Laker rally falls short as Waynflete advances in girls’ lacrosse playoff

Laker goalie Maddie Nelson made 12 saves, including several point-blank shots by the Flyers. (Rivet Photos)

Laker goalie Maddie Nelson made 12 saves, including several point-blank shots by the Flyers. (Rivet Photos)

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

As the game clock raced down under 30 seconds and Waynflete defenders quickly charging at her, Lauren Jakobs pulled the trigger on a shot that skidded across the grass turf.

With Lake Region down a goal in last week’s Class B South girls’ lacrosse, Jakobs and her teammates saw how sports contests can be decided by inches.

Jakobs’ shot rolled just past the far post as the Flyers escaped Naples with a 7-6 victory.

The fourth-ranked Lakers closed their season at 8-5. The fifth-seeded Flyers (9-4) lost at undefeated, top-seeded Kennebunk (13-0) on Saturday by a 10-2 count.

It was a disappointing loss for the Lakers, who had dumped Waynflete just days earlier, 13-9, to secure a home playoff date.

“It really can be a game of inches. We had our chances, but just missed,” Lake Region Coach David Keenan said. “The last time we played them, we were winning the entire game, so it was hard to convince our girls that they were going to come out on fire, and they did. We came out a little flat, but with the timeout, turned it around.”

Waynflete jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the Lakers finally tallied on a quick pass from behind the net from Lindsey Keenan (three assists) to Jakobs for a score. But, the Flyers answered with a pair of goals, forcing Coach Keenan to call a timeout with 10:13 left in the half.

“They were beating us on hustle. We knew they had more experience than us, but like the first time, if we out hustled them, we could win. They did just that — they out hustled them and out played them, and we got back into the game and the lead.”

Rachel Shanks scored less than two minutes after the timeout and Lauren Williams closed the gap to one. She paid the price on the shot, getting knocked to the turf by two Flyer defenders.

Lauren Jakobs of Lake Region leaps high to gain possession of the ball.

Lauren Jakobs of Lake Region leaps high to gain possession of the ball.

The Lakers evened the game with 7:40 left on a Keenan goal, resulting in a Flyer timeout. Waynflete pulled ahead 5-4 at the 4:09 mark, but the Lakers knotted things up on a free shot by Melissa Bonenfant with just 19.4 seconds left until the break.

The two clubs traded goals to start the second half with Keenan giving the Lakers a brief lead.

Laker sophomore goalie Maddie Nelson (12 saves) made several big stops off Flyer free shots. But with 8:10 remaining in regulation, a Flyer made a nifty cut from the right wing past a Laker defender and zipped a shot over Nelson’s right shoulder in what proved to be the game winner.

“Maddie did a great job keeping us in the game, making several big saves on free shots,” Coach Keenan said.

Waynflete regained possession and with their speed and crisp passing, the Flyers were able to keep the ball in the Laker defensive end and cut nearly five minutes off the game clock.

With 2:40 left, Paige Davis finally came up with a steal.

“When knew they were faster than us so we tried to let them run themselves out a little bit,” Coach Keenan said. “With three minutes and change left, we pressed all the way out. We were able to get the ball back, and gave ourselves a chance to tie the game. We got ourselves in good position, but they came away with the ‘W.’”

LR was able to quickly move the ball down the field, but knowing little time remained, some passes were either a little off the mark or rushed, resulting in Waynflete coming up with the loose ball with 1:56 left. The Lakers, however, scooped up the free ball with 51.1 seconds left, setting up Jakobs for one final chance.

When the ball sailed wide, the Flyers took control of the ball and ran out the clock.

Lindsey Keenan makes a pass in the offensive end.

Lindsey Keenan makes a pass in the offensive end.

“We lose a few seniors, so we’re still a young group. For a second year program (at the varsity level), the girls did a phenomenal job,” Coach Keenan said. “This is a very difficult conference, one of the best in the state. We hit a bump in the middle of the season, but picked it back up and beat Waynflete. We’ve played most teams close.”

For a week, Coach Keenan enjoyed bragging rights over sister, Catherine Connors, the longtime head coach at Waynflete. The veteran Flyer coach’s impressive resume includes 10 state titles, the last one coming in 2013.

“For some reason, we didn’t play last year, so when we won at the end of the regular season, I was undefeated against her for about a week,” he said. “My sister is a great coach. Not many teams do to well the second time against her. We were a shot or two away.”

 

 

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