Waynflete goes overtime to beat NYA in girls' soccer battle
PORTLAND—Morgan Woodhouse wasn't about to let another golden opportunity slip away.
Waynflete's senior standout had her share of good looks at the goal during Tuesday afternoon's showdown with rival North Yarmouth Academy and came up empty, but early in the second five-minute "sudden victory" overtime session, with not much of an angle to work with, Woodhouse fired a shot past NYA junior Caroline Bowne into the net for the only goal of the game to keep the Flyers undefeated on the 2009 season and hand the Panthers their initial loss.
"NYA definitely is very, very good this year," Woodhouse said. "The next game will be
even harder. I think we showed a lot of heart out there and dug deep
down. I think that's why we pulled through."
Waynflete and NYA have been rivals for years, but the intensity was ratcheted up in 2005 when the Flyers moved up to Class C. The Panthers won the state championship every year from 2003 through 2007 and the final three seasons went through Waynflete in ever-more-painful fashion in the postseason.
In 2005, NYA won 3-1 at the Flyers in the semifinals. In 2006, the Panthers eked out a 1-0 regional final victory at home. The next year, with Waynflete the heavy favorite, visiting NYA broke the Flyers' hearts when then-sophomore Courtney Dumont scored an overtime goal for a 1-0 triumph. Waynflete finally broke the spell last year with a 2-0 regional final victory at home and followed that up with a first-ever Class C state crown.
This season, both teams have a lot of new faces as well as new coaches. The Flyers are now led by Todd Dominski. Entering play Tuesday, Waynflete was 4-0, beating Traip (7-0), Lake Region (3-2), Freeport (4-1) and Gray-New Gloucester (4-0), thanks in large part to the offensive production of Woodhouse and fellow star senior Sasha Timpson.
The Panthers welcomed Charles Fischman as coach this spring and took a 4-0-1 record into the contest. NYA defeated Gray-New Gloucester (7-2), Traip (3-0), Sacopee (3-1) and Wells (3-1) and settled for a scoreless tie with Poland. Dumont, now a senior, continues to be the Panthers' biggest threat.
Tuesday, Dumont, Timpson and Woodhouse all had chances to settle matters in regulation, but couldn't do so in an entertaining back-and-forth affair.
The tone was set in the seventh minute when NYA freshman Molly Strabley had a good look, but shot wide. In the 12th minute, Dumont had some momentary breathing room, but Waynflete junior defender Izzer Berrang got in front of the shot and blocked it.
With 28 minutes to go in the first half, Woodhouse took a pass from Timpson, blew past a defender and broke in alone on Bowne, but shot too early and the goalie was able to make a relatively easy stop. With 23:50 left, Timpson got to a cross from sophomore Becky Smith, but wasn't able to get a good shot off.
With 16:05 left before halftime, Dumont got her first good chance, directing the ball with the back of her head off a defender, forcing Pope to make a diving save. Four minutes later, Panthers sophomore Ally Morrison sent a cross to Dumont, but Pope got to the ball first.
In the 33rd minute, Timpson sent a deflected shot just wide. Less than a minute later, the Flyers earned a corner kick for the first time, but couldn't do anything with it.
With 2:16 to go in the half, Dumont had a look at an open net, but shockingly shot wide and the game went to halftime scoreless.
The fun continued into the second stanza.
In the 44th minute, a Woodhouse cross was deflected by Bowne and bounced to Smith, but her shot was saved. Two minutes later, Woodhouse shot high. With 33:53 left in regulation, Waynflete junior Lydia Stegemann's cross got past Bowne and appeared headed for the goal, but Panthers senior Emily Mitchell calmly cleared it away.
In the 62nd minute, Stegemann's shot after a corner kick was saved. At the other end, Dumont again had an open net to shoot at with Pope out of the play, but again missed. A minute later, Timpson was wide on a direct kick. The Flyers kept the pressure on and Woodhouse had a promising cross, but NYA junior Lilly Wellenbach cleared it. Less than a minute later, Woodhouse's shot was saved and Stegemann then had a bid that Bowne kicked aside like a hockey goalie. Timpson got to the rebound, but shot wide.
With 7:55 to play in regulation, Pope came out of the cage to grab a corner kick. Three minutes later, Wellenbach had a look, taking a pass from Strabley, but shot wide.
Then, with 30 seconds to go, Waynflete had a corner kick and the ball bounced to Smith. She floated a shot over Bowne's head, but it hit the crossbar and was cleared.
Both teams then took a deep breath and it was on to overtime.
In the first of two potential five-minute "sudden victory" extra sessions, Woodhouse almost ended it quickly, but her turnaround floater was tipped over the bar by Bowne. With 1:40 left, Dumont set up Strabley with a pretty pass, but Strabley was robbed by Pope point blank.
After so many close calls, Waynflete finally ended it in the game's 87th minute.
With 3:55 to go in the second OT, Woodhouse won the ball in the left side of the box, turned and shot from a difficult angle. But what appeared at first to be a harmless shot, instead got past Bowne and kissed the net and just like that, the Flyers got to celebrate their 1-0 victory.
"I knew I was close to the goal," Woodhouse said. "I just turned and shot it. You just
want a shot in overtime. It snuck in the corner. It feels really
"It was an exciting win," added Dominski. "We hit the post and had the ball go across. We
had so many chances. I didn't know if we'd ever score. They had the
same thing. It was a very even game. Morgan hit it hard and put it in the right spot. You expect your
captains and senior leaders to do stuff like that in overtime. It was a big win for us. Big points for us as well."
Waynflete wound up with a 4-3 edge in corner kicks. Bowne and Pope both came up big time and again.
"Both goalkeepers did very well under pressure and were steady and made good saves," Fischman said. "Credit to both of them."
"(NYA) definitely gave us a lot of competition," said Pope. "It
was pretty even competition, we were able to pull it out in the end. We're always determined and confident. Last year helped a little bit.
We came back with high expectations, but our confidence level has been
similar throughout. We were hoping and were pretty sure we'd score. It felt good when we did."
"Julia was terrific," Dominski added. "She's been awesome this year. She wasn't fazed a bit."
The Panthers fell to 4-1-1, but weren't discouraged in the aftermath.
"It was exciting," Fischman said. "A good soccer match. I enjoyed watching it. It
embodies what interscholastic sports represent. Players giving their
best efforts. The teams are evenly matched and both played very hard. I
would have liked to come out on top, but Waynflete played well and to
their credit, were able to score a goal at the end and win the game.
The expectations were we'd play a hard game against each other and
that's how it turned out today."
NYA (fifth in the latest Western Class C Heal Points standings) hosts Lake Region Thursday and welcomes Sacopee Monday.
"We have some things to work on to try
and improve," Fischman said. "We play (Waynflete) again."
That showdown comes Saturday, Oct. 3 in Yarmouth.
First, the Flyers (5-0 and second in Western C) go to Old Orchard Beach Thursday, play at Traip Tuesday of next week and host Sacopee Oct. 1. Waynflete celebrated this victory, but knows it still has a long way to go in its quest to repeat.
"I think we're progressing," Dominski said. "Having half a new team and a new coach,
we've struggled a little at times, but we've shown we can do it.
"It's been a very smooth transition," said Pope. "A lot of new players, but we're meshing together really well."
"This is definitely a marking point for us," Woodhouse added. "It shows how far
we can go as a team. So far, the season's been really good."
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com