SACO – Second-seeded Thornton Academy played its possession game nearly to perfection to roll to an 8-4 victory against No. 7 South Portland in a Western Class A girls’ lacrosse quarterfinal Wednesday afternoon.

“Our coach says the biggest goal is for the offense to possess the ball,” said Erin Kany, a junior attacker, who led the Trojans with three goals.

“Our coach says you have to wait for the opportunities. You have to be patient because eventually their defense will break down.”

Five of the Trojans’ goals came on free position shots awarded when South Portland defenders committed fouls in the offensive zone.

“They have a very quiet offense,” South Portland Coach Bill Fenton said. “They keep the ball. They keep it down in their end and don’t give up on it.”

“If you have the ball, you’re in good shape,” Thornton Academy Coach Craig Agreste said. “We’re hard to defend for long periods of time.

“We will try to wear you down and force you to make mistakes.”

After falling behind early, Thornton Academy, which will host No. 3 Gorham in a regional semifinal at noon Saturday, scored five unanswered goals to move into a 5-2 lead at the end of the first half.

“I think we were a little bit on our heels early,” Agreste said. “When they scored the first two goals, it woke us up.

“We had to earn it. It’s the playoffs and nothing is going to be given to you.”

South Portland closed to within two goals when Rebecca Roberts scored less than six minutes into the second half, but got no closer.

“We had our chances, but I’ve got to give it to Thornton,” Fenton said. “They played their game real well.”

Ellie Arsenault had two goals and an assist for Thornton Academy. Alanna Richard added a goal and an assist. Ashley Kane and Jackie Costello each scored a goal.

Nikki LaPlante had a goal and an assist for South Portland, which finished 7-6. Victoria Brookings and Kate Lagios each scored a goal.

The two SMAA teams did not meet during the regular season.

“It was the first time we saw them, which was kind of exciting because it’s new and we don’t know what they bring to the table,” Kany said.

“We knew they were aggressive, so we knew we had to come equally as aggressive and ready to get ground balls.”

 

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

[email protected]