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Torres' return sparks Yarmouth past Falmouth, 13-8

Sports

Torres' return sparks Yarmouth past Falmouth, 13-8

FALMOUTH—Wednesday evening, eight days after playing a one-goal thriller, the Yarmouth and Falmouth girls' lacrosse teams met up again.

The Clippers took the last meeting at home, coming from behind to win, 13-12, and this time they posted 13 goals again and pulled away in the second half to a relatively easy 13-8 triumph on Falmouth's Senior Night.

Even better, Yarmouth reveled in the return of one its stars and leaders, senior Danielle Torres, who missed two games and almost all of a third with an ankle injury. It took her a half to hit her stride, but Torres scored three times in the second half to spark her team to victory.

Senior Becca Bell had her usual stellar game, scoring four times, senior goalie Stephanie Moulton made 10 second half saves and the Clippers frustrated the high-powered Yachtsmen to improve to 10-1, leaving Falmouth 6-5.

"I feel really good," said Torres, a top scorer and the state's lone reigning All-American. "I was kind of timid in the beginning, just working back into it, but it feels so good to be back with the team. I missed playing with them. They've kept the intensity up since I was gone. It felt really good to get back in the game."

Lucky 13

Yarmouth, Eastern B runners-up each of the past three seasons, had no trouble in its first three games this spring, scoring the same number of goals in wins at defending Class B champion North Yarmouth Academy (16-9), defending Class A champion Scarborough (16-11) and Cape Elizabeth (16-6). The Clippers were finally bested by a goal at Waynflete, 11-10, but bounced back with home wins over York (18-10), Freeport (17-7), Marshwood (6-2), Falmouth and last Thursday, NYA (8-5).

In the Marshwood win, Torres tweaked her ankle in the first half and didn't return. She was chomping at the bit to play last week, but sat out the first Falmouth game and the showdown with the rival Panthers as well. She returned to practice Tuesday and was cleared to return to action.

Falmouth, meanwhile, has been up and down, but always competitive in winning six of its first 10 outings. The Yachtsmen enjoyed a 16-7 home win over Greely to start the year, then suffered an 18-10 home loss to nemesis Waynflete, but they responded with victories at Massabesic (17-3), York (17-7) and at home over NYA (13-10), their first-ever win over the Panthers, and Cape Elizabeth (a come-from-behind 11-9 decision). Falmouth then dropped three straight to top-notch teams, Brunswick, 10-4, Yarmouth and Waynflete (12-8). Saturday, the Yachtsmen got back in the win column, downing Freeport, 17-7.

Yarmouth's win over Falmouth last week was its ninth without a loss dating back to 2002 and the Clippers did it again Wednesday.

Just 1 minute, 23 seconds in, Bell scored unassisted, beating Falmouth senior goalie Jen Greene. The Yachtsmen tied the score just 46 seconds later when senior Laura Fay beat Moulton unassisted and the hosts grabbed a 2-1 lead when Fay scored unassisted in transition with 22:16 to play in the 25-minute first half.

Yarmouth tied the score 30 seconds later when unheralded senior Lindsey Purpura scored unassisted.

Then, with 18:23 showing, Torres, who did not start, returned to the field.

"The thing about (Danielle) is that she's there every day in practice anyway, so we didn't miss her presence," said Clippers coach Dorothy Holt. "She's e-mailing (the girls), talking to them. It was great for her to get back in."

Yarmouth retook the lead, 3-2, on a Bell free position goal with 15:57 to play in the half, but just 17 seconds later, sophomore Geneva Waite set up senior Jenna Page for the tying score.

Then, with 12:38 remaining, the visitors went on top to stay when senior Natalie Salmon passed to classmate Devin Simsarian, who found the net for a 4-3 lead.

Salmon (from Purpura) scored at 11:13 to make it 5-3 and after nearly nine scoreless minutes, Simsarian (from another unheralded senior, Anne Ryan) struck to push the lead to 6-3.

With 1:51 to go before halftime, Falmouth ended a 13 minute, 49 second drought when sophomore Molly Ryan scored on a free position.

With 42.9 seconds showing, Bell made a nice catch of a pass from Purpura, executed a pretty spin move, then beat Greene to make it 7-4. The Yachtsmen answered with 10.8 second to go when Ryan threw the ball near the cage and senior Jess DiPhillippo tipped it past Moulton.

Yarmouth looked to add one more goal as time wound down, but Greene denied Bell at the horn and the Clippers' lead remained 7-5 at the break.

Falmouth had some good looks early in the second half to cut into the deficit, but Moulton made four clutch saves to keep Yarmouth on top.

"Steph made four key saves in a row, game changers," Holt said. "They could have come back there, but the girls played well together as a team."

With 20:18 to play, Bell scored on a free position to stretch the lead to 8-5. With 18:50 remaining, Salmon scored unassisted in transition and Falmouth coach Robin Haley called timeout.

It didn't change momentum.

With 17:45 left, Torres, who played in a stretches of roughly five minutes before taking breathers, scored her first goal since the win over Freeport, taking a pass from Salmon, eluding a defender, then tickling the twine to make it 10-5.

"I was really happy to see Danielle back," said Yarmouth junior defender Jeanna Lowery. "I thought she'd be timid, but she scored and it was amazing."

With 15:49 to go, senior Mariah Lanfer (from Simsarian) scored in transition. With 10:56 left, Torres scored unassisted and the Clippers were cruising, up 12-5.

The Yachtsmen finally ended a 16 minute drought and the 5-0 Yarmouth run when DiPhillippo scored unassisted with 9:10 remaining, but just 15 seconds later, Bell set up Torres for a goal and a 13-6 lead.

Late Falmouth goals from sophomore Angela Mallis (on a free position) and senior Caitlin Costello (from Waite) accounted for the 13-8 final score.

"We got our composure together in the second half," said Torres. "Coach was really proud of our shot selection and ball movement in the second half. We played very strong."

Bell continued to stake her All-American claim with another dominant effort, scoring a game-high four goals. Torres wound up with three, while Salmon and Simsarian each had two. Lanfer and Purpura both added one. Purpura, Ryan, Salmon and Simsarian had assists. Bell grabbed a team-high seven ground balls, while Simsarian finished with five, Lowery, Ryan, Salmon and junior Claudia Lockwood had four each. Moulton made 14 saves, 10 of which came in the second half.

"(Steph) made some big saves," Lowery said. "I felt like we communicated better in the second half and worked as one. We showed we could do it without key players and everyone else has stepped up. There aren't just a few people on the team who are good. Everyone is."

"I switched things up today," Holt said. "Danielle, we're working her back in the lineup and trying to give other players some rest. (Everyone) just did a great job today. They're starting to get into their stride. I don't think we've peaked yet, but we're working hard in practice. The youngers really step up when they need to and the seniors take them along. This team is just so awesome. I haven't had a team as cohesive as this in a long time. You have to give a lot of credit to the three leaders."

The Yachtsmen (who are playing without injured offensive sparkpluge sophomore Alex Bernier, who hopes to return for the playoffs) got two goals each from DiPhillippo and Fay, while Costello, Mallis, Page and Ryan all scored once. Waite had two assists, Ryan one. Ryan and junior Vanessa Audet tied for game-high honors in ground balls with eight each. Senior Abbey Cavalero and DiPhillippo both had five. Page and sophomore Katie Cooleen grabbed four apiece. Greene made five saves.

Falmouth did get some good news in the draw circle. While Yarmouth dominated in the first meeting (winning 20 of 27), the Yachtsmen finished with a 13-10 advantage this time around as Ryan won 12-of-19 encounters.

"Molly did a great job," said Haley. "We just couldn't hit the net. Their pressure defense gave us a hard time today. We had a hard time with transition. Their goalie had some great saves. It was frustrating. We're glad to get shots off, but she made key saves and we couldn't execute."

Audet went 1-of-3 and Costello 0-for-1.

Bell won 8-of-19 draws for the Clippers, while Simsarian went 2-for-4.

The Yachtsmen also had a slim edge in ground balls (45-44), outshot the visitors, 29-24 and put 22 shots on cage, to just 18 for Yarmouth.

The Clippers finished with 27 turnovers to 21 for Falmouth, but that was a far cry better than the 36 they had in the first meeting.

"We still had quite a few turnovers, but a lot less than last game," Holt said. "That and our shot selection made a difference."

One left

Falmouth finishes the regular season at depleted NYA Tuesday. The Yachtsmen are second in the Western Class B Heal Points standings and are hoping to hold off Cape Elizabeth to guarantee a home game in the semifinal round of the playoffs.

"The goal is to try and make playoffs and see what we can do there," Haley said. "We have things we need to improve on. We hope to put it together."

Yarmouth has the top spot in Eastern B locked up and hopes to finish strong when it goes to Greely Friday and hosts Waynflete on its Senior Night June 1.

"I still feel like we haven't peaked yet and I think we can continue getting better," Lowery said.

"(Waynflete) will be a big game for us psychologically after our loss to them by one goal," Torres said. "I think we view them as a really solid, composed, talented team. It will take a lot of mental preparation on our part. Some of the games we've won were really, really close and it was so good to see the perseverance. That shows a lot about our team. I'm really excited to see that going into the playoffs."

"We still have a long way to go," Holt added. "We're not ending on an easy note. Greely's playing well. I have a lot of respect for Waynflete. They're a great team with a great coach. Every game will be great from here out. I'll be nice to be home (in the playoffs). We like that."

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