WATERVILLE — If Tuesday’s game was any indication, the race for the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B girls lacrosse championship is shaping up to be a good one.
Morse High School (8-1) scored with 2.6 seconds remaining to grab an 11-10 victory over Gardiner Area High School (6-3) in a showdown between Eastern Class B frontrunners in a game Thomas College hosted.
“We’re hoping that the two of us are in (the KVAC B championship) again,” Shipbuilders coach Linda Levesque said. “They’re a tough team, and they’ve improved a lot since the beginning (of the season).”
While Gardiner ultimately fell just short, the Tigers were staying positive after the loss.
“After tough games like that, you have to get back up and play because if you don’t, the next game you play you’re not going to have that momentum going into it,” Gardiner senior Ally Day said. “You’ve just got to pick it up and keep going.
“…Morse is (one of) our toughest competitors this year. We’re hoping to make it into the KVAC game against them and win. They’re a tough competitor. We’re both really great teams and I like playing against them.”
Day led the Tigers with five goals and an assist, but was forced to watch the game’s conclusion from the sidelines.
Gardiner coach Chad Kirk called a timeout with 37.2 seconds remaining, and drew up a play to get Day the ball.
After the reset, the senior midfielder took possession just on Morse’s side of center but was promptly met with a double team. The Shipbuilders managed to force a turnover with about 20 seconds to play and Day was then whistled for a foul, giving Morse a player advantage.
“Sometimes you put it in the hands of your best players and sometimes it works out. Sometimes it doesn’t,” Kirk said. “Maybe next time we use her as a diversion. Who knows? You live and you learn.”
Morse’s Isabelle Paulus proceeded to race up the middle of the field and fire a shot on Gardiner goalkeeper Madison Cutler. The senior was there for the initial stop but the ball caromed perfectly to Morse’s Maddie Olson, who swept in the rebound to win it for the Shipbuilders.
“Being a goalie is hard,” Kirk said. “It’s unforgiving.”
Cutler finished with 11 saves for Gardiner, while senior Brooke Curtis notched a hat trick. Sophie Sreden led Morse with three goals, while Ruth Nadeau and Ann Tolan scored two each.
The Tigers will be back in action Thursday at 4 p.m. when they host Mountain Valley (1-9), and will have a quick turnaround as they host Greely (3-5) on Friday also at 4 p.m.
Evan Crawley——621-5640 | email@example.com | Twitter: Evan_Crawley