KENNEBUNK — It’s playoff time, and another Marshwood High boys’ team is finding its groove.

The ninth-seeded Hawks (8-5) fell behind early at No. 8 Kennebunk but controlled the majority of play over the final three quarters Thursday and advanced to the Class B boys’ lacrosse quarterfinals with a 10-7 win.

“It’s the same thing as last year; we weren’t really clicking until the playoffs,” said junior attack Kevin Couglar, who scored seven goals and is one of several Hawks who won a state championship in football last fall. “It feels good to play when we’re all on the same page.”

Marshwood eliminated Kennebunk for the second year in a row and moves on to face No. 1 seed Messalonskee (11-1) on Saturday. Last season as the No. 4 seed, Marshwood knocked off the unbeaten Eagles, 12-4, to reach the program’s first state final, where it lost to Yarmouth.

“We’ve got one practice to prepare. I know we’re all going to go home and watch some film tonight and check out what they’ve got,” said Marshwood junior defender Wyatt Yager, a standout striker on the Hawks’ Class A championship soccer team. “This is our opinion. We think the competition up there is not as good, so I wouldn’t say we’re threatened that they’re the No. 1 seed. I mean, we know they’re a good team, but we’ve done it before and we’ve seen a little bit of them and we can handle them.”

In the first quarter, Marshwood’s defense did not handle Kennebunk’s transition attack after faceoffs. Freshman Calvin Johnson scored three goals as the Rams took a 4-2 lead.

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Aidan Sullivan (football quarterback) scored with an assist from Couglar to cut the deficit to 4-3 just 50 seconds into the second quarter. Then Couglar took charge, scoring three straight on strong moves from the top of the offense.

“He carried us. We kept telling them someone needs to step up and put the ball in the net and he was the one today,” said first-year Marshwood Coach Mathew Moreland.

Marshwood’s trio of speedy, skilled defenders – Yager, Ty Couglar and Ethan Moreland – consistently used their legs to advance the ball to the offensive zone. The Hawks piled up a 35-19 shot advantage. Kennebunk freshman goalie Moose Keys made 11 saves, compared to two by Marshwood’s Luke Dockham.

Kennebunk did have three shots clang off the side posts of the goal in the second half – including two in quick succession after Elized Soule cut the Hawks’ lead to 6-5 just 1:04 into the second half.

“The post. The goalie’s best friend, right? Who knows, a quarter-inch the other way, it goes in, and just unlucky sometimes. They definitely got the best of us today,” said Kennebunk Coach Chris Gassman.

Chase Turcotte and Kevin Couglar scored to push the Marshwood lead to 8-5.

Kennebunk’s Benjamin Urban answered late in the third quarter, but in the fourth, Kennebunk hit the post again, and Couglar scored twice more to push the lead to 10-6.

“We had a good game here, so I think that momentum is going to carry right over to the Messalonskee game,” Cougler said. “It’s going to be a long road trip, but that won’t deter us from winning at all.”


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