SACO — Biddeford had the perfect game plan for a half in Wednesday’s girls’ lacrosse Western Class A quarterfinal.
But the Tigers didn’t have the staying power to pull off the upset, falling 5-1 to second-seeded Thornton Academy.
Kaitlyn McCrum burst through the defense to put the Trojans ahead for good and Hannah Wuerthner added two goals to rally the hosts.
“We weren’t working up to our ability. Just like the little things, ground balls, passing, defending,” Wuerthner said of an opening 25 minutes that found Thornton Academy (10-3) trailing 1-0.
“They definitely slowed us down, so the second half we had to know that they were going to hold the ball. We had to fight for those passes and interceptions.”
Wuerthner’s goals came on assists from Lauren Wells. Wuerthner said they started to find holes in Biddeford’s defense that weren’t there in the first half, likely as a result of fatigue.
“She was just drawing the defense to her and dumping it down to me,” Wuerthner said. “We knew we could beat them because we’d done it before. We just needed to show them that we were here and we were ready to play now.”
Seventh-seeded Biddeford got a goal 38 seconds into the game from Taylor Turgeon. But Tigers Coach Caitlin Albert said the strategy was to put her best players on defense in an attempt to turn the game into a low-scoring affair. Thornton Academy had sprinted to a 9-1 first-half lead in an 11-2 win during the regular season.
Goalkeeper Emily Boisvert made eight first-half saves and the strategy was working well until the Trojans broke free in the second half.
Still, Albert said it was the best game in program history for the fifth-year varsity squad. Biddeford finished 7-6, its best mark so far.
“We wanted to be more controlled and confident, as opposed to playing frantic. The first half, we controlled it,” Albert said.
“They came out hungry in the second half. We had to respond to that and in the future we’ll get better at that.”
TA Coach Craig Agreste said his team was thinking too much about the first meeting with Biddeford and not approaching the rematch as a playoff game.
“I told the girls, ‘It’s going to be fine. We need to pick up the intensity,’” he said. “All game long we made it difficult for them to transition back and forth. Once we scored that first goal, it was like, ‘OK, we’re all right now.’”