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Waynflete girls drop regional final in OT

Sports

Waynflete girls drop regional final in OT

PORTLAND—The stage was set for the Waynflete girls' soccer team Wednesday afternoon at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

All the third-ranked Flyers had to do to advance to their first state final since 2008 was get past No. 4 St. Dom's in the Western C Final, but it wasn't to be.

After 80 minutes produced no goals or separation between the teams, it was on to overtime and just 62 seconds in, the Saints got a break as a failed clear left senior Dayle Jordan with an open look at the goal and her shot was true, sending St. Dom's to its first Class C Final and sending Waynflete home at 14-3.

"No doubt about it, we're disappointed, to make it this far and not go all the way is disappointing," said Flyers coach Todd Dominski. "We know we did what we had to do out there today, but we just couldn't get our offense going."

Another deep run

Since moving up to Class C for the 2005 season, Waynflete has played in every regional final but one and went all the way to the championship in 2008. Last fall brought a semifinal round loss to Sacopee Valley.

This season, the Flyers featured a nice mix of steady veterans and promising newcomers and produced a superb record.

Waynflete lost at home to Western B powerhouse York in the opener, then won 12 of its next 13 contests, falling only at Western A contender Cape Elizabeth to wind up 12-2. As the No. 3 seed, the Flyers hosted No. 6 Hall-Dale in the quarterfinal round and advanced with a 3-0 victory. Friday, in the semifinals, Waynflete rode an early goal from senior Becky Smith (the 50th of her career) to a 1-0 home win over No. 7 Old Orchard Beach.

St. Dom's, which lost to Sacopee Valley in last year's regional final, started 2-2 this fall, but went 9-1 down the stretch to finish 11-3, good for the No. 4 seed. The Saints held off No. 5 Lisbon, 2-1, in the quarterfinals, then upset top-ranked Dirigo, 2-1, in overtime in the semis, to set up Wednesday's matchup.

Due to poor field conditions and limited parking at Waynflete's Fore River Fields, the game was moved to Fitzpatrick Stadium. The teams had met twice previously in the playoffs with the Flyers winning both, 1-0 in the 2006 semifinals and 3-0 in the 2007 quarterfinals.

Wednesday, Waynflete had chances, but never got the goal it needed to advance.

The first 20 minutes saw the teams feel each other out and scoring chances were non-existent.

Finally, with 19 minutes to go in the first half, the Flyers got the game's first corner kick. It didn't result in a shot.

With 17 minutes remaining, the Saints earned a corner kick, but Waynflete cleared the ball.

With 14:05 showing, Smith's 20-yard free kick was lobbed perfectly and forced St. Dom's senior goalkeeper Mary Caron to leap. Caron bobbled the ball, but managed to cradle it when she landed.

In the 29th minute, on Flyers' corner kick (they had a 6-4 advantage for the game), sophomore Ella Millard got her head on the ball, but Caron made the save.

With 9:57 left before halftime, Jordan, who has perfected the flip/somersault throw in, managed to throw the ball in from the sideline into the box, but Waynflete avoided disaster when it bounced away.

"I've done gymnastics for 15 years," said Jordan. "I picked up a ball and I just tried it and it works."

At the other end, a Smith cross resulted in an easy save.

With 5:20 to go, St. Dom's junior Courtney Costello lofted a shot that Flyers freshman goalkeeper Juliana Harwood had trouble with in the sun. Harwood bobbled the ball, but secured it before Saints junior Kayla McLellan could crash in and bury a rebound.

Less than a minute later, McLellan's rush was broke up by Waynflete sophomore Leigh Fernandez.

With 3:58 left in the half, on a St. Dom's corner kick, junior Kelley McLellan's serve got free in the box, but sophomore Marley Byrne couldn't handle the bouncing ball long enough to release a shot.

Seconds later, Saints junior Sarah Trott had a good look, but shot high.

With 1:48 remaining, St. Dom's freshman Kirsten Conner's cross to Kayla McLellan was snared by Harwood at the last second.

Waynflete did a better job carrying play in the second half, but never could tickle the twine.

The Saints had the first good look of the new half when Kelley McLellan shot just wide.

In the 55th minute, the Flyers had a corner. Smith played the ball short to Millard, who passed to Smith, who shot high.

With 23:24 to in regulation, Smith's lead pass to Millard was broken up, leading to a corner, which didn't result in a shot.

With 14:35 to play, Smith had a free kick from the right, but the ball went out of bounds.

At the 12 minute mark, on a St. Dom's corner, Kelley McLellan set up Byrne, but she shot high and wide. A little over a minute later, a Jordan flip throw again got loose in the box to no avail.

Waynflete had a corner kick with 8:40 remaining, but couldn't finish. A little over a minute later, Smith tried a through ball to junior Sadie Cole, but Caron got there first. Seconds later, Flyers sophomore Walker Foehl had a good look, but her left-footed shot was just wide.

With 5:34 showing, Millard's shot from the side was saved by Caron, but she stepped on the end line, giving Waynflete another corner kick, which was headed out at the last second by an alert Jordan.

Jordan had one last chance to throw the ball in from the side with 30 seconds to play, but the Flyers cleared the ball and it was on to overtime.

In the playoffs, teams play up to two 15-minute "sudden victory" sessions, but it didn't take long at all to ultimately settle this one.

Waynflete actually had one final chance just 35 seconds into OT when Smith's free kick resulted in a loose ball in the box, but Caron made a sprawling save.

St. Dom's then transitioned and made history.

After a failed clear, Jordan pounced on a loose ball and with Harwood racing to try and get back in position, Jordan calmly launched a left-footed shot from about 15-yard out, over Harwood and into the net to give the Saints their first regional championship, 1-0.

"(Waynflete) slid it across trying to get it out," said Jordan. "It was in front of the net and I saw my chance. It was off my left foot which was surprising since I've been working on my left foot all season. I knew I had to get it on net. I hit it well. It was a good shot. I screamed when it went in. It's my senior year and it feels so good.

"We came into it knowing we had to play hard. After the first half, we thought we had this. We knew we were as good as them. We knew they had some key players on the team we had to look out for."

The Flyers were heartbroken.

"It was a fast play," said Smith, of the final shot. "I think it was just a nice finish. We were working so hard. It was a great job on their part. It's disappointing, but we had a really good season. We're a family. That's the most important thing. I think in the second half, there was more for us. It was a very tight game. I didn't expect it to be quite that level, but I did think they'd be good."

"It's a sudden end," Dominski said. "I think it was just a missed clear. The ball popped out and see you later. It was a fair result. Both teams played hard. I knew it would come down to a touch here or a bounce there. I knew they had a lot of seniors and I knew they'd play hard. They did. It was a great goal. She put it away. It was a good season. We accomplished a lot. We had fun.

St. Dom's seeks its first title Saturday at 3 p.m. at Hampden Academy when it meets Central (16-0-1), the top ranked team from Eastern C.

"I hope we can finish it off," Jordan said. "I don't want to sound too cocky, but I hope we can."

As for Waynflete, it looks ahead to 2012, when once again, the Flyers figure to make a deep run.

"We've developed a lot of our younger players really well, so next year will be great," Smith said.

"We return a lot," Dominski said. "We'll have some ammunition."

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Photo: Brian Beard / For The Forecaster

Waynflete junior Sadie Cole plays the ball away from St. Dom's senior Emily Rioux.

Photo: Brian Beard / For The Forecaster

Waynflete junior Isabel Agnew controls the ball at midfield.

Photo: Brian Beard / For The Forecaster

Waynflete freshman goalkeeper Juliana Harwood kicks the ball out of harm's way.

Photo: Brian Beard / For The Forecaster

Waynflete's standout senior Becky Smith, in her final game for the Flyers, battles St. Dom's senior Emily Conner for the ball.