WATERBORO – Gorham matched Massabesic, one goal for one goal, in the second half on Saturday evening, June 10, Celia Begonia doing the honors for the Rams. But the Mustangs had built a lead through the first half, and in the end it proved sufficient to secure them a 4-1 win.
That’s a tight game by a lacrosse standards, and it’s especially tight for most any team facing off with the top-ranked Mustangs. In fact, Massabesic beat the No. 5 Rams 13-1 at the end of the regular season, on May 30.
“I’m so proud of the way our girls played,” Gorham head coach Mary Guimond said. “They played with a lot of heart, a lot of hustle. Showed a lot of mental toughness.”
Mustang attackers Morgan Pike, Maddie Drain and Hallie Benton scored for Massabesic in the first half, all while their defense held the Rams completely silent.
The second half, however, unfolded somewhat differently. Yes, Massabesic increased their lead – but not until almost 20 minutes had elapsed, a credit to Gorham’s defense – and even then, the Mustangs only added one, a Josie Ring strike.
Moreover, it was a mere 15 seconds after that – directly following the next draw – that Begonia struck back for the Rams. Begonia grabbed and charged all the way upfield, ducking and weaving past defenders to face, and beat, Mustangs keeper Lydia Wasina.
“I said, ‘Okay, let’s just keep doing that,’” Guimond said, chuckling, of the way Begonia scored. “Which is much easier said than done. But yeah, get those draws, take those fast breaks. It’s not always there, because their defense sets up so quickly. But it takes seven seconds to score. So at no point in that game should we have felt [Massabesic’s lead] was insurmountable.”
Roughly 30 seconds after Begonia’s goal, leading Rams scorer Marina Pappalardo also punched one home – anyway, she seemed to; an official waved the tally off for an infraction.
The Rams wouldn’t let that deflate them, however. “We’ve tried hard this year to, no matter gets thrown at us, just keep thinking about the next play,” Guimond said. “Try to ride as hard as we can. Which is what Marina did. As soon as that goal got waved off, she rode her butt off to that other restraining line, and I think we caused another turnover.”
Guimond remarked on the difference between the first and second halves. “We had to recognize that, trying to force them where we wanted them to go on defense, once we did that, we had to have the support. We didn’t have that as consistently in the first half.”
Gorham retires till 2018 at 8-6. The Rams entered playoffs at 7-5, then defeated Biddeford 8-7 in the quarterfinals.
“I think we played the best game against them that we could’ve hoped for today,” said Gorham head coach Mary Guimond. “We had a little trouble generating some offense, but we knew that, going in, it was going to be tough. We just couldn’t get any shots off; their defense is a wall.”
Guimond took a moment to laud her own defense. “Our defense stood out, definitely,” she said. “Starting with Paige (Hume, goalkeeper), and Athena (Pappalardo), and Brooke (Greatorex), and Kayla (Stickney) and Sarah (Walker), were just rocks back there.”
Adam Birt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME
Gorham’s Marina Pappalardo would score on this shot, but her goal would be waved off.
Celia Begonia would score Gorham’s only goal of the evening vs. Massabesic.
Hallier Shiers attacks for Gorham.
Faith Dillon unwinds into a shot on a free position for Gorham.