WELLS — Kayleigh Michaud-Nolan scored four goals, but it was her defense that wrested momentum from upset-minded Lake Region.

Fourth-seeded Wells held off a late charge from No. 8 Lake Region to win a Class C girls’ lacrosse semifinal Tuesday afternoon, 12-8. The victory sends the Warriors (12-3) to their first state championship game, scheduled for Friday night at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

Lake Region (7-8) had cut a six-goal deficit to two with 11 minutes remaining and had the added advantage of sun in the eyes of Wells goalie Kayla Bolton. The score was 10-8 for Wells when the Warriors stopped attacking, preferring instead to milk the clock.

“The sun was so strong that we didn’t want it going back to that end,” Wells Coach Jodie Lawlor said. “It wasn’t really an orchestrated stall, but we weren’t really shooting, either.”

The Warriors played keep-away for two minutes before a pass strayed out of bounds. Lake Region immediately called time with three minutes remaining.

When play resumed, the Lakers never managed to cross midfield, much less send a shot toward Bolton’s  squinting eyes. Instead, Michaud-Nolan’s tight defense sent a Lake Region midfielder sprawling. Wells picked up the loose ball and went back into a stall that ended only when Lakers Coach Lindsay Keenan pulled her goalie in favor of another defender, but Wells senior Ruby McMinis dumped the ball into the vacant net before the switch could occur.

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“At that point, we knew they were going to hold it for the rest of the game,” Keenan said. “So we needed them to score so we could try to get it back on the draw.”

As for the tight defense that caused the critical turnover, Michaud-Nolan shrugged.

“Well, of course you’ve got to use the body,” she said, “but it’s never going to be intentional.”

The open-netter with a minute and a half left was one of three goals for McMinis. Senior Grace Ramsdell and freshman Callista Leighton each scored twice. Senior Ava Tavares added a goal and three assists.

McMinis, Ramsdell and senior defender Leah Finn all started on the top-seeded Wells basketball team that came up shy of a state title game, having lost in a regional semifinal.

“We were hungry for that state championship for basketball,” McMinis said, “but we might get it in lacrosse together.”

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Senior Abby Elsaesser and junior Rachel Lake each had three goals for Lake Region, which scored in the opening minute and led 2-1 before Wells answered with three straight to take the lead for good. A 5-0 run late in the first half and early in the second gave Wells a 9-3 lead before the Lakers responded.

Bolton finished with four saves. Lake Region goalie Gwen Gagnon made eight. Ramsdell, playing lacrosse for the first time since eighth grade, helped Wells earn a 7-4 advantage on second-half draws.

With Ramsdell in the circle, Tavares snagging balls from the air and Michaud-Nolan scooping them off the ground, Wells was able to regain possession late at critical junctures.

Ramsdell “is making a huge impact on the draw,” Lawlor said. “That team of three really does a phenomenal job for us.”


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