Sandler)
20:32 K K Schwartzman (Sandler)
13:48 K Bush (Sandford)
12:06 K H. Schwartzman (K. Schwartzman)
11:29 K Koch (Bush)
10:15 W Rowe (Giguere)
9:17 W Burdick (Canning)
6:18 K Bush (unassisted)
2:32 W Burdick (Moore)
K- Bush 6, Sandford, K. Schwartzman 2, Fogg, Koch, H. Schwartzman 1
W- Burdick 2, Rowe 1
K- Sandler 6, Bush, Sandford, K. Schwartzman 1
W-Canning, Giguere, Moore 1
Draws (Kennebunk, 10-8)
K- Bush 9 of 16, Sandford 1 of 2
W- Canning 8 of 18
Ground balls (Waynflete, 40-35)
K- Fogg 7, Bush 6, Sandford 5, H. Schwartzman, K. Schwartzman 3, Kudas, Oakman, Parent 2, Cain, Gorton, Koch, Ross, Small 1
W- Moore 9, Canning 8, Burdick 4, Pope, Rowe, Smith 3, Baginski, Giguere, Stockford, Veroneau 2, Boedeker, Majercik 1
Shots on cage:
K (Kudas) 7
W (Majercik) 9
PORTLAND—If a high-powered offense isn’t enough of a reason to make Kennebunk’s girls’ lacrosse team the Class B favorite this spring, the Rams’ defense is also something to behold.
Wednesday afternoon at Fore River Fields, Waynflete got a chance to see why Kennebunk is so highly touted when the teams engaged in their annual showdown.
Rams senior standout Jenny Bush scored three first half goals and classmate Liv Sandford tacked on a couple more, but it was Kennebunk’s defensive effort that was most impressive, as the Rams kept the Flyers off the scoreboard and allowed only three shots in 25 minutes.
By the time Bush scored her fifth goal with 13:48 to play, Kennebunk had a 10-0 lead, forcing a mercy rule running clock.
Tallies from sophomore Hallie Schwartzman and senior Kristen Koch extended the advantage to 12-0 before Waynflete finally broke through with 10:15 remaining.
The Flyers would score two more goals, but it was far too little, too late and the Rams had themselves a statement-making 13-3 victory.
Bush had six goals, senior Carly Sandler finished with six assists and Kennebunk improved to 3-0 on the year, dropping Waynflete to 2-2 in the process.
“It was frustrating, but I also appreciate a really great defense,” said Flyers coach Cathie Connors. “Hats off to (Kennebunk) for that. I knew they were a great team coming in and I knew we faced a challenge.”
A year ago, Kennebunk came agonizingly close to the program’s elusive first state championship, losing, 11-10, in overtime to a Yarmouth squad the Rams were favored to beat.
This year’s team is bound and determined to finish what the 2015 squad started and so far, has been unstoppable, dominating visiting Fryeburg Academy (17-1) and York (14-2).
Waynflete, meanwhile, eked out an 8-7 overtime victory at Cape Elizabeth in its opener, then suffered a 17-6 loss at Falmouth. Saturday, the Flyers bounced back in their home opener, beating Scarborough, 10-5, in a crossover battle.
The Flyers and Rams have played some memorable games over the years (see sidebar, below), starting with a 7-6 Kennebunk triumph in the 2002 Western B semifinals. Since then, Waynflete has had the upper hand, setting the tone with an 8-7 triple-overtime victory in the 2004 Western B Final. The Flyers also eliminated the Rams in the 2005 and 2006 regional finals and won nine straight overall before Kennebunk sprung a 12-10 upset in Portland in 2011. Waynflete won the next three meetings, capped by yet another triple-overtime triumph, 7-6, in 2014, on Leigh Fernandez’s tally. Last year, the Rams won at the Flyers, 8-4, en route to the regional crown.
Wednesday’s meeting, on a raw and not very Spring-like afternoon, was the fourth straight between the schools in Portland, but Kennebunk took care of business and managed to do something it had never done before, beat Waynflete two years in a row.
The tone was set early, as Bush won the opening draw and after senior Kyra Schwartzman hit the post with the Rams’ first shot, Sandler set up Bush for a 1-0 lead with 23:12 to play in the first half.
Flyers senior goalie Charlotte Majercik did her best to hold off Kennebunk’s onslaught, denying Sandler and Sandford, but with 21:13 to play in the half, Sandford scored unassisted to make it 2-0.
After Majercik made a save on a bid from Kyra Schwartzman, Waynflete got its first shot, but sophomore Laura Baginski sent it high over Rams senior Bella Kudas and the cage.
With 17:44 remaining before halftime, Bush’s free position goal extended the lead to 3-0.
With 11:40 left, junior Gabby Fogg finished a feed from Sandler and made it 4-0, forcing Connors to call timeout.
It didn’t stem the tide, as Sandler set up Sandford with 8:05 remaining.
The hosts had a chance to get on the board with 4:37 left, but senior Nina Moore’s free position was turned aside by Kudas.
Then, with 57 seconds showing, Bush took a pass from Sandler and beat Majercik to make it 6-0 Kennebunk at halftime.
In the first half, Bush won five of seven draws and the Rams had a 13-3 shots advantage.
The most impressive aspect of Kennebunk’s game was its defense, which prevented the Flyers from getting looks and forced them to turn the ball over a frustrating 11 times.
“We decided to change our defense this year,” Bush said. “My Dad (Joe Bush) is our defensive coach. He worked all winter putting together our defense. He talked to college coaches. It’s a zone with someone behind the person with the ball and someone pushes out. It’s really difficult to feed against it. We’ve worked more on defense because we know we have so much skill on attack. Our defense has shown up to play and they’ve been awesome. I love watching them play.”
“Our focus is defense this year,” Barker said. “That’s what we’ve worked on. We’ve put in a ride, because that’s how Yarmouth beat us last year. We’re trying to use everybody so we’re ready for playoff time. Bella’s doing a great job making saves too. The kids on defense are solid.”
The Rams quickly ended any remaining doubt early in the second half.
Just 1 minute, 46 seconds in, Sandford passed to Bush, who finished for a 7-0 lead.
With 21:59 left, Sandler set up Kyra Schwartzman for a goal and 1 minute, 27 seconds later, the tandem hooked up again for a 9-0 advantage.
Waynflete nearly broke through with 19:29 remaining, but Rowe hit the post and after collecting a ground ball, Burdick hit the crossbar.
With 13:48 to play, Sandford set up Bush for a goal to keep the clock running.
A minute later, the Flyers’ offensive frustrations continued, when Kudas robbed senior Anne Veroneau.
With 12:06 to go, Kyra Schwartzman deferred to her younger sister and Hallie Schwartzman finished to stretch the lead to 11, forcing Connors to use her final timeout.
Again, Kennebunk kept the pressure on and 37 seconds later, Bush set up senior Kristen Koch to make it 12-0.
Finally, with 10:15 left, Rowe (assisted by sophomore Lydia Giguere) beat Kudas to get Waynflete on the board.
Fifty-eight seconds later, Burdick scored (from junior Isabel Canning) and after Bush scored one final time, unassisted with 6:18 to play, Burdick scored again (from Moore) with 2:32 left.
The Flyers could draw no closer and the Rams closed the door on their 13-3 victory.
“The past couple years we’ve had a lot of pressure on us, but we try to use it to our advantage and just know that everybody is out to beat us,” Bush said. “We try to come out as strong as we can. Knowing it’s our last chance brings more pressure, but we’re working hard and we’re just trying to get better every single game. Cathie’s a great coach. We knew they could come back. We had to keep our foot on the gas pedal and continue to score.”
“I knew (Cathie) would have a plan for us, she always does,” Barker said. “They’re a good, solid team. They’re going to be very good. It’s nice to beat them.”
Kennebunk’s offense was led by six goals and an assist from the Assumption College-bound Bush. Sandford, who will play at Bates College next year, and Kyra Schwartzman, who is bound for Merrimack College, both scored twice and had one assist. Fogg, Koch and Hallie Schwartzman had one goal apiece.
Sandler, who will play at Lynchburg College in Virginia, had six assists.
“Carly was a great feeder today and that us helped us a lot,” Bush said. “It’s really difficult to feed against their defense. We’re lucky to have her. We have a lot of strong attackers who have played together forever. That’s a big advantage for us.”
Kudas, who plans to play at Drew College in Madison, New Jersey next year, made seven saves.
The Rams won 10 of 18 draws, got a team-high seven ground balls from Fogg, forced 23 turnovers while only committing 15 and enjoyed a 29-12 shots advantage (22-10 on cage).
Waynflete’s offense featured two goals from Burdick and one from Rowe. Canning, Giguere and Moore all had assists. Majercik made nine saves. The Flyers won the ground ball battle, 40-35, as Moore had a game-high nine and Canning finished with eight.
“We never gave up,” Connors said. “I told them in timeouts to take risks and try things against this amazing defense that we can’t try anywhere else. It showed them a lot today.”
Kennebunk looks to stay unbeaten when Greely pays a visit Friday. The Rams welcome Cape Elizabeth and defending Eastern A champion Messalonskee next week and also have games remaining at defending Class A champion Marshwood and powerhouse Falmouth and a state game rematch at home versus Yarmouth.
Kennebunk still has room to improve and if it does, the program’s elusive first state title is a veritable certainty.
“We have some big games to come,” Bush said. “We’re taking it game by game because anything can happen. We have to get better every single game. I’m really excited.”
“We’ll keep on perfecting everything we’ve put in and keep adding pieces,” Barker said. “We’re trying to get the new kids involved on offense too. We don’t have anyone that teams can shut down. We still don’t have the tallest sticks on defense, so we’re trying to get that to happen. We want to cause clean turnovers.
“We don’t talk about the pressure. Now we’re going to go prepare for Greely. We have a lot of games ahead of us. Everyone wants to beat us. We can’t be complacent. That’s our focus.”
Waynflete looks to bounce back Saturday at Freeport. The Flyers host Fryeburg Academy and go to Cheverus for a crossover game next week. Games at NYA, Yarmouth and Lake Region and home tilts versus Wells and York also loom.
Waynflete will move forward from this loss.
Write the Flyers off at your peril.
“I learned a lot today,” Connors said. “Things we can use in other games.”
Kennebunk senior Liv Sandford looks for a shot as Waynflete’s defense closes in in front of senior goalie Charlotte Majercik.
Waynflete sophomore Izzy Burdick carries the ball. Burdick scored two of the Flyers’ three goals.
Waynflete senior Christian Rowe races up the field.
Waynflete junior Isabel Canning looks to pass.
Waynflete senior Nina Moore tries to elude a defender.
Waynflete senior Anne Veroneau gets a step on a defender.
Waynflete sophomore Lydia Giguere lines up a shot as Kennebunk defenders junior Marran Oakman (7) and sophomore Hallie Schwartzman look on.
Waynflete 11 @ Kennebunk 6
Waynflete 16 @ Kennebunk 5
@ Waynflete 5 Kennebunk 4
Waynflete 13 @ Kennebunk 5
Western B Final
@ Waynflete 14 Kennebunk 8
Waynflete 14 @ Kennebunk 3
Western Maine Final
@ Waynflete 11 Kennebunk 6
Western Maine Final
Waynflete 8 Kennebunk 7 (3 OT)