AUGUSTA — It was a tale of two halves Wednesday in a Class B girls lacrosse playoff prelim between No. 8 Cony and No. 9 Brunswick.

Check that. It was the tale of a half of a half.

After quickly trailing 4-0, the Rams took a timeout, took a breath, and began to fight, ultimately trailing the Dragons 7-5 at halftime.

Cony gave an even greater effort in the second half, but Brunswick rode the hot goaltending of Mickaela Aschbrenner on the way to a 9-7 win.

Brunswick (6-7) will play at No. 1 Yarmouth on Saturday in the quarterfinals. Cony finished 7-6.

CLOSE GAME: The Rams nipped at the heels of the Dragons throughout the second half, trailing by a goal until the final two minutes. Cony had more than twice the amount of shots Brunswick had in the second half, but Aschbrenner — who finished with 16 saves — denied several scoring opportunities.

The Dragons kept each other going during timeouts, despite the change in momentum.

“We were just giving each other motivators,” Aschbrenner said. “We wouldn’t have to work on Saturday if we won. We just wanted to keep our heads in the game and really do it for our seniors. We just told each other that we needed to play our position, play hard and don’t give up.”

Beth Labbe sealed the game for the Dragons with 1:44 remaining, bull rushing the net and snapping a shot past Cony goalkeeper Sarah Cook-Wheeler for the final 9-7 score.

Labbe and Colleen McKearney each tallied two goals in the opening 15 minutes. After their timeout, the Rams responded, as Sydney Avery took a Sarah Caron pass in front of the net and slipped a shot past Aschbrenner for a 4-1 score.

Kami Lambert, Lauren Coniff and Faith Leathers-Pouliot scored for Cony, making it a 7-5 game at the half.

Cony coach Gretchen Livingston reminded her team during their first timeout to keep focus and regain confidence.

“I encouraged them to be confident with the ball in their sticks,” Livingston said. “They came out frantic almost in the first half of the first half and didn’t play with confidence…Just a simple reminder that ‘You can do this,” and ‘breathe.’ I think they responded well to that, knowing a quarter (of the game) was done and we needed to win the rest of that half.”

Avery led the Rams with three goals. Caron added a goal for Cony. Labbe led the Dragons with three goals, while McKearney and Emily Coffin each had two scores.

QUEEN OF CLUTCH: Aschbrenner — a junior — had eight of her 16 saves in the second half alone. But her two most timely saves came in the final minutes. Cony had two free position shots — where the chances of netting a goal are high — but Aschbrenner stoned both shots cold.

“I just knew I really wanted to win,” Aschbrenner said. “It’s only my junior year, but I’m really passionate about the sport, and I know our team really wanted it. When we’re up one (goal), it’s really close and I didn’t want to let them down. I just wanted to keep it close and make sure my team stayed ahead.”

The Rams were no stranger to Aschbrenner, having seen her earlier in the season.

“Mickaela is very good,” Livingston said. “We saw her the first week of the season; we knew what we were up against. Unfortunately, in the second half we could not move her the way that we needed to. We had plenty of opportunities, and we just didn’t capitalize on them.”

WIN IT FOR FRIENDLY’S: Food can be an excellent motivator. For the Dragons, that motivation (on some levels) pushed the team in the second half. Players began to shout “Win it for Friendly’s!” throughout the stanza.

Sure enough, after the win, Brunswick was on its way to celebrate its win at a Friendly’s Restaurant.

“It happened during halftime,” Aschbrenner said. “Someone said it, so we all got hyped up (about it). Now we’re all going to Friendly’s.”

EXCITING FUTURE: The Rams have reason to be optimistic next season. Cony graduates just three senior players — Caron, Coniff and Brooke Metcalf. Several key pieces return for Cony, including Cook-Wheeler, Leathers-Pouliot and Lambert — who showed superior speed than that of her peers throughout Wednesday’s contest.

“This group that we have remaining is very resilient, demonstrates a lot of heart and desire,” Livingston said. “I love our three senior captains. I’m very excited for what our future holds.”

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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