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Sabers comeback falls short vs. Clippers in semis, 12-10

By Tom King - Staff Writer | Jun 2, 2024

Souhegan girls lacrosse players console each other after falling to Portsmouth, 12-10, in the Division I semifinals Saturday in Exeter. (Telegraph photo by TOM KING)

EXETER – It would have been a comeback to remember.

But it just didn’t work out that way Saturday for the Souhegan High School girls lacrosse team in the Division I semifinals. The Sabers fought back from a 7-2 first half deficit to grab the lead early in the fourth quarter, only to fall short 12-10 at the hands of top seeded Portsmouth at Bill Ball Stadium.

“This team, all season long, we’ve just kind of battled back, and not let momentum dictate what was going to happen to us,” McKinley Curro-Sbordone said. “They could have shrunk, but they stepped up. I’m so proud of our team.”

Souhegan got it one and only lead with 10:05 left at 10-9. The Clippers scored the next three to seal the deal and put themselves in their second straight Division I Final Tuesday here at Bill Ball Stadium. They’ll face No. 3 Bishop Guertin, which beat No. 2 Bedford 14-11 in the earlie semi.

Portsmouth’s Morgan Ruhnke tied it at 10 with 8:53 to go, and four minutes later Syracuse-bound Annie Parker got the game winner, 11-10. Raegan Lawton’s spin move to score with 3:12 left gave the Clippers (16-2) that 12-10 advantage.

“We came out with a lot of fire, and a lot of high energy and wanting it,” Portsmouth coach JoJo Curro, sister of Curro-Sbordone, said. “Then we got a little complacent, that happens in lacrosse.

“Whenever there was a lull, they capitalized on it and it took us a bit go get going again. But when we did, we made smart choices.”

Portsmouth led 5-1 after one quarter, but the Sabers crept closer to 8-5 at the half. And then Souhegan got its offense in gear. Overall, the Sabers were led by Libby Kennedy’s four goals, two each by Natalie Heimarck and Abby Giannetti, and singles from Isabelle Stevenson and Emma Kennedy. They scored the first three goals of the third quarter, tying the game on Stevenson’s goal, only to see the Clippers take a 9-8 lead on a Reagan Lawton goal with 1:09 left in the third. And the battle was on.

Parker led Portsmouth with four goals, while Ruhnke had three, and two each were by Lily Patterson and Lawton. Ginger Vinciguerra and Georgia Bouvier had single goals.

Souhegan’s Isabelle Stevenson (1) looks to make a move against Portsmouth’s Addie Delisle as Clippers goalie Sage Bussiere looks on during Saturday’s Division I semifinal in Exeter. (Telegraph photo by TOM KING)

As for the goalies, both stood tall as Souhegan’s Emma Crisman had seven saves and Portmouth’s Sage Bussiere had six.

“We had it,” McKinley-Curro said while also lamenting the fact her team had four yellow cards. “I’m proud they stayed composed and we continued to fight until the last second.

“This is the semifinal game that I wanted to see out of this team. Obviously I wanted us to win, but we have so much youth on our side so this is so positive for the program.

“But it’s a tough one to lose.”

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