South Portland succumbed 17-6 to Massabesic last Thursday, May 26, despite two-goal efforts by Maddie Hasson, Mary Cronin and Jena Leckie. The young Lady Riots only kept pace with their veteran visitors for the first 60 seconds or so; after that, the action unwound into a flurry of Lady Mustangs’ points.

“I’m not disappointed in my girls,” said South Portland head coach Leslie Dyer. “[Massabesic] was stronger…They did a phenomenal job anticipating where the ball was going to go and intercepted about 50 of our balls.”

The Riots slipped on the loss to 6-5. Two days later, they picked up a 16-4 W at Noble to close their regular season on the happy side of .500, at 7-5. South Portland currently ranks fifth in A South, but some shuffling remains possible before the tournament begins on June 8. Gorham currently occupies fourth and Biddeford sixth.

No. 2 Massabesic, meanwhile, improved to 10-1.

Mustangs powerhouse Maquila DiMastrantonio – who ultimately notched seven of her team’s goals – opened the scoring just 14 seconds into the first half. Leckie answered (assisted by Kayla Brown) 35 seconds later, but DiMastrantonio added two, Josie Ring two and Delia Sylvain one in the next eight minutes, rapidly lopsiding the board in Massabesic’s favor, 6-1.

Dyer applauded DiMastrantonio. “A lot of [my girls] have played with Maq before, and she’s been phenomenal this year. She had an amazing game out there. She’s way better than what she was last year. My girls couldn’t keep up with her.” 

Cronin next hashed a Riots’ point, assisted by Hasson; Hasson made it 6-3 roughly two minutes later on a free position, but then Massabesic assembled another steamrolling run and tallied four more. Cronin would notch her second (assisted by Molly Walker) with 4:15 remaining in the half, but at the break, South Portland were down 11-4.

“At halftime…I was like, ‘You guys are hiding. You’re not showing me what you can do,’” said Dyer. “We all knew Mary and Maddie were going to be high targets this year…but we hid. This wasn’t my girls; we…looked tired.”

The downhill minutes featured less scoring. Hasson’s second goal (assisted by Walker) came at 15:52, and Leckie’s (on a free position) with just 6.5 seconds to play.

Cronin, it’s worth noting, also won 12 of the 18 draws she took for the Riots, while Hasson picked up nine ground balls. South Portland netminder Zoe Brown saved eight of 25 Mustangs shots-on-cage. Her teammates, though, only took 12 such shots of their own, a sore spot for Dyer.

“We made the same consistent mistakes,” said Dyer. “We were throwing the ball directly to the other team; we weren’t shooting – and if you don’t shoot, you’re not going to score.”

No doubt nerves were a factor for South Portland. “That’s part of it,” said Dyer. “[My girls] know how good [Massabesic was] last year, and how good they are this year; they haven’t been winning by one or two, they’ve been winning by 10 and 12.”

But experience was also pivotal: Where the Mustangs are laden with upperclassmen, the Riots are heavy with youth. “It’s been a huge learning year for these girls,” said Dyer, “and the good thing is, I’m only graduating three, so I have my team coming back next year, for the most part.”

South Portlander Abby darling defends in her team’s tough loss vs. visiting Massabesic.

Jena Leckie hashed two of South Portland’s six goals.

South Portland’s Kaya Backman jukes, faced with Massabesic opponents.

South Portland’s Maddie Hasson added two goals for her girls on Thursday.

Riot Mary Cronin tallied two for her team on Thursday.

Molly Walker assisted twice in the Riots’ loss to Massabesic on Thursday.

Sophia Cummings of South Portland loses control of the ball under Massabesic pressure.

Zoe Brown logged eight saves against a blistering Massabesic attack.

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