Biddeford’s Nick McSorley looks for an open teammate during the Tigers’ preliminary game against Mt. Ararat. McSorley scored seven goals to lead Biddeford to its first playoff win in program history. (MAUREEN GRANDMAISON PHOTOGRAPHY)

BIDDEFORD — Missing six total players, including five starters, the Biddeford boys’ lacrosse team could’ve folded after Mt. Ararat took a 5-1 lead late in the first quarter.

Instead, head coach Jason Martel made a defensive adjustment, inserting Nate Eugley at goaltender, then Nick McSorley scored four of his seven goals after halftime to lead the No. 8 seed Tigers to a 14-13 win over the No. 9 Eagles in a Class B south preliminary game at Waterhouse Field Tuesday to deliver the program’s first playoff win in school history.

“I’m beyond words happy for them,” Martel said. “I constantly ask for more and they give it to me. What they pulled off today was nothing short of spectacular.”

With the game tied at 11 near the midway point of the fourth quarter, McSorley scored his fifth goal of the contest off of an assist from Joe Morrison to put Biddeford (6-7) ahead with 6:32 remaining. Less than a minute later, Mike O’Driscoll scored to push the Tiger’s lead to 13-11, but Mt. Ararat’s Noah Blessington answered off a pass from Hayden Libby to make it a one-score game.

McSorley, though, scored his final goal when Zachary Guay found the sophomore right in front of the net to make it 14-12 with 3:49 left.

“He’s (McSorley) that kid,” Martel said. “You look at his size, he’s not afraid to get into the middle. He’s not afraid to crash the crease. He’s not afraid to shoot from the outside.” 

Biddeford’s Matthew Martel fights for position against three Mt. Ararat defenders. (MAUREEN GRANDMAISON PHOTOGRAPHY)

Mt. Ararat (5-8) had several opportunities to score down the stretch, but Eugley, who came in to replace starter Trenton Mills late in the first quarter, made three crucial saves late in the fourth to preserve Biddeford’s lead. Eugley finished with 12 saves.

“I can’t be any more proud of (Nate) tonight,” said Martel. “He started the season in JV … He stepped into a Class B playoff game … and shut them down.”

Riley Morin scored with 9.2 seconds left for the Eagles to make it 14-13, but it was too little too late as Biddeford won the ensuing faceoff and time ran out to secure the Tigers’ first playoff win in school history.

“The excitement they had — the look on their faces when time ran out — that’s what I needed,” Martel said.

The Tigers led 11-9 heading into the fourth, but man-up goals from Morin and Keegan Brown tied it with 7:40 left.

“I thought we made some mistakes … We had some mental errors,” Mt. Ararat coach Matt Haskell said. “I think we clanged about six posts in the last five minutes.”

Mt. Ararat looked to take control of the game as they jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the first behind a pair of goals from Morin, who finished with six for the game. But McSorley and Bryce Pray scored in the final minute of the quarter to give the Tigers momentum heading into the second.

Biddeford used the momentum to outscore Mt. Ararat 4-1 in the second quarter to take a 7-6 lead at halftime. Two of those goals came from Brayden Locke over the final 2:47 of the stanza. Locke finished with three goals for the game.

“Down 5-1, we make the change at goalie,” Martel said. “We expected Mt. Ararat to make adjustments, and they did, but we were able to make a slight tweak and stay ahead.”

The Tigers move on to face top-seeded Greely Rangers (9-3) in the quarterfinals later this week. Advancing in the playoffs is something Martel has been building toward. But after Tuesday’s win, Martel hopes his players savor this one for a while.

“They’re walking away right now saying, ‘We just won our first playoff game ever,’” Martel said. “So that for me … That was enough.”

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