Yarmouth girls erupt in second half to down Falmouth, 19-10
YARMOUTH—For the first 20 minutes of Saturday morning's contest, the Falmouth girls' lacrosse team had the host Yarmouth Clippers right where the Yachtsmen wanted them, on their heels and behind on the scoreboard.
If the game had ended there, Falmouth would have had added a second seismic victory to its ledger this spring, but alas, 30 minutes remained and the Clippers made the most of all of them.
Yarmouth erased a 7-5 lead with four goals before halftime, then exploded for 10 more in the second half as it improved to 8-2 with a 19-10 victory over the Yachtsmen, who fell to 7-3.
Junior Danielle Torres gave the Clippers the lead for good with a free position goal (one of her five) 2:42 before halftime and Yarmouth got goals from seven different players, including four from senior Molly Curry and three apiece from juniors Becca Bell and Devin Simsarian as the Clippers reminded the rest of the state that when they're clicking on all cylinders, they may have no peer.
"We were really energized in the second half," Simsarian said. "We wanted to win so badly. We knew we could play so much better. We threw the ball away in the first half, but we fixed that in the second half."
Plenty of offense
Yarmouth entered the game on a high note after Wednesday's impressive 11-6 victory at North Yarmouth Academy, the Clippers' second triumph over their crosstown rival this spring.
Falmouth, meanwhile, had won two straight, including a stunning, 12-11, come-from-behind victory at Brunswick a week ago.
The Yachtsmen had never beaten Yarmouth, but felt they had a good shot this time around. Even though they scored 10 goals Saturday, it wasn't even close to enough.
Both offenses were busy in the early going as the teams averaged a goal a minute for awhile.
Just 55 seconds in, Curry broke the ice with an unassisted goal. A little over a minute later, Falmouth answered when junior Caitlin Costello set up freshman Alex Bernier for a shot which got past Clippers junior goalie Carlie Woodson. The hosts answered with 21:55 to go in the first half on a free position goal from junior Natalie Salmon. Fifty-three seconds later, Simsarian got in the scoring column with a free position goal, but in transition, junior Laura Fay fed senior Emma Sipperly for a tally with 20:26 remaining to make it a 3-2 contest.
Yarmouth answered right back off the ensuing draw as senior Nalini Robbins assisted Torres for a goal, but Falmouth tied the game at 4-4 behind goals from Sipperly (unassisted) and Costello (from Bernier).
The Clippers grabbed the lead back with 13:13 remaining in the half when Simsarian scored unassisted, but the Yachtsmen then appeared to seize control with three straight tallies.
With 12:14 to go before halftime, Bernier fed junior Jess DiPhillippo and it was 5-5. DiPhillippo scored again (unassisted) 34 seconds later to put Yarmouth ahead and after Woodson denied a breakaway bid, sophomore Megan Fortier (from Bernier) scored to make it 7-5 Falmouth with 8:46 left.
Then, the Clippers roared to life.
After a turnover, Torres raced in and beat junior goalie Jen Greene to pull the hosts within a goal. With 3:41 remaining in the half, Bell scored unassisted to tie the score. Fifty-nine seconds later, on a free position, Torres scored and Yarmouth was ahead to stay and with 1:05 left before halftime, Simsarian assisted on a Torres goal to give the Clippers a 9-7 advantage. As time expired, Robbins had a chance to extend the lead even further, but shot just wide.
It was still anyone's game at the start of the second half, but it didn't take Yarmouth long to pull away.
First, Woodson came up big on a couple of occasions to prevent the Yachtsmen from getting any momentum.
Just 1:37 into the second half, senior Sarah Girouard had a great look in front, but Woodson denied the shot. After the hosts made it 10-7 with 21:21 to play on a goal by senior Brenna Bialek (from senior Annie Clabby), Woodson again frustrated Falmouth when she stopped a good look from Bernier.
"Carlie stepped up and saved some key shots," Yarmouth coach Dorothy Holt said. "They were game-turners."
With 19:21 remaining, Fortier took a pass from DiPhillippo and scored to make it 10-8, but the rest of the game belonged to the Clippers.
With 16:44 to go, Curry scored unassisted. Torres (on a free position) and Salmon (unassisted) followed and it was a 13-8 contest with 13:29 left.
After the visitors momentarily stemmed the tide on a Bernier (from Fortier) goal with 12:01 remaining, Yarmouth ran off five straight in a 4:23 span to put it away.
Simsarian (from Curry), Torres (unassisted), Curry (unassisted), Bell (unassisted, after weaving through several defenders) and Bell again (on a free position) did the honors, making it 18-9.
"We started to trust each other a lot more and we really shut them down," Bell said. "I think our biggest strength is our depth. We have a lot of players we can use on offense and defense. We know anyone at any time can score."
A goal by Sipperly (from Fortier) with 3:21 to play ended the run, but only drew Falmouth within eight. Nine seconds later, sophomore Claudia Lockwood scored unassisted and the Clippers went on to the 19-10 victory.
"(The NYA game) was a big confidence booster," said Simsarian. "We know we have what it takes. We had a little off-streak (earlier in the season), but we've done the basics and that's helping us win, I think."
"(Falmouth's) a very good team," Holt added. "We had to step up. Every game, we're coming on a little bit more. We hope to peak at the right time. We want to get everyone in there and playing to their fullest potential. That's what it takes for us to get to where we want to be."
While Bell, Curry, Simsarian and Torres combined for 15 goals, Yarmouth's attack was very balanced and impressive as Salmon finished with a pair of goals and Bialek and Lockwood each had one. Simsarian added two assists, while Curry and Robbins had one apiece. Woodson made five saves.
The Clippers won 17 of 31 draws, outshot Falmouth, 30-17, and forced 37 turnovers (while giving the ball away 28 times). The Yachtsmen had a slight edge in ground balls (53-50). Simsarian had a game-high nine, while Torres grabbed eight, Bell seven, Salmon and senior Lizzie Fischman six each and Robbins five.
"Things are starting to jell, but we still have a long way to go," Holt said. "We still had a lot of turnovers. We're working on our shooting and midfield transition. We have speedsters on defense like (sophomore) Caitlin (Crawford), we have Lizzie and (junior) Kate (Dilworth). We have Carlie, who's confident in goal. I wouldn't say we're peaking, but we're playing better. We just have to keep working."
Falmouth coach Robin Haley didn't have many answers for what hit her team over the final 30 minutes.
"Yarmouth just poured it on strong in the second half," Haley said. "We played even in the first half, then in the second half, they just went to town. Against a team like that, you just can't make mistakes and we dropped the ball a lot today and we couldn't recover from that. Playing over here is challenging. We got tired and frustrated. We got into a rhythm, then got anxious. We rushed and panicked being two ahead. We didn't execute efficiently."
Sipperly led the Yachtsmen with three goals. Bernier, DiPhillippo and Fortier each scored twice, while Costello added one goal. Bernier had three assists, Fortier two and Costello, DiPhillippo and Fay one each. Greene made 10 saves. Junior Abbey Cavalero led the team with eight ground balls, while Girouard had six.
Falmouth (second to two-time Class B champion Waynflete in the Western B Heal Points standings) wraps up the regular season next week with home games versus Wells Tuesday and Fryeburg Thursday. If, as expected, the Yachtsmen win out, they'll match the 2008 team for the best regular season record in program history.
But this Falmouth team has loftier goals.
"Hopefully we'll make the playoffs and get through at least the first round," Haley said.
Yarmouth is first in the Eastern B Heals and projects to be the top seed for the upcoming playoffs. The Clippers fervently want to play on their home turf in June.
"We're so comfortable here," Simsarian said. "Our team has a weakness on grass."
Yarmouth has a huge home test upcoming Monday when it hosts Waynflete. The Clippers hope to avenge their 8-6 loss at the Flyers back on May 6.
"We're ready for Waynflete," Bell said. "I think we can play with them on our homefield."
Wednesday of next week, Senior Night, Yarmouth finishes the regular season when it hosts Greely.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org