Friday, March 7, 2014
By GREG REID Special to the Press Herald
PORTLAND - A lone sign was taped to the fence beyond the far sideline at Fitzpatrick Stadium. The dark purple poster board fluttering in the breeze bore five letters in gold, "Faith."
A simple enough message. And one Cheverus received loud and clear.
Elyse Caiazzo scored six goals and added three assists as the Cheverus girls' lacrosse team kept faith in its system to earn a 16-6 victory over Cony in the Eastern Class A championship Wednesday afternoon.
After falling to Brunswick in the regional final in each of the past two years, the second-seeded Stags (12-3) advance to the state title game for the first time.
They will play Western champion Massabesic at 3 p.m. Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium. The Mustangs advanced with a thrilling 7-6 win over Kennebunk.
The No. 4 Rams finish 11-4.
"This feels so amazing to finally hold the (championship plaque)," Caiazzo said. "After losing in this game the last two years, third time's definitely a charm. We just kept faith in our system and played our game."
The Stags' plan Wednesday was no different than it has been all season: Control the draw (15-9), win ground balls (18-7), and balance patience with pressure in the attacking third, which resulted in a pronounced advantage in shots (27-11).
Center Alex Logan added to her stellar performance on the draw by scoring four goals. Sophomore attack MaryKate Walsh had three goals and an assist, and Meredith Willard added two goals and two assists.
The teams traded turnovers in the opening four minutes before Cheverus got rolling on Caiazzo's dodge-and-drive for a 1-0 lead. The Stags then pushed the lead to 6-0 over the next nine minutes and never looked back.
"They caught us flat-footed, and we just didn't have an answer for (Logan, Caiazzo or Willard)," Cony Coach Gretchen Livingston said. "I think their having been here three times and this being our first time had something to do with it. We netted six goals, and we're used to netting more than that."
The Stags' swarming defense protected goalie Hope Correia (three saves), forcing turnovers that were quickly worked up field by the likes of Nicole Pineau and Darby Rawcliffe.
"We just asked the girls to play a full 50 minutes," Cheverus Coach Jamie Chamberlain said. "We had faith in our system and in each other. We're playing good lacrosse right now, and with luck we can continue that on Saturday."
Emily Quirion and Josie Lee each scored twice for the Rams, who were playing in their first regional final. Bayleigh Logan and Hayley Quirion also scored.
"We're only in our sixth season of varsity lacrosse, so to make it this far is quite an accomplishment," Livingston said. "I'm proud of the way the girls came together late in the season and to get this far.
"I wish we had made more of a game of it, but this is something to build on."