Girls’ overview

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Defending champion Waynflete has won six of the eight state titles since the Maine Principals’ Association began awarding one in 1998. Now that the MPA has recognized the sport’s continued growth by splitting the ranks into Class A and B divisions according to enrollment (830 is the cut-off number), the Flyers will compete in Western Class B.

Middle to small-sized schools in Greater Portland have been playing lacrosse longest with the greatest degree of success. In fact, of the seven girls’ programs to earn at least one berth in the state championship game since ’98, only two, Brunswick and Bonny Eagle, have been reclassified in the A’ division.

That makes for a spirited first season of competition in Western B, where Waynflete is joined by established powers Kennebunk, Greely and Cape Elizabeth. Yarmouth and North Yarmouth Academy should be one-two in the Eastern B division, where Mountain Valley is the lone local representative.

Mid-coast rivals Brunswick and Mt. Ararat headline the Eastern A delegation along with upstart Messalonskee, but don’t count out Lewiston as one of the four playoff qualifiers. The Blue Devils already have shown a propensity for winning the games they should win, and with ease, as evidenced by a 14-6 rout of Lincoln and a 15-8 verdict over Camden Hills. Mallory Long and Amie Daniels provide the scoring punch, with Mary Leblanc wielding experience in the cage.

Kari Pelletier’s explosiveness should keep Oxford Hills competitive in most games, and she’ll have an improved supporting cast that includes Hillary Aube, Abigail Levine and Jaimee Brett.

Boys’ overview

Six is also the magic number on the boys’ side, where Cape Elizabeth has won three-quarters of the sanctioned lacrosse titles. Don’t expect much to change at the top this year, either, as the Capers are a strong favorite to capture the first Western B crown. Kennebunk and Waynflete will challenge for a spot in the regional final.

Yarmouth and NYA are the usual suspects in an Eastern B division otherwise loaded with young, hungry programs. One of the teams in the league with the longest history, and a system that appears to be the upswing once again, is Oak Hill. Kevin LaPlante already has eight- and five-goal games to his credit for the Raiders, who started 3-2 with additional offensive help from Joey Gilbert and Casey Behne.

Portland and Deering are favored to make it an inner-city collision for Western A supremacy, but the established power among the larger schools resides in the East. Brunswick boasts the only state finals appearance among the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference membership. Messalonskee, Mt. Ararat and Lewiston are capable of gaining momentum and challenging the Dragons as the season progresses. Jon Fournier gives the Blue Devils one of the state’s premier scorers.

Edward Little has established itself on the varsity level and broke through with a 5-4 overtime win over Camden Hills this week. Andrew Brodski scored the game-winning goal in that come-from-behind triumph. Oxford Hills and Mt. Blue need to unearth some offense in order to contend for a playoff berth. David LaRoach is the Vikings’ chief threat. Andrew Hardy and Anthony Barker boost the Cougars’ attack.

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