PORTLAND— Thursday afternoon, for the first time all season, the Waynflete girls’ lacrosse team found itself in a competitive game in the second half.
But when all was said and done, the Flyers had all the answers.
Thanks to a breakout game from first-year goalie, junior Sasha Timpson, and yet another display of balanced and unstoppable offense, Waynflete pulled away to improve to 6-0 on the year with a 10-4 victory.
“Kennebunk is really strong,” said Timpson (15 saves). “Having a close game really helped us. We hadn’t been under consistent pressure the entire time. It’s good for us to know we can maintain our focus under that pressure.”
Taking care of business
Waynflete, the defending Class B champion, and Kennebunk, Class A runners-up last year, have a long history of compelling games. Cathie Connors, dynasty builder for the Flyers, and Rams coach Annie Barker, have matched wits for years and Thursday’s game featured the best of both teams.
The Rams were entering the contest on a high note, coming off an 8-7 win at Yarmouth Tuesday, which left them 4-1 on the year.
Waynflete, meanwhile, had crushed its first five foes by a composite 75-22 margin. Tuesday, the host Flyers drubbed Western A contender Scarborough by an 18-6 score.
Waynflete entered the game having beaten Kennebunk seven straight times. Last year, the Flyers beat their rival 16-5 on the road.
This time, the Rams made Waynflete feel like it was in a struggle.
Kennebunk had a chance to put the Flyers behind on the scoreboard for the first time all season, but Timpson hinted at her dominant performance to come with a couple nice saves in the early going. With 17:07 to play in the first half, Waynflete broke the ice when senior Ellie Cole scored unassisted. Senior Mariah Monks then made her presence felt with back-to-back goals, the first unassisted, the second assisted by Cole.
With 9:58 left in the half, junior Amy Allen came to life, taking a pass from Cole and scoring. Allen would score twice more before halftime (once from Monks, once from Cole), the second coming with six seconds left, to put the Flyers up 6-0 at the break.
Despite the score, Waynflete knew it was in a battle.
“It was a challenge every minute,” Connors said. “I felt that way.”
“It was really even,” added junior Morgan Woodhouse. “We knew we had to step it up at halftime and that we had to keep going like it was 0-0.”
When senior Anna Libby (from Monks) scored 3 minutes, 47 seconds into the second half, the Flyers were up 7-0 and appeared en route to another rout, but the Rams made things very interesting.
Kennebunk finally solved Timpson with 19;49 to go when senior standout Jamie Spang scored unassisted. Spang (from senior Megan Smith) and sophomore Taylor Crowley (on a rebound) followed with goals and with 11:19 left, the Rams were within four, 7-3.
Kennebunk would have several chances to draw even closer in the next four-plus minutes, but Timpson, a soccer and hockey standout who played tennis in previous springs, stopped them time and again.
“I play tennis and hockey which also takes a lot of hand-eye coordination,” Timpson said. “There’s a lot of net to cover, but it’s really fun. The team has really helped me adapt to it so well. I have the strongest defense I could ask for.”
Woodhouse stemmed the tide with an unassisted goal at the 6:37 mark. Cole (from Monks) and Woodhouse (unassisted) then scored a little over a minute apart to stretch the lead to 10-3. A Spang free position goal with 1:51 to play accounted for the 10-4 final.
“We knew Kennebunk would be a hard game,” Woodhouse said. “It took us a couple minutes to adjust. Kennebunk’s defense is tough. It was a challenge.”
Allen led Waynflete with three goals. Cole and Monks both had two goals and three assists. Woodhouse added two goals, while Libby had one.
“One of the great things about our team is that we know if we spread out, we know everyone’s capable of shooting and of giving assists,” Woodhouse said.
“The whole team came up big,” Connors added. “They knew what they had to do. We worked on defense on keeping Jamie out. She’s a great player.”
The biggest story was Timpson, who stopped 15 shots, most of them high quality.
“We would have been lost without Sasha,” Connors said. “She was definitely a key. Our defense and Sasha kept us in it. That’s her best game so far.”
The Flyers ended with a 9-7 edge in draw controls, had a 39-33 advantage in ground balls (Senior Maddie Berrang and sophomore Scout Haffenreffer had six each, while Libby and Woodhouse both corralled five), and forced 22 turnovers.
Spang had three of Kennebunk’s four goals. Crowley scored the other. Senior Taylor Vaughan made nine saves.
Work in progress
Despite its dominance to date, Waynflete isn’t content. The Flyers (first in the latest Western Class B Heal Points standings and second in the coaches’ poll) go to Deering Monday and visit dangerous Cape Elizabeth Thursday. Heal Points-rich and playoff-position-determining showdowns with North Yarmouth Academy and Yarmouth still await.
“We need to improve our transition a little more and be a little more patient on offense,” Connors said. “We need to keep working.”
Based on what we’ve seen so far, there’s every reason to believe Waynflete will continue to excel.
“Everybody’s 100 percent committed and working hard every day,” said Timpson.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mhoffer