Falmouth senior Eva Clement is defended by Kennebunk sophomore Rebecca Taggart during the Rams’ 17-11 win Tuesday. Hoffer photos.

BOX SCORE

Kennebunk 17 Falmouth 11

K- 7 10- 17
F- 6 5- 11

First half
22:59 K Schwartzman (free position)
22:22 K Sliwkowski (unassisted)
21:38 K Schwartzman (free position)
20:32 F Clement (free position)
19:29 F Ginevan (Blakeman)
19:14 F Ginevan (unassisted)
18:37 F Taylor (Clement)
14:59 K Schwartzman (Sliwkowski)
12:06 K Sliwkowski (free position)
11:28 F Clement (free position)
9:20 F Ginevan (Taylor)
3:52 K Archibald (Maloney)
2:17 K Sliwkowski (unassisted)

Second half
22:46 F Taylor (free position)
19:43 F Ginevan (Clement)
19:06 K Archibald (unassisted)
18:51 K Schwartzman (unassisted)
17:11 K Dumas (unassisted)
14:57 K Maloney (Sliwkowski)
14:21 F Clement (free position)
11:48 K Archiabld (Sliwkowski)
10:30 K Sliwkowski (unassisted)
8:24 K Archibald (free position)
6:17 K Schwartzman (unassisted)
5:46 F Ginevan (Taylor)
5:33 K Sliwkowski (unassisted)
53.7 F Ginevan (Adams)
18.3 K Sliwkowski (Schwartzman)

Goals:
K- Sliwkowski 6, Schwartzman 5, Archibald 4, Dumas, Maloney 1
F- Ginevan 6, Clement 3, Taylor 2

Assists:
K- Sliwkowski 3, Maloney, Schwartzman 1
F- Clement, Taylor 2, Adams, Blakeman 1

Draws (Kennebunk, 16-13)
K- Schwartzman 15 of 26, Archibald 1 of 3
F- Clement 13 of 29

Ground balls:
K- 39
F- 25

Turnovers:
K- 14
F- 15

Shots:
K- 31
F- 23

Shots on cage:
K- 28
F- 16

Saves:
K (Hayes) 5
F (Riley) 11

FALMOUTH—Even on a day when Kennebunk’s powerhouse girls’ lacrosse team was far from perfect, it still wound up winning by six goals.

But even in defeat, host Falmouth did enough to turn heads and produce a memorable game that featured a lot of offense.

Tons of offense, in fact.

The undefeated Rams threatened to run away with it early, as senior standout Lily Schwartzman twice scored on free positions and sophomore sensation Ruby Sliwkowski added a goal for a 3-0 lead less than four minutes into the contest.

But Falmouth is nothing if not resilient and explosive and in a 1-minute, 55-second span, not only did it erase a three-goal deficit, but it took the lead, as senior standout Eva Clement scored on a free position, unstoppable sophomore Sloane Ginevan added a pair of goals and emerging sophomore star Lucy Taylor added a goal for a 4-3 advantage.

The first half would feature four ties and four lead changes, as after Schwartzman and Sliwkowski answered with goals to put Kennebunk back on top, Clement tied it, then Ginevan made it 6-5 with 9:20 to go before halftime.

But by the break, the Rams had the lead again, 7-6, thanks to goals from senior Emily Archibald and Sliwkowski.

When Taylor and Ginevan opened the second half with goals, Falmouth held an 8-7 advantage, but an 8-1 Kennebunk explosion finally broke it open.

After Archibald tied it, unassisted, Schwartzman put the Rams on top to stay and junior Sydney Dumas and senior Skylar Maloney also tickled the twine for an 11-8 lead.

Clement got a goal back for Falmouth, but Archibald, Sliwkowski, Archibald again and Schwartzman responded to make it 15-9.

Ginevan and Adams scored late for the hosts, but Sliwkowski scored twice more and Kennebunk closed out the slugfest, 17-11.

Sliwkowski scored six goals, Schwartzman added five and Archibald had four as the Rams improved to 11-0 on the season and in the process, dropped Falmouth to 7-3.

“I think that we stayed composed through the whole game,” said Schwartzman, who continues to stake her claim as the state’s top senior before taking her talents to Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York next year. “We knew coming in it would be a tough game. It’s always tough when we play Falmouth. We were prepared to be in a situation where we were down, but mentally, it didn’t affect us at all because we knew what we had to do to get back up. We just had to find the momentum we’ve found every other game.”

No introduction needed

Falmouth and Kennebunk have established quite a rivalry in recent seasons, meeting in the Class B South Final in 2015, 2016 and 2017 (all Rams victories) and in the 2019 Class A state final, which Falmouth won, 5-3, to repeat as champion. Falmouth also captured the regular season meeting two years ago, 8-7, in overtime, at home.

Both teams were highly touted entering 2021 and while Falmouth has been very good, Kennebunk has simply been perfect, only getting tested once.

The Rams started with a 13-2 win at Cape Elizabeth, then handled visiting Marshwood (14-3) and host Biddeford (19-2). Then, at home, in the rain, Kennebunk had to rally from a second half deficit to beat Class B favorite Yarmouth, 10-8. The Rams hadn’t been challenged since, rolling at Portland (14-2), at home over South Portland (15-2), at Thornton Academy (14-3), at home over Berwick Academy (17-3), at home over Windham (17-4) and at rival Massabesic (18-3).

Falmouth, meanwhile, opened with a 14-3 home win over Gorham and after a hard-fought 11-9 setback at Windham, responded by downing host Portland (17-2) and Massabesic (12-6) and visiting Greely (14-4), Thornton Academy (5-3) and Cape Elizabeth (10-5). Last week, Falmouth nearly erased a six-goal deficit before losing at Yarmouth, 12-10, before bouncing back for a 15-3 win at Lewiston.

Tuesday, on a comfortable 67 degree afternoon, on its turf field, Falmouth looked to make it three straight over the Rams, but Kennebunk improved to 11-5 all-time in the series thanks to a trio of unstoppable offensive talents.

Schwartzman won the game’s opening draw and the Rams looked to strike first, but Falmouth sophomore goalie Patty Riley denied Archibald.

Kennebunk kept possession and with 22:59 left in the first half, Schwartzman earned a free position and fired the ball into the net to break the ice.

It took only 37 seconds for the next goal to come, as the speedy Sliwkowski scored for the first time, racing coast-to-coast before beating Riley.

With 21:38 on the clock, Schwartzman earned another free position and after a fake, she fired a low shot past Riley for a quick 3-0 lead.

But while many on hand thought a Rams’ rout was in store, Falmouth showed just how prolific it could be on offense, as it flipped the game on its ear in the matter of a couple of minutes.

Clement won the ensuing draw and with 20:32 to go, earned a free position of her own and she shot past Kennebunk sophomore goalie Elizabeth Hayes to get the hosts on the board.

With 19:29 showing, Ginevan scored for the first time, after a turnover, as senior Abby Blakeman got her the ball.

Falmouth sophomore Sloane Ginevan gets a step on Kennebunk senior Neely Connor.

After Clement won the ensuing draw, Falmouth sought the equalizer and while Ginevan couldn’t catch a pass in front, she pounced on the ground ball before shooting past Hayes to tie the score, 3-3, with 19:14 left.

Falmouth wasn’t done, as 37 seconds later, Clement set up Taylor for the lead.

“I was worried it was going to be over before it started, but the girls have so much fight,” said Falmouth coach Ashley Pullen. “They get in a hole, but they don’t stay there.”

Kennebunk coach Annie Barker then called timeout and the Rams responded like the undefeated juggernaut they are.

With 14:59 to go before the break, Sliwkowski found Schwartzman to tie it up.

After Riley denied Schwartzman, Sliwkowski earned a free position with 12:06 remaining and Sliwkowski converted to give the Rams the lead back, 5-4.

Again, Falmouth would answer, as Clement scored on a free position 38 seconds later.

With 9:20 on the clock, Ginevan finished a feed from Taylor for a 6-5 Falmouth lead, but with 3:52 remaining, Maloney set up Archibald for the equalizer and with 2:17 to go, after a quick move on a defender, Sliwkowski scored unassisted to put the Rams back in the lead.

Down the stretch, Riley denied Archibald and Archibald hit the post, so Kennebunk took a 7-6 advantage to halftime.

Shockingly, there would be even more offense in the second half.

Falmouth came out strong, as Ginevan missed just high and Blakeman had a shot saved by Hayes, but with 22:46 remaining, a free position shot from Taylor tied the score, 7-7.

After Riley saved a bid from Dumas at one end and Clement hit the post on the ensuing transition, Falmouth took what proved to be its final lead with 19:43 to play, as Clement set up Ginevan for her fourth goal.

“Sometimes in practice, I step back and I’m in awe watching (Eva and Sloane),” Pullen said. “It’s such a privilege to coach them and I love watching them.”

“We tried to come straight out on (Ginevan) and (Clement) and see what would happen and we learned our lesson,” Barker said.

The lead only lasted 37 seconds, however, as Archibald scored unassisted to tie it.

Then, off the ensuing draw, Schwartzman won it, got the ball, raced in and finished unassisted to put the Rams ahead to stay, 9-8.

“Once we get rolling, we can get goal after goal and draw after draw,” said Schwartzman. “The draws are a trust system between the three girls on the circle. We all know any of us can come up with the ball. Working together and communicating on the circle is how we’re as successful as we are with coming up with draws.”

Schwartzman, the youngest of three sisters to star for Kennebunk, is leaving an indelible impact on the program.

“They’re all such different players,” Barker said, of the Schwartzmans. “Kyra was very solid and was a great feeder. Hallie was just so fast and so scrappy. Lily has the complete package. She’s just a lacrosse player and understands the whole game.”

After a Clement bid to tie the game was blocked, Kennebunk got a little breathing room, as Dumas finished unassisted after a nice spin move to make it a two-goal game with 17:11 still to play.

Pullen called timeout, but it didn’t help, as Sliwkowski found Maloney in traffic and Maloney finished with 14:57 remaining for an 11-8 advantage.

Falmouth momentarily restored order as Clement scored on a free position 36 seconds later, but the floodgates were about to open.

With 11:48 left, Sliwkowski threw a high pass that Archibald had to leap to catch, but fortunately for Sliwkowski, Archibald is Maine’s Miss Basketball and she can handle a high pass better than anyone. Archibald not only caught the ball, but shot and scored as well to open up a three-goal advantage.

“Emily and I play basketball together and those connections on the field really translate,” said Sliwkowski.

“Having Emily back this year is huge,” Schwartzman said. “You can’t even describe the type of athlete she is. She’s been so big for us on offense and defense. One of our key players.”

“We had pulled Emily off the circle and moved her to the defensive box and that wasn’t working, so we put her back and that was successful,” Barker added. “It’s fun to have Emily. She’s steady. She’s such a great kid and she knows how to win. She can do it all.”

Archibald played lacrosse as a freshman, didn’t play sophomore season, then, like everyone, missed out last year, but she’s thrilled to be back this spring.

“I enjoy this group as much as anything,” Archibald said. “I just wanted to come back and play with these girls. The chemistry we have is special. We’re competitive and Kennebunk lacrosse is unmatched.”

With 10:30 to play, Sliwkowski scored unassisted.

“We were losing the majority of draws on the ground balls, so we made some changes and Ruby was able to get the ball the majority of the time,” Barker said.

With 8:24 on the clock, Archibald finished a free position.

Then, with 6:17 remaining, Schwartzman fought her way through the defense and capped an 8-1 run with an unassisted goal.

Falmouth continued to fight and drew within 15-10 when Taylor set up Ginevan 31 seconds later, but with 5:33 left, Sliwkowski scored unassisted and after junior Whitney Adams eschewed a shot on a free position with 53.7 seconds and instead passed to Ginevan, who finished for the sixth time, Kennebunk scored one final goal, as Schwartzman set up Sliwkowski with 18.3 seconds remaining and the Rams closed out their 17-11 victory.

Kennebunk sophomore goalie Elizabeth Hayes is congratulated by freshman Miranda Godek and sophomore Matilda Bordas (20) at the conclusion of the game.

“Our mindset the whole time is just to play the game we know how to play,” Schwartzman said.

“I think after halftime, we just had to stay composed,” Sliwkowski said. “Once we get going, we seriously get rolling. It’s so much fun to be out there. We have weapons and we know how to load them. It’s just about executing.”

“The biggest thing is we knew we had to stay composed,” Archibald said. “So much can change so quickly, but we just played our game.”

“This was good for us,” Barker added. “Everybody gives 100 percent out there and that’s what it takes for us.”

Most teams have one or two players that can score with abandon, but on Tuesday, Kennebunk featured three, as Sliwkowski led all scorers with six goals, Schwartzman added five and Archibald had four. Dumas and Maloney added one goal apiece.

“We told the girls that they weren’t going to score up top, that they had to go to the elbows and if someone was doubled, someone else was open and to just be patient,” said Barker. “We told them if we took good shots, we’d score.”

Sliwkowski also had three assists, while Maloney and Schwartzman each finished with one.

Hayes made five saves.

The Rams won 16 of 29 draws, had a 39-25 advantage in ground balls (Sliwkowski had a game-high nine, while Archibald and senior Neely Connor each came up with five), a 31-23 edge in shots (28-16 on cage) and only turned the ball over 14 times.

Falmouth’s offense featured six goals from Ginevan, three goals and two assists from Clement, two goals and two assists from Taylor and one assist apiece from Adams and Blakeman.

Riley made 11 saves.

Ginevan paced Falmouth with eight ground balls, while freshman Peaches Stucker had five.

Falmouth committed 15 turnovers.

“Despite the final score, I’m really proud of how we played today,” Pullen said. “It could have gotten out of hand, but I give the girls credit for bouncing back. We’ve seen Kennebunk score almost at will against other defenses. They have an arsenal. It wasn’t just a matter of shutting down one player. We knew we had to defend their whole attacking unit. We could do that for a good amount of the game, but credit to them. They’re a skilled team that executes well. We lost a string of draws and therefore momentum and that was the big thing. This was a game where the team that had the ball was dangerous. When we had the ball, we did great things with the ball. When they had the ball, they did great things. We just couldn’t get out of the hole.”

Rematch at Fitzy?

The teams could meet again in the state final June 18 at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland, but both have work to do first.

Kennebunk, which has the top spot in Class A South wrapped up, finishes with a home game versus Gorham next Tuesday.

“We’re just looking to give everything we can every game,” said Archibald. “We’re working to get better every day in practice. We have so much trust and faith in each other and that can take us far.”

“After not having last season, we’re just here to play and here to win,” Sliwkowski said. “We’re so prepared. We just have to execute.”

“Record doesn’t matter to us,” said Schwartzman. “We want to do the best we can do with the knowledge our coaches have given us. It’s nice to say we have an undefeated regular season and it’s now in reach if we come out on top in our Senior Night game against Gorham. Our record shows how much work we’ve put in.

“We have everything we need. We have the girls, we have the coaches. I don’t know what teams can attack on us. Just doing the best we can every day and coming into every game as prepared as possible for our opponent is a way we can get to that game in June that we hope to get to.”

“Going undefeated does matter to the girls,” Barker added. “I feel like we’re ready to make a run.”

Falmouth, which is trying to hold off Windham for the all-important top seed in Class A North, goes to Cheverus Thursday and closes at home versus Scarborough Saturday.

“The next two games are really big for us,” Pullen said. “We want homefield advantage. It would be great to play here. I’m confident we can close the gap (with Kennebunk). It’s not a gimme we’ll play them again, we have to earn that opportunity, but we’d love to have another shot at them.”

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

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