SOUTH PARIS — After back-to-back wins this week, Sarah Proulx was hoping her team’s momentum might carry through the weekend.
That wasn’t quite how it turned out for the Oxford Hills girls’ lacrosse team Saturday.
The wins over Bonny Eagle and Lewiston didn’t help fuel the inspired effort against Cony that Proulx had hoped. The Vikings got down early and spent the rest of the day battling back in a 13-6 loss.
“For my team, it’s about work ethic,” said Proulx. “The core players have to step it up and get the job done. This past week, was a great week for them. I wanted them to carry the momentum with them.”
Instead, the Rams (5-1) scored 3:20 into the game and built a commanding 6-0 lead before the Vikings began to respond. Oxford Hills rallied and got within four in the second half, but the deficit was just too great to make up for a team that only had a couple of subs to utilize.
Cony is ranked third in Eastern A while the Vikings are currently eighth.
“I think they finally took it a little more seriously,” said Proulx, who was missing a starting defender because of family commitments. “We talked at the beginning that they had to be ready, and that this game would have brought us right to the top. Cony has a great record. They’re a very competitive team. They’re a great team, but we were supposed to be a little more evenly matched.”
Kayla Vachon led the Rams with four goals while Cassie Diplock and Macy Pagurko each had three. Mia Diplock had a goal and three assists. The Vikings (3-3) got three goals from Ebony Mills and two from Heather Knights. Oxford Hills goalie Mariah Kimball was outstanding, stopping 29 shots as Cony outshot the Vikings 43-16.
“I thought the captains definitely played their hearts out today,” said Proulx of tri-captains Kimball, Knights and Mills. “All three of them. With 29 saves, that would be a pretty high scoring game.”
Cony possessed the ball early and had the Vikings on its heels for much of the first half. The Rams passed the ball effectively and set up plenty of shots. Michele Bolduc converted a Mia Diplock pass 3:20 into the game. Then after a Cassie Diplock goal, Vachon scored back-t0-back. Chelsea Begin and Vachon scored to make it 6-0 with 6:49 left in the half.
“We maintained possession,” said Cony coach Gretchen Livingston, who was missing five varsity players, two starters, of her own. “We won a lot of the balls. When we had it, we took control of it. We had some great passing combinations up and down the field and had a lot of scoring opportunities.”
By late in the half, the Vikings started to come to life and settled in defensively. Oxford Hills got on the board when Knights scored in the final minute. The Vikings had some momentum, and Proulx says she didn’t want the whistle to blow to halt the half.
“I called timeout and told them that we were not playing as a team,” said Proulx. “We were using a few core people. We weren’t using everyone. In the games we won last week, it was because we used everyone. We used our passing game and we weren’t forcing it.”
Hannah Warren scored early in the second half for the Vikings, but Cony answered with goals from Pagurko and Vachon. Knights and Pagurko traded tallies before Mills scored twice. The second one, with 8:17 left, got the Vikings within 9-5. The Rams answered with a tally from Cassie Diplock and one from Pagurko off a dead ball with 5:21 left to pad the lead. Mills added another goal, but the Rams finished the game off with late scores from Mia and Cassie Diplock.
“We were happy with the first 23 minutes and not happy with the letdown before the half,” said Livingston. “I don’t think in the second half we played as well as we did in the first half.”