(Ed. Note: For the complete Yarmouth-Waynflete, Yarmouth-Greely and Yarmouth-Freeport game stories, please visit theforecaster.net)
The Yarmouth girls’ lacrosse team, the reigning Eastern Class B champion, figured to be in its share of dramatic games this spring, but the Clippers have packed a season’s worth into just four games.
And there’s still a long way to go.
Yarmouth dropped its opener at Scarborough, 9-7, back on April 26, but in a six-day span beginning last Wednesday, the Clippers played three memorable contests.
First, Yarmouth not only got past nemesis Waynflete for the first time in three years, but absolutely crushed the state’s flagship program. Next, the Clippers dug a six-goal hole against visiting Greely, but managed to rally and win. Then, Monday afternoon, Yarmouth won a playoff rematch at Freeport, giving longtime coach Dorothy Holt her career 100th victory.
The Clippers had lost five straight games to Waynflete, including three last season, capped by a 7-4 setback in the Class B state final, but this time, on a chilly night, they had the answers.
Yarmouth got a boost in the first half from first-year goalie, sophomore Sarah Kirk, who made five clutch saves, then, the goals started to come, as the hosts buried their first 10 shots.
With 15:12 to go before halftime, senior standout Grace O’Donnell fed junior Emma Torres and the Clippers had the lead for good. That type of teamwork was symbolic of Yarmouth’s attack all day and the hosts gradually opened up a 5-1 lead.
Then, late in the half, junior Shannon Fallon scored on a free position and as time expired, junior Lane Simsarian did the same and to the shock of everyone on hand, the Clippers took a 7-1 advantage to the break.
Knowing how good and proud its opponent is, Yarmouth didn’t let down in the second half and poured it on behind a couple goals from O’Donnell.
A tally from sophomore Lilly Watson with 8:32 to play induced a running clock, but the Flyers eventually ended a 37-plus-minute scoring drought and added two more goals before the Clippers put the finishing touches on their 11-4 victory.
O’Donnell paced the offense with four goals. Simsarian added three and Fallon had a pair.
“We have such strong players on attack that it’s really hard to shut one person down because others will be open,” O’Donnell said.
“We wanted this so badly,” said Simsarian. “We played really well in the state game (even though we lost). Everybody stepped up today.”
“It’s amazing,” senior defensive standout Julia Primeau said. “There’s not many words to put to it. We worked hard and it paid off. This gives us confidence moving forward.”
Yarmouth hadn’t lost to Greely since 2005, but it sure looked as if the Clippers were heading that way Friday when the Rangers dominated the draw circle, showed their athleticism and raced to a 9-3 lead.
But they play two halves for a reason.
Yarmouth came out for the second half a new team, one that was inspired and simply unstoppable and it took just over three minutes to cut a five-goal deficit to two.
With 15:36 remaining, Yarmouth senior Molly Maguire continued her sizzling early season play by registering the tying goal.
Then, it was Fallon’s turn. Fallon scored an unassisted goal with 10:44 to play and the Clippers had a 10-9 lead.
“Last year, I didn’t see much playing time, but this year, I’m in a different position,” Fallon said. “I haven’t played a lot of low attack, but I’m loving it.”
Junior Emma Torres produced an insurance tally a little over a minute later.
“We were a little annoyed in the first half because we knew we could play better,” said Torres. “It’s all about heart and the team and playing for each other. We just brought it the second half.”
From there, the Clippers defense and freshman goalie Mary Kate Gunville, seeing her first varsity action, slammed the door and the end result was a stirring 11-9 victory.
“I was kind of scared at first, because I’d never played a varsity game before,” said Gunville (eight saves). “I was nervous, but all the girls helped.
Yarmouth got three goals apiece from Maguire and Torres, eight huge saves from Gunville and blanked Greely in the second half.
“We have so much heart and we realized we could play with anybody and that pulled us through,” Maguire said. “We were exhausted, but we knew what we had to do and we had to trust our skills and each other. After we tied it, we realized we could win. That momentum helped us pull it off.”
“It took the character of 19 players on this team,” said Holt. “This is the biggest character builder. It’s one of the toughest games I’ve ever coached. Ever.”
That set the stage for Monday.
Yarmouth shot to a 7-1 lead at Freeport Monday, as O’Donnell scored four times. The Clippers continued to pour it on in the second half and held the Falcons scoreless for 29 minutes, 30 seconds before ultimately prevailing, 14-3, behind six goals from O’Donnell and three more from Maguire.
When the game ended, Holt was mobbed by her players and was given a celebratory dousing.
Reaction to Holt’s 100th victory was swift and overwhelming.
“It’s so exciting,” O’Donnell said. “Dorothy’s such a special coach. She means so much to every player. She’s helped with our confidence. We didn’t want to make it too big of a deal, because we’re superstitious, but we wanted it for Dorothy. She totally deserves it. We’re so happy to get it for her.”
“It means a lot to everybody,” senior defender and captain Abby Belisle-Haley said. “To people who graduated and to current players as well. She gives so much to the program. She jokes about spending more time with us than her own kids. That kind of dedication is what we admire so much and really, really cherish. The reason we’re so good is because of Dorothy.”
“Dorothy is a brilliant coach,” added Greely coach Becca Koelker, who served as an assistant to Holt for two seasons at Yarmouth. “No matter how much “talent” she has, she knows how to get the best out of each player. She inspires her players to work hard, holding them to high expectations. She can diagnose play on the field and make adjustments to help her team succeed. She pours her heart in to that program and in return has earned much well-deserved success.”
Holt made it clear she’s loved every minute of her 10 seasons.
“I do this for the love of the sport and the love of these girls who work so hard,” Holt said. “Every group has its special attributes and each group brings its own momentum and enthusiasm. That’s what I feed off of. My challenge is to make them perform to the best of their ability and to the best of their academic ability. That’s what I thrive on. I love to see them grow as players and more importantly, as people. It’s interesting to see them come back after they graduate. It’s not just a four-year thing.”
Yarmouth’s ultimate goal isn’t to be good in early May, it wants to win the championship and the Clippers still need to fine tune some things.
They went to Gould Wednesday, then will have their next test Wednesday of next week at Kennebunk.
“We’re ready to take Gould on Wednesday,” O’Donnell said. “That will be a good game. We’ll play hard. Kennebunk’s definitely one of the top teams. We look forward to it. We like a challenge.”
“We have a tough couple weeks coming up on the road,” Holt said. “We still have some things to work on. It’s still a long road.”
Let the quest for 200 begin.
Yarmouth girls’ lacrosse coach Dorothy Holt is doused by seniors Julia Primeau (right) and Abby Belisle-Haley following Monday’s 14-3 win at Freeport, which happened to be the 100th of Holt’s tenure with the Clippers.
Yarmouth junior Shannon Fallon fights Freeport senior Shelby Sawyer for a loose ball during Monday’s game.