The Kennebunk girls lacrosse team celebrates its state title win. ALEX SPONSELLER/ Journal Tribune

The Kennebunk girls lacrosse team celebrates its state title win. ALEX SPONSELLER/ Journal Tribune

PORTLAND — The Kennebunk girls lacrosse team successfully defended its Class B title by defeating Yarmouth for the second straight year at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland on Saturday, 5-4.

Trailing 5-2 with less than 10 minutes remaining in regulation, the Clippers would net two goals from Greta Elder and Ella Antolini to cut the lead to 5-4 with just over six minutes left.

The Rams managed to hold off the surging Yarmouth attack down the stretch, and claimed its second state title in three years.

“In the back of your mind you see the clock ticking away and the state title right in front of you, as close as it can possible be, and all you have to do is think that every single second since Mar. 28 when the season started is for these five minutes right now,” said Kennebunk’s Hallie Schwartzman. “We all said that this was a different feel from last year. We have every single girl on the bench, every single girl on the field is capable of so much. We’re a team and program with depth, and that’s what makes us so strong. We have 25 girls that can play lacrosse.”

The Rams opened up the match by going on a 4-1 run, getting a pair of goals from both Leah Dumas and Erin Gorton. Although Kennebunk was poised to take the momentum into the second half, Yarmouth stopped the bleeding by getting two goals from Antolini, including one in the final four minutes, to cut the lead to 4-2 at the break.

Kennebunk came out firing in the second half, getting a goal less than two minutes in from senior Gabby Fogg.

Although Yarmouth caught fire in the final 10 minutes, the Rams’ experience showed as they successfully drained the clock and held off the Clippers. Between smart ball handling, and a handful of impressive stops in the cage by goalie Malory Burchill, the Rams proved that once again they are the gold standard for girls lacrosse in Maine.

This was a rubber match between these two clubs, with Yarmouth topping Kennebunk in 2015 and Kennebunk getting revenge in 2016. Yarmouth, who was the heavy favorite heading into Saturday’s game, beat Kennebunk 7-3 in the regular season.

Kennebunk coach Annie Barker felt that her team improved throughout the season, and was ready to go come Saturday.

“We’ve grown since that game, and our attack wasn’t attacking like they’re attacking at this point. It was a couple of weeks ago that this attack starting driving and attacking with quicker ball movement. I think that was the difference,” said Barker.

“Yarmouth is an amazing team — they’re well-coached, the girls are great, they’re (sportsmanship), they’re a great team which makes the win that much more satisfying,” added Schwartzman.

After losing four core players from last season, many questioned if this group would be the Rams that Maine is used to seeing. Despite the turnover, Barker believed that it may have helped this team in the long run beat the odds and climb atop the mountain once again.

“They’re a great group of kids, they’ve worked 110 percent,” said Barker. “We haven’t heard a complaint out of one of them all season long, they love each other, and it’s kind of nice when you don’t have superstars … it’s a team.”

— Associate Sports Editor Alex Sponseller can be reached at [email protected] or at 282-1535 ext. 323. Follow the Journal Tribune Sports Department on Twitter @JournalTsports.

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