After Slow Start, Hawks Can’t Catch Mustangs

By Mike Zhe mzhe@seacoastonline.com

for photos go to: http://www.seacoastonline.com/sports/20170614/after-slow-start-hawks-cant-catch-mustangs

in photos:

Marshwood High School midfielder Luci Albers tries to carry the ball past defenders up the sideline during Wednesday’s Class A South championship game in Waterboro, Maine. [Mike Zhe/Seacoastonline.com]

Marshwood High School goalie Skyler Amsden (5) leads her teammates off the field following their loss to Massabesic in the Class A South championship game Wednesday in Waterboro, Maine. [Mike Zhe/Seacoastonline.com]

Marshwood High School midfielder Reagan Nichols, left, unleashes a shot as Massabesic’s Maddie Drain (20) defends during the Class A South championship game Wednesday in Waterboro, Maine. [Mike Zhe/Seacoastonline.com]

Marshwood High School attack Marin Smith, breaks, breaks away from Massabesic defenders and races upfield during Wednesday’s regional final in Waterboro, Maine. [Mike Zhe/Seacoastonline.com]

Marshwood High School midfielder Luci Albers tries to carry the ball past defenders up the sideline during Wednesday’s Class A South championship game in Waterboro, Maine. [Mike Zhe/Seacoastonline.com]

Marshwood High School goalie Skyler Amsden (5) leads her teammates off the field following their loss to Massabesic in the Class A South championship game Wednesday in Waterboro, Maine. [Mike Zhe/Seacoastonline.com]

WATERBORO, Maine — Forty-two minutes.

That’s how long it took the Marshwood High School girls lacrosse team to solve top-seeded Massabesic — and its own mistakes — and score a goal in the Class A South championship game Wednesday.

By that time, it was far too late to make a difference.

The second-seeded Hawks (11-4) saw their season end with a 6-2 loss, the second straight year they’ve been dismissed by the Mustangs in the regional final.

“I think the nerves got into some of the younger kids,” said Marshwood coach Bernie Marvin, “and also the older kids, thinking it might be their last game. Pretty much everyone except Skyler.”

If there was a bright spot Wednesday, it was the play of junior goalie Skyler Amsden, who was credited with 10 saves. Five of those came on free-position chances, a series of stops that kept the game from getting out of hand.

“Amazing,” said senior midfielder Reagan Nichols. “She kept it from getting away. She kept us in it.”

“She’s a fantastic goalie,” said Massabesic coach Brooks Bowen. “She covers a pretty big goal area and she’s not very big. I don’t know how many saves she had, but there were a lot.”

At the other end, Lydia Wasina only had to make two saves for the Mustangs (15-0), who will play North champion Messalonskee on Saturday for the state title at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland (3:30 p.m.).

Marshwood did not score until freshman Olivia Melton received the ball in front and shot successfully while getting nudged to the ground to make it 6-1 with 7:11 left in the game. Marin Smith added a free-position goal in the final minute but that was it.

“It is a timed game,” said Marvin, “and time ran out.”

The end wasn’t the problem for the Hawks. The problem was the beginning.

The opening 15 minutes were a repeating loop of forced passes and missed catches, resulting in transition rushes the Mustangs took to the other end of the field.

Morgan Pike opened the scoring with a free-position goal just 1:41 in and Maddie Drain scored the first of her three goals five minutes later. The Hawks won their share of draw controls but were unable to produce anything but turnovers, along with the occasional off-target shot.

“It’s a game of momentum, and when it’s on your side, you feel pretty good,” said Bowen.

Goals by Josie Ring and Drain had the Hawks facing a 4-0 hole when they began to put together some better offensive possessions in the final 10 minutes of the half.

But neither Smith nor Nichols could convert free-position chances, and another long series ended when Drain jumped the passing route like a football cornerback and sped away with the ball upfield.

“We were trying to get our cutters going,” said Marvin. “You’re going to have turnovers and I can appreciate that, but they were very untimely turnovers.”

It was 5-0 at the break and the reason the score wasn’t worse was Amsden, a junior, who foiled three free-position chances. To start the second half, she denied another good bid by Skylar Renaud.

“Outstanding,” said Marvin. “She had a fantastic game.”

The loss marks the end of the careers for Marshwood seniors like Nichols, Paige Singer, Luci Albers, who had featured roles on the state championship team of 2015. Nichols and Albers will play next year at AIC and Southern New Hampshire, respectively.

But this journey stopped two steps short of 2015′s endpoint and bookended a season sweep at the hands of the Mustangs, who won 9-3 back in April.

“Really hard start,” said Nichols. “We were nervous and we wanted to see what they were like, because we hadn’t seen them since the beginning of the season.

“We just had to stop turning it over, get our heads straight and play.”

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