SCARBOROUGH — Jenna Block’s debut as a varsity girls’ lacrosse goalie couldn’t have been much more challenging.
Block made 16 saves Saturday on a cold, wet day at Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex as she backstopped Scarborough to a 9-7 victory over Yarmouth in an opening matchup of perennial powerhouses.
A sophomore defenseman on the Red Storm’s Class A state championship hockey team, Block could only smile and shrug about her initiation. It was just another live-and-learn moment in a month-long lacrosse career.
“Jenna stepped up and played amazingly,” said senior attack Ainsley Jamieson, who led Scarborough with three goals and an assist. “She made point-blank saves and kept us in it. I’m so proud of her.”
A year ago, Scarborough jumped out to a 6-1 lead in its opener against Yarmouth before the Clippers roared back for an 8-7 victory.
“I looked up at the scoreboard and saw we were up 6-1 with two minutes left in the half,” Jamieson said. “It was just like last year, we were up 6-1 and feeling good. I said, ‘Guys, we can’t do this again. Not again.’”
Block heard her teammate, stopping close-range shots from Grace O’Donnell and Shannon Fallon in the final 10 seconds of the first half to preserve a 7-3 lead.
“They’re a good team and we had way too many turnovers in the first half,” Yarmouth Coach Dorothy Holt said. “(Block) came up with some key saves in the second, and they were consistent.”
Bailey Adams contributed two goals and an assist for the Red Storm. Emma Smith and Kaitlin Prince each had a goal and an assist, and Sydney Hersey and Abby Mills also scored.
The difference, though, was Block, who a year ago in math class listened to Coach Marcia Wood worry that she had no goalies returning for 2014. Block went home and watched a few YouTube clips of lacrosse goalies. She returned to math class and volunteered.
“(Playing in goal) is a little nerve-wracking, but everyone’s so supportive,” Block said, adding that goalie coach Lisa Goldberg “is just phenomenal.”
“For a kid in her first year playing lacrosse, and playing for a potential state championship team, I knew she’d feel pressure, but I know she can do it,” said Wood, who led Scarborough to three straight Class A state titles before falling to Kennebunk in the 2013 Western Maine semifinals. “She’s a hockey player. She’s tough.”
Toughness was required in the second half Saturday, as senior attack Molly Maguire scored two of her three goals to help the Clippers slice into their deficit.
Block came up with five key saves before O’Donnell’s second goal made it 9-7 with 35 seconds left.
Lane Simsarian and Shannon Fallon each scored once and Sarah Kirk made five saves for Yarmouth, the reigning Eastern Class B champion.
Each team left the field with plenty to reflect on.
“These guys could have let down and they didn’t,” Holt said. “We have things to work on, but it’s going to be a fun season.”