Yarmouth hits "Sweet 16" again in win at Scarborough
SCARBOROUGH—The Yarmouth girls' lacrosse team is playing its first four games this spring away from home, against very good teams, but halfway into the road trip, the Clippers are soaring.
Saturday morning, just four days removed from an inspirational 16-9 season-opening triumph at top rival and recent playoff nemesis North Yarmouth Academy, Yarmouth posted 16 more goals, overcoming a slow start to beat defending Class A champion Scarborough, 16-11.
The Clippers turned this one around in the first half, scoring six times in 6 minutes, 38 seconds, grabbed the lead for good and never looked back.
Senior standouts Devin Simsarian and Danielle Torres both scored five times and Yarmouth's team defense (playing without senior leader Kate Dilworth) turned it up as the game progressed and the Clippers improved to 2-0, while dropping the Red Storm to 2-1.
"We've gotten down before," said Simsarian. "Last year, we wouldn't have been able to come back like this, but we don't get down as a team this year. We knew we had to step it up."
Yarmouth won 10 games a year ago, but lost in the regional final, 9-5, at NYA. This spring, the Clippers are the favorite in Eastern B and they certainly put on a show in the season opening win at the Panthers, as senior Becca Bell led the way with seven goals.
Scarborough won all 15 games it played in 2010, capped by an 11-7 Class A title game win over Mt. Ararat. Along the way, the Red Storm won at Yarmouth, 13-9, their first ever victory over the Clippers. So far in 2011, Scarborough had no trouble at Sanford (14-5) and at home versus Portland (11-4), extending its win streak to 17.
The Red Storm's run would end Saturday.
Scarborough couldn't have asked for a better start.
Senior Dani Foster beat Bell on the opening draw and the Red Storm grabbed an immediate 1-0 lead when Foster passed to senior Erica Meader, who batted a shot past Yarmouth senior goalie Stephanie Moulton.
A minute later, junior Laura Przybylowicz scored unassisted and with 22:45 to go in the 25-minute first half, junior Kelsey Howard (from junior Mary Scott) found the net to give the hosts a quick 3-0 lead.
The Clippers didn't panic.
With 21:57 left in the half, senior Natalie Salmon scored on a free position to get things started. After both Torres and Simsarian were denied by Scarborough sophomore goalie Meg Kirsch, Salmon set up Simsarian for a goal with 14:08 remaining. Yarmouth drew even with 12:32 to go when senior Anne Ryan set up classmate Mariah Lanfer for a goal and 37 seconds later, Simsarian scored on a free position to put the visitors ahead to stay.
"From the start, the intensity wasn't up," Simsarian said. "We were a little sore from our first week of games, but down 3-0 is nothing. We didn't panic."
"We all have stamina so I wasn't worried," said junior defender Caitlin Crawford. "I thought we could come back. We were just a little tired, but we got the nerves out."
"It wasn't pretty today," added Yarmouth coach Dorothy Holt. "We struggled a little bit, but we were coming off a mental win on Tuesday and an early-morning start. My girls got on the bus at 8. We started slow and regrouped. I chose not to take a timeout (down 3-0). They needed to work through it. They knew what needed to be done."
Torres (from junior Claudia Lockwood) got in the scoring column with 11:01 remaining in the half. Simsarian and senior Lindsey Purpura added unassisted goals to stretch the lead to 7-3 with 7:30 to go before halftime.
Scarborough finally ended the 7-0 run and a 15 minute, 30 second drought when junior Maggie Smith scored unassisted with 7:15 left. Smith (from Foster) struck again 33 seconds later to make it a two-goal game, but Bell (from Purpura), Torres (unassisted, after a steal) and Simsarian (unassisted, after a draw win) answered in a 2 minute, 33 second span to make it 10-5.
Przybylowicz (from Smith) and Torres (from Simsarian) traded goals before the break, making it 11-6 Clippers at the midway point.
"I think our offense did a good job of drawing the defense away from the ball and that opened up space for our midfielders," Simsarian said. "That's one of our big strengths. We have so many girls who can score and so much talent. We try to highlight everyone's strength. Our big strength is using our speed in the midfield to get the ball on offense."
Scarborough started strong again in the second half, cutting the deficit to 11-7 when Howard scored an unassisted goal with 21:15 to play, but despite having opportunities after several Yarmouth turnovers, the Red Storm never drew closer.
With 18:09 left, Bell put home a rebound. A mere 19 seconds later, Lockwood scored unassisted and the lead was 13-7. Smith scored two goals in 22 seconds (the first from sophomore Sarah Martens, the second unassisted) to make it 13-9, but Torres (unassisted, in transition with 10:14 to go), Torres (unassisted with 8:09 to play) and Simsarian (unassisted with 5:47 left) pushed the lead to seven and essentially salted the win away.
The Red Storm got cosmetic goals from Howard (unassisted with 4:03 showing) and senior Meghan Quirk (on a rebound with 5.7 seconds remaining) to account for the 16-11 final.
"I think we just all worked together," Crawford said. "We've pushed really hard during practice. We all boost each other's morale. I think it was a team effort. Our attack played really well today. It was impressive."
Simsarian and Torres led the offense with five goals apiece, but they had plenty of help as Bell scored twice and Lanfer, Lockwood, Purpura and Salmon all tickled the twine once. Lockwood, Purpura, Ryan, Salmon and Simsarian each had one assist. Moulton stopped five shots. Torres led everyone on the field with a dozen ground balls. Junior Jeanna Lowery grabbed eight, Simsarian had seven and Purpura six.
"Even the underclassmen stepped up today," Holt said. "I used a lot of subs and everyone came through. Danielle's really taken over as the defender of the middies right now. She's making key interceptions, then Becca and Devin do the scoring. Danielle sits back and waits for her opportunities."
Unquantified was the effort of the defense, playing without Dilworth (who suffered a mild concussion in the win at NYA and hopes to be back next week).
"I feel like if the defense plays well, the attack plays well," Crawford said. "We feed off each other. It's a team effort. Hopefully we'll continue it through the season. It's a good start."
"We shifted a few people around on defense and it's coming together," Holt said. "Kate's such the voice on the defense. A few of the younger girls back there had to come out and really step up and they did today. They were nervous and I told them they had to get the job done and they came through."
Scarborough was paced by Smith's four goals. Howard added three, Przybylowicz had a pair and Meader and Quirk each added one. Foster assisted on two goals, while Scott and Smith both had one helper. Kirsch made 10 saves.
"It was nice to see how we reacted to the competition," said Red Storm coach Marcia Wood. "Yarmouth's so fast. They have a lot of girls who can score. I felt that we're similar with them, but they have more experience. I'm impressed with the starts of both halves. A lot of good things happened today. Meg made some big saves as a sophomore goalie. We forced turnovers. The defense is starting to get it. We made mistakes, but we're working together and seeing things. We know we have to work at it this year. It's not impossible, but it's hard work."
Draws were almost even as Yarmouth had a 15-14 edge. Simsarian won 8-of-13 chances in the circle, while Bell went 6-for-11 and Torres was 1-of-5. Foster won 7-of-16 draws for the Red Storm, while Howard went 5-for-9 and Przybylowicz finished 2-of-4.
Scarborough had 28 turnovers, to 25 for Yarmouth. The Clippers had a 31-24 edge in shots (26-16 in shots on frame).
The Red Storm are back in action Monday at Deering, then have a week off. Scarborough remains a top contender in Western Class A and will look forward to big games at Mt. Ararat (a state final rematch, May 14) and Gorham (May 19) as well as a home test against Kennebunk (May 26).
"There are some good teams and with this team being somewhat young, we'll see how we step up," Wood said. "You never know. I'm glad we had this to learn from and recognize we did some good things and now we know what to work on."
The Yarmouth road show makes another appearance Monday at Cape Elizabeth. The Clippers go to perennial power Waynflete (which none of the current players have ever beaten) Thursday.
Yarmouth will keep its eye on the prize.
"We're trying to have fun," said Simsarian. "We're working as hard as well can. We know what our ultimate goal is. We don't want to have any letdowns this year. We have to stay mentally prepared. We can't let down."
"We have a lot more to work through," Holt added. "We have to settle the ball down on offense. We've had too many turnovers. These girls know what they have to do. We have a rough week ahead, all on the road."