PORTLAND – As competitive as she is, Martha Veroneau still plays for fun.
“Sports build character and makes you prove what you can do,” Veroneau said. “But in the end we play lacrosse to have fun and be with (our) friends.”
Scoring goals, it should be noted, is a lot of fun.
Winning championships? Even more so.
Veroneau scored 10 goals Thursday, four in the second half, to help Waynflete pull away for a 16-9 win over Cape Elizabeth in the Western Class B lacrosse final at the Fore River Fields.
The Flyers (14-0) will take on Yarmouth (7-7), the Eastern Maine champion, for the state title at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium.
The Clippers advanced Wednesday with a 22-9 victory against Morse.
Sadie Cole had four goals, and Ella Millard and Cat Johnson each added one for the Flyers, who defeated Freeport 16-5 in the state final a year ago. Leigh Fernandez celebrated her birthday with two assists.
Talley Perkins led Cape Elizabeth (10-5) with five goals and an assist, Lauren Steidl had three goals and an assist, and Elizabeth Robinson also scored.
Katherine Torrey was stellar in goal for the Flyers, making 11 saves, including two on free positions. Cape goalie Kate Bosworth (10 saves) was strong as well.
In the 2012 regional final, Waynflete rallied for an 11-10 victory over Cape in triple overtime. The Flyers handled the Capers 10-8 on May 1, but memories of last year’s regional final hung over the field.
Despite Veroneau’s skill, determination and plain old luck (a late 30-yard pass fell in below the bar for a goal), Waynflete couldn’t shake Cape Elizabeth in the first half. Perkins scored her third goal to close Waynflete’s lead to 7-5 with 7:13 left before halftime.
Waynflete Coach Cathie Connors called a timeout. At that point, Cape held a 9-2 lead in draws and had won seven straight.
“The draw was the game,” Millard said. “Early on we just weren’t getting there. During the timeout Cathie said, ‘Guys. Just get the ball.’ “
Connors also sent Helen Gray-Bauer to the center circle.
“Surprisingly there was no pressure,” Gray-Bauer said. “Cathie and the team do a good job of making it clear that all I had to do was try my best.”
Gray-Bauer won the next three draws, the first two resulting in goals by Veroneau that pushed the Flyers’ lead to 9-5.
Cape Elizabeth then scored three goals in a span of 1:20 to enter intermission trailing 9-8.
“I told the girls that draws and ground balls are between us and the state championship game,” Connors said.
“If we don’t get those, we’re not getting there.”
Waynflete opened the second half with goals from Millard (23:23) and Cole (21:55) to push to an 11-8 lead.
“We started getting draws, getting the ground balls and possessing the ball,” Connors said. “They had a 9-2 edge in draws at one point. By the end of the game Cape had 14, we had 13.”
The Flyers also had a 16-7 edge in ground balls.
“They had that little run, then they ran their stall and nobody does it better,” Perkins said. “There was no way to stop them.”
Particularly with Veroneau in the lineup.
“When she wants something, she wants it,” Connors said. “She did not want to play her last game today.”
That will come Saturday. On April 23, the Flyers defeated Yarmouth 17-5.
“The most fun part today was when the buzzer sounded and we were regional champions again,” Veroneau said. “We’re heading back to the state title game, and I wouldn’t want to go with any other group of girls.”