Falmouth’s girls’ lacrosse team mobs junior goalie Hannah Dubinsky at the conclusion of the Yachtsmen’s 5-3 win over Kennebunk in Saturday’s Class A state final. Falmouth won its second consecutive championship.

Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Class A Final

Falmouth 5 Kennebunk 3

K- 1 2- 3
F- 3 2- 5

First half
21:23 F Clement (unassisted)
16:53 K Schwartzman (Connor)
16:30 F Clement (Sarazin)
16:07 F Camelio (unassisted)

Second half
17:52 K Schwartzman (Connor)
9:43 K Kiezulas (M. Banglmaier)
8:01 F Camelio (free position)
5:12 F Stucker (free position)

Goals:
K- Schwartzman 2, Kiezulas 1
F- Camelio, Clement 2, Stucker 1

Assists:
K- Connor 2, M. Banglmaier 1
F- Sarazin 1

Draws (Falmouth, 7-3)
K- Schwartzman 0 of 5, Wuerthner 2 of 4, M. Banglmaier 1 of 1
F- Sarazin 7 of 10

Ground balls:
K- 17
F- 30

Turnovers:
K- 16
F- 17

Shots:
K- 11
F- 11

Shots on cage:
K- 8
F- 11

Saves:
K (Moody) 6
F (Dubinsky) 5

PORTLAND—Going 33 minutes without scoring a goal is hardly a recipe for state game success, but on a day when its prolific offense was held in check, Falmouth’s girls’ lacrosse team turned to its defense and junior goalie Hannah Dubinsky to win a second consecutive Class A state championship.

Battling state game regular Kennebunk Saturday evening at Fitzpatrick Stadium, the Yachtsmen scored three goals in just over five minutes of the first half to grab the lead, as sophomore Eva Clement tickled the twine twice and senior standout Caitlyn Camelio also finished, but neither team scored the final 16-plus minutes of the first half.

Trailing, 3-1, at the beginning of the second half, the Rams got goals from sophomore standout Lily Schwartzman and junior Liz Kiezulas to tie the score with just under 10 minutes to play.

Then, after Dubinsky turned momentum by robbing Schwartzman on the doorstep, Camelio put Falmouth ahead to stay when she converted a free position with 8:01 to go.

Senior Jo Stucker added a free position goal three minutes later and the Yachtsmen slammed the door from there and went on to a 5-3 victory.

Falmouth capped the season with its 10th consecutive win, finished the year 14-1, ended Kennebunk’s campaign at 11-4 and earned a title for the second time in program history.

“It’s just as special (this year),” said Yachtsmen coach Ashley Pullen. “Since there were so many of the same players (from last year), I told them I hoped this holds the same significance because it’s an amazing accomplishment to go to a state game and win it. I talked about the reverence with which I hoped they’ll wear the medals and look at them when they’re older.”

Final chapter

Falmouth and Kennebunk met in the final high school lacrosse game of the season, game four on Championship Saturday.

Both teams had clearly been elite all season and while each had to navigate a tough playoff field, they managed to make it to the big stage.

The Yachtsmen, a year after winning a state title for the first time, entered the 2019 campaign viewed as the favorite and Falmouth didn’t disappoint, losing just once in 12 games (see sidebar, below, for links to previous stories), by a single goal at Windham. Falmouth won its final seven regular season games to beat out the Eagles for the top seed in Class A North, then, after a quarterfinal round bye, the Yachtsmen edged No. 5 Cheverus in a semifinal round thriller, 11-10, before pulling away to eliminate No. 2 Windham in the regional final, 13-6.

Kennebunk, meanwhile, lost early one-goal decisions to Falmouth and Yarmouth and fell at Massabesic, but a late-season surge, capped by an 8-7 home win over Windham, gave the Rams the top seed in Class A South and with it, a bye into the semifinals. There, Kennebunk dispatched No. 5 South Portland, 12-3, and in the regional final, the Rams avenged a previous loss by ousting No. 2 Massabesic, 6-4, Wednesday.

In the regular season contest April 24, host Falmouth beat Kennebunk, 8-7, when senior Kayla Sarazin scored in overtime, the Yachtsmen’s first win over the Rams in seven tries.

Kennebunk had beaten Falmouth in all five prior playoff meetings (see sidebar, below).

Saturday, the Rams were seeking their third championship overall, after winning Class B in 2016 and 2017, and their first at the Class A level, but the Yachtsmen did just enough to go 2-for-2 on the big stage.

Sarazin, who dominated in the draw circle in the regular season meeting, won the game’s first possession and 35 seconds in, senior Christina Oakes had a great chance to put Falmouth on top, but Kennebunk junior goalie Haley Moody made a clutch save.

After forcing a turnover, the Yachtsmen got the ball back and opened the scoring with 21:23 to play in the first half when Clement scored unassisted.

After Moody robbed Oakes again, the Rams tied the score with 16:53 left before halftime, as Schwartzman finished a feed from junior Tiernan Connor and beat Dubnisky to make it 1-1.

Kennebunk wouldn’t score again until the second half.

Falmouth went right back on top, as Sarazin won the draw, ran in and fed Clement, who put the ball in the net with 16:39 on the clock.

Clement was battling an ankle injury, but you’d never know it by her play on the field.

“The (athletic) trainers do such a good job, so my ankle was fine,” Clement said. “Coming out with intensity was so beneficial for us. Kennebunk has a settled attack, so playing from ahead was important. We wanted to bring the energy.”

“Eva’s effort today was huge,” Pullen said. “She’s always a workhorse, but she’s been battling tendinitis. Knowing (Kennebunk) would probably faceguard Caitlyn, I told (Eva) she had to be a big threat and she would have been that anyway, that’s the kind of player she is.”

Thirty-two seconds later, the Yachtsmen scored again, as Camelio found enough room to finish unassisted for a 3-1 lead.

But just when it appeared Falmouth’s offense would have its way all evening, the Rams’ defense slammed the door shut.

The remainder of the first half featured turnovers and key saves.

Moody denied Stucker, sophomore Avi Fishman and Fishman again.

At the other end, Kiezulas missed wide on a free position and Schwartzman hit the post.

Late in the half, Moody robbed junior Emily Hamilton on the doorstep and Connor hit the post and the game went to the break with the Yachtsmen holding on to a 3-1 lead.

In the first half, Sarazin won all five draws and Falmouth had a decided advantage in ground balls (15-7) and shots (9-4), but six Moody saves kept Kennebunk in the game.

And the Rams would rally to tie in the second half.

The first seven minutes of the second half saw continued frustration for both offenses, however, as each team turned the ball over three times.

Finally, with 17:52 to go, Connor set up Schwartzman for a goal, snapping a 24 minute, 1 second drought and pulling Kennebunk within one.

The Rams got the ball right back and looked to tie, but Dubinsky made a save on a Schwartzman shot.

After Schwartzman had a free position saved and Connor missed high, Kiezulas took a pass from junior Mia Banglmaier and beat Dubinsky with 9:43 to play and the contest was deadlocked, 3-3.

Junior Allison Wuerthner won the ensuing draw and Schwartzman soon found herself on the doorstep, primed to put the Rams on top, but with 8:52 to go, Dubinsky made her most impressive save, snaring the high shot with her net.

“I just follow the ball,” Dubinsky said. “I just keep my eyes on it and that way I won’t fall for fakes. I watch it go into my stick and hope for the best.”

“That was huge,” said Pullen. “We had momentum at the beginning, but they had it in the second half, then they got the equalizing goal. That’s Hannah. She’s made huge, timely saves for us this season.”

And that save energized the dormant Falmouth offense, which finally awakened with 8:01 remaining, as Camelio was fouled, earned a free position, then beat Moody for a 4-3 lead, snapping a 33:06 drought.

“We were a little frantic and we were forcing it, but once we got into our groove, we were OK,” Camelio said. “Haley’s probably one of the best goalies in the state, so I wanted to get in and move her. It was also a tough hash (location).”

“We rallied and talked to each other,” Stucker said. “We had to get on the same page. We really wanted it.”

“It felt like forever (not scoring),” Pullen added. “We work on our mental game and patience is a huge part of that. It’s not like they were racking up goals either, so we weren’t in panic mode. I know if we handle the ball enough, we’ll find a way to find the back of the net.

“It was certainly a battle for (Caitlyn) today being tightly guarded, but she’s a good enough player to get the ball and get fouled. I have another attacker who’s also on the 8 (on the free position) and I watched and she didn’t even go in for a rebound because she knew Caitlyn would score. I said, ‘Listen, I know Caitlyn puts most of them in, but you have at least pretend to rebound!'”

Sarazin won the ensuing draw, but the Yachtsmen turned the ball over.

Falmouth’s defense then got it back and with 5:12 to play, Stucker earned a free position opportunity and she finished to make it 5-3.

“Caitlyn was like, ‘Run,’ and I was like, ‘OK,’ and I only had one person on my right, so I ran in and shot,” Stucker said. “I was really excited. I know Caitlyn was going to be faceguarded and that put a lot of pressure on the attack. For me, that meant coming out here and playing my game.”

“Jo Stucker is our unsung hero this season, not just this game,” Pullen said. “All season long, she’s made big plays. I’m so proud of how she played today. She knew she’d have to come up big and I knew she would.”

Banglmaier won the ensuing draw and Kennebunk called timeout, hoping to rally, but the Rams turned the ball over and the Yachtsmen managed to run the clock down to 2:30 before giving the ball back.

Again, Falmouth’s defense came up huge, forcing a turnover, and Sarazin got the loose ball.

This time, the Yachtsmen ran the clock down to 23.6 seconds before turning the ball back over.

Kennebunk had one final, desperate chance to rally, as Connor got a look with 8.2 seconds on the clock, but Dubinsky made the save and that was that.

The final horn sounded and at 7:33 p.m., Falmouth rushed the field to celebrate its 5-3 victory and repeat championship.

“I couldn’t ask for anything more than to out this way,” said Camelio, who will play next year at the University of Michigan. “It’s been quite a journey. It wasn’t easy, but it was a great game. Kennebunk is probably our biggest rival and we knew it would be a good game. We came out fired up for a good game and it was. Running out the clock is tough, but we work on it a lot.”

“It’s amazing to win it again with these girls,” Dubinsky said. “We’re a family. I love playing with them.”

“We’re very grateful,” said Stucker. “Winning a second time is the best goodbye. At the beginning of the season (as the favorites), we knew it would be different and we’d have to play different, but we rallied.”

“We knew it would be a battle, having taken them into overtime in the regular season and even though (Kennebunk’s) young, they’re very skilled and well-coached,” Pullen added. “(Kennebunk coach) Annie Barker was my mentor when I started coaching. She taught me about how she ran her program and organized practices. Everything from A to Z. I’m grateful for the advice she gave me. I’m sure she never imagined she’d wind up coaching against me in a state game.

“I can’t say enough about Kennebunk as a program. The rivalry between us runs deep. They’re not a team that often gets turned away. They make you earn it and they did that today. We knew we’d have to work for it. I told the girls that it doesn’t come easily just because we put a Falmouth uniform on.”

Disappointment

Kennebunk had its lowest offensive output of the season at the least optimal time.

Schwartzman scored two goals and Kiezulas had one, but that was it.

Connor had two assists and Banglmaier finished with one.

Moody made six saves.

Schwartzman and junior Abigale Lamontagne each collected a team-high three ground balls.

The Rams committed 16 turnovers.

“Our offense was slow in the beginning,” said Barker. “We couldn’t get it going. We knew the draw would be what it would be, but if we came up with some of those 50-50 ground balls, it might have been a different game. We just didn’t finish the little things. Falmouth was just the better team today. They executed well.

“Falmouth has the championship mentality already and it’s tough when we only had two seniors, but look at where we came from. The girls should hold their heads high. We rose to the top and knocked off big teams to get here. We just kept on working every day and I have an amazing coaching staff. The five of us work together every day and it kept getting better and better.”

Kennebunk will on the short list of title favorites again in 2020.

“Hopefully we’ll be back again because we only lose two and (Falmouth’s) losing a lot more,” Barker said.

Triumph

The Yachtsmen scored their fewest goals of the season, but five were enough to prevail.

Camelio and Clement both scored twice, while Stucker had the other goal.

Sarazin had Falmouth’s lone assist.

Dubinsky, who plays her best in the biggest games, made five saves and they were all crucial.

“My goal was to keep the defense hyped the entire game,” Dubinsky said. “I just wanted us to stay excited and stay positive.”

Falmouth’s defense received an abundance of praise following the win.

“(Senior) Natalie (Birkel), (junior) Gretchen (Barney), (junior) Sarah (Wentworth) and (sophomore) C.C. (Cohen) are amazing,” Camelio said. “I couldn’t ask for more from them, especially clearing the ball from the back today. They were flawless.”

“Our defense works so well together,” said Dubinsky. “I have full confidence in them. I know if I have to yell, ‘Crash!” they’ll do it.”

“Our defense is amazing,” Clement said. “I trusted them to hold (Kennebunk) off. They’re a very good team, but we have a really good team as well.”

The defense works so well together,” said Stucker. “They wanted it today. ”

“Our entire defense shined,” Pullen added. “When we play player-to-player defense, it’s really a seven field player and goalie effort. Every single player has to make sure to slide to make it work. That unit, that’s the best game they played all season. To hold a very good Kennebunk team to three goals, I’m so proud of how they played.”

Sarazin won 7 of 10 draws.

The Yachtsmen held a 30-17 edge in ground balls (Sarazin led the way with 11 and Clement and Wentworth each collected four), outshot the Rams, 11-8, on frame and overcame 17 turnovers.

Another coronation?

Unlike last spring, when Falmouth graduated one player, the program will be hard-hit by graduation this time around.

Not only do Camelio and Sarazin, two of the state’s elite players, depart, but Birkel, Oakes, Stucker, Summer Spiegel, Grace Wiggon and Sydney Williams graduate as well.

“It’s been a coach’s dream to have Caitlyn and Kayla, but beyond them, this whole group of seniors has been a privilege to coach,” Pullen said. “What I’m taking away from this season is immense pride and gratitude in the opportunity to be their coach. As amazing as they are players, they’re kind, hardworking people too.”

The Yachtsmen have a solid returning nucleus, however, and will be one of the last teams standing yet again in 2020.

“I’m so sad the seniors will be gone, but we have such a deep team,” Clement said. “We definitely have a good chance again next year. We’ll have to put in some work and bring in some underclassmen, but I have faith in our program.”

“It’s been amazing to play with the seniors, they’re the nicest, most welcoming and talented group of girls,” Dubinsky said. “I’m really going to miss them, but we’re very excited for next year. We’ll come back and we’ll still have a talented group.”

“There’s nothing like winning a state championship to fire up a program,” Pullen added. “I know we have some great young players coming in who will be freshmen. Yes, we’re losing amazing seniors, but I hope that we can be contenders again next year as well.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Falmouth senior Kayla Sarazin and Kennebunk junior Allison Wuerthner battle in the draw circle.

Kennebunk junior goalie Haley Moody makes one of her six first half saves.

Falmouth sophomore Eva Clement is hounded by Kennebunk junior Mia Banglmaier.

Falmouth senior Caitlyn Camelio (12) celebrates a goal with sophomore Avi Fishman.

Falmouth seniors Kayla Sarazin and Caitlyn Camelio (12) and their teammates show off the championship hardware.

Previous Falmouth stories

Season Preview

Falmouth 8 Kennebunk 7 (OT)

Falmouth 8 Massabesic 5

Falmouth 11 Cheverus 10

Previous Kennebunk stories

Kennebunk 11 Greely 4

Falmouth 8 Kennebunk 7 (OT)

Previous Kennebunk-Falmouth playoff results

2017
Class B South Final
Kennebunk 9 Falmouth 6

2016
Class B South Final
Kennebunk 8 Falmouth 3

2015
Western B Final
Kennebunk 9 Falmouth 7

2007
Western B semifinals
@ Kennebunk 11 Falmouth 7

2006
Western B quarterfinals
@ Kennebunk 14 Falmouth 6

Previous Falmouth state game result

2018
Class A
Falmouth 10 Massabesic 7

Previous Kennebunk state game results

2017
Class B
Kennebunk 5 Yarmouth 4

2016
Class B
Kennebunk 9 Yarmouth 7

2015
Class B

Yarmouth 11 Kennebunk 10 (OT) 

2009
Class A

Brunswick 13 Kennebunk 9

2008
Class A

Brunswick 15 Kennebunk 11

2007
Class B

Yarmouth 7 Kennebunk 5

2002
Yarmouth 13 Kennebunk 8