Clutching the championship medal draped around her neck, Ruby Sliwkowski tried to describe her Kennebunk High girls’ lacrosse team.

“We always call ourselves a second-half team,” she said. “You know what? I take that back. We’re a first-three-minutes team. We come out hot. The best part about this team is, even if we’re down, we know we can get back up there. Nothing changes in our head. It’s still zero-zero to us.”

The point was, the Rams are very, very good. And now they’re back-to-back Class A state champions.

A junior, Sliwkowski scored six goals Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium, including all four of her team’s goals in the second half, to lead the Rams to an 11-8 win over Yarmouth.

Kennebunk (16-0) extended its winning streak to 32 games. Yarmouth, the winner of last season’s Class B state title, ends its first season in Class A at 12-4.

“No one counted on us being here. These girls showed what they can do,” said Yarmouth Coach Dorothy Holt.

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Yarmouth scored just two minutes into the game, with Clancy Walsh’s goal giving Kennebunk a rare deficit. The Rams trailed for just 31 seconds. Grace Archer scored the first of her back-to-back goals to tie the game, and her second with 21:03 left in the first half put Kennebunk ahead for good.

Kennebunk led 7-2 at the half, and 11-6 on Sliwkowski’s goal with 5:43 to play. Yarmouth’s Neena Panozzo scored a pair of goals 24 seconds apart with just under five minutes remaining to cut the Clippers’ deficit to three goals, but that was as close as Yarmouth would get.

The Rams did an excellent job defensively on Yarmouth’s high-scoring Katelyn D’Appolonia, holding the senior to one goal that came with 8:25 left in the game. D’Appolonia scored 18 goals in the North tournament, including 10 in a semifinal win over Cheverus. It was sophomore Calia Keenan’s job to stick with D’Appolonia and face guard her as much as possible.

“She got around me once in the crease, but it was just about recovering and not letting that get to you. I knew we had a job to get done, and I worked my hardest,” Keenan said.

Sliwkowski was impressed by Keenan’s defense.

“(Keenan) was nervous. I could tell. But she just brought it today, and I’m so proud of her,” Sliwkowski said. “You have to take risks against a skilled team like Yarmouth. That is anticipating passes. Getting an interception. It’s staying composed.”

Lizzy Hayes made six saves in the first half for the Rams, while Lily Hansen stopped four shots in the second half. The plan going into the game was to use both goalies, with Hansen playing the second half because of her experience in the state final last season.

“We felt like both goalies have given us everything. We’ve been alternating them all season. They both needed to play. Our goalie wasn’t going to lose us the game,” Barker said.

Juliet Means made four saves for the Clippers.


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