By Al Pike / email@example.com June 5, 2019
SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — In the end, the Marshwood High School girls lacrosse team succumbed to the inconsistency that plagued it during the regular season.After cutting a three-goal deficit to one early in the second half, the Hawks scored just once the rest of the way as South Portland pulled away for a 16-9 win Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the Class A South playoffs. No. 4 seed Marshwood finished 6-7 while the No. 5 Red Riots (7-6) advanced to the semis, where they will take on No. 1 Kennebunk on Saturday.
The Hawks trailed most of the way and found themselves in an early hole when two yellow cards left them short-handed, and the visitors capitalized. Marshwood’s only lead came at 2-1 and the Red Riots went ahead to stay, 3-2, with 17:04 left in the first half.
“I think we tried to force it a little too much, and it didn’t work out,” said Marshwood coach Bernie Marvin. “South Portland sort of played our game. They did a really nice job distributing the ball. They did a great job on the draws. We were unlucky on some stuff. I was proud of the girls. They made a bunch of runs, but in the end it just wasn’t enough.”
Senior co-captain Celine Lawrence tied South Portland’s Jena Leckie for game-high scoring honors with six goals, including two less than a minute apart that pulled Marshwood within 9-8 with 22:13 remaining.
Both goals were set up by Ruby Albers and gave the Hawks some momentum, although it proved to be fleeting. By the time Lawrence scored her sixth and final goal with 3:56 left the Red Riots struck for six unanswered tallies to extend their lead to 15-8.
The Hawks were outscored 7-1 over the last 22 minutes.
“It just goes to show you can’t overlook anyone,” Lawrence said. “You have to play both halves. This whole season was hard for us to play a full game, and it really showed tonight.”
Ella Manero had two goals and Nicole Villinski also scored for Marshwood, which defeated South Portland early in the season, 15-9. Marshwood goalie Jackie Ruksznia made nine saves.
Molly Walker scored four goals for the Red Riots while teammates Mackenzie Farnham and Zoe Baker each registered a hat trick. Maya Ellington finished with six saves.
“I was proud of the girls,” Marvin said. “They worked hard. We had a plan and they stuck to it, but the unforced turnovers, it’s pretty tough to work around them. Whether we hit their goalie or she made saves the ball didn’t go in the net. We had plenty of shots.”
The Hawks trailed by as many as four in the first half thanks to a five-goal spurt by the visitors that transformed a 2-1 deficit into a 6-2 lead. However, Marshwood bounced back with three straight goals in a span of 1:34, including two in 17 seconds, capped by Lawrence’s nifty spin move in traffic that made it 6-5 with 4:08 left in the first half.
“We knew that we had to earn it,” said South Portland coach Leslie Dyer. “They’re a good team and we knew they’d come out super hard.”
The Hawks trailed by two at halftime (8-6) and it was still a one-goal game when a free position shot by Walker made it 10-8 and triggered a six-goal run that settled the issue.
“I’m looking forward to coming back stronger,” said Marvin, whose club is losing five seniors. “This is a good lesson in getting beat up pretty good, and hopefully the kids use that as some sort of drive going forward.”