AUGUSTA — Offense, a historic moment and setting up a rematch with a tested rival.

All in a day’s work for the Cony girls lacrosse team.

The Rams, the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Class A playoffs, beat No. 6 Portland 18-12 in the quarterfinal round Wednesday. Leading the offense was senior midfielder Emily Quirion, who scored seven goals, including her 100th career goal.

Quirion becomes the third player in program history to achieve the feat, following Mia Diplock in 2012 and teammate Bayleigh Logan, who notched her 100th goal in the regular-season finale against Oxford Hills on June 4.

“Before this season, I had no idea (100 career goals was possible),” Quirion said.

Quirion scored the milestone goal on a free position shot with 6:19 remaining in the first half, which gave the Rams a 6-4 lead.

“It feels pretty good, especially playing midfield,” Quirion said. “Last year I was playing primarily defense, but I’ve taken more of an attack role this year.”

Hayley Quirion scored five goals for the Rams, while Logan added four goals. Annie Brannigan and Becca Coniff rounded out the scoring with a goal each for Cony (10-3).

Cony used a ball control offense, chewing up time on the play clock by passing the ball around the perimeter of the goal, looking for the open shot. Portland (6-7) used its speed with a fastbreak offense, moving the ball down the field as quickly as possible with long passes. The Bulldogs’ were able to use their speed to score two quick goals to start a second-half comeback, but Cony’s five-goal lead and subsequent answer to Portland’s attack were too much to overcome.

“I thought our passing worked well,” Cony head coach Gretchen Livingston said. “We weren’t perfect. But I was pleased when Portland made a little bit of a run there, we called a timeout and the girls responded and found out they can’t open the door to any team.”

The Rams jumped out to a 3-1 lead with goals by Emily Quirion and two goals by Hayley Quirion. Isabel Stehli and Erin Mahoney scored back-to-back goals for the Bulldogs to tie the score at 3-3. It was the last time the teams would be tied.

Emily Quirion scored three more goals, Hayley Quirion and Logan scored two goals and Brannigan scored a goal to give the Rams an 11-6 lead at halftime.

Hallie Alex scored two goals for Portland to start the second half, but Cony responded with four consecutive goals — two from Emily Quirion — to lengthen the lead to 15-7.

“It’s kind of a theme we saw all season,” Portland head coach Cameron McManus said. “We dug a hole early, came out (in the second half) with fire but couldn’t quite pull away. It’s something we did in our last Cony game, we pulled within two goals after an eight or 10 goal deficit. It’s something we saw before, but couldn’t keep it rolling.”

Stehli scored back-to-back goals for Portland to bring Cony’s lead to 15-10, but Coniff, Emily Quirion and Logan each scored goals to close the door on the Bulldogs.

“(Cony) has a good team,” McManus said. “They’ve been building up for a few years and I think they have some good players in leadership positions where they can have the rest of the team rally around them.”

Alex and Merritt Ryan led Portland with four goals each, while Stehli scored three goals.

Cony will play No. 2 Messalonskee on Friday at Thomas College in the semifinal round. Strangely enough, the Rams beat the Bulldogs in the quarterfinal round last season in order to face the Eagles in the semifinal round, which was also played on the turf at Thomas College. Cony beat Messalonskee 13-10, moving on to the regional final.

“It’s always a great game with them,” Livingston said. “Ashley (Pullen) and I have great respect for each other. The players have respect for the playing ability, because it’s a huge rivalry. It’s always a great, fun game, but my girls are ready. I’m sure Messalonskee’s ready. It’ll be a great Friday night up at Thomas.”

Messalonskee has 2-1 series advantage against Cony this season. The Rams beat the Eagles 11-10 in the season opener April 29. Messalonskee won 12-10 exactly a month later and beat the Rams 16-15 for the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A championship.

“We’re glad (Messalonskee) won, because we want another shot at them,” Emily Quirion said.

Dave Dyer — 621-5639

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer


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