Lacrosse crossovers produce surprises

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(Ed. Note: For full game stories from each of these contests, please visit, theforecaster.net)

YARMOUTH — Separated by a mere mile, several of the best Class A and B boys’ and girls’ lacrosse teams in the state did battle Saturday morning and afternoon during the first of two crossover weekends.

Yarmouth High was the site of a showdown between a pair of perennial girls’ powers and 2010 title hopefuls, the undefeated Red Storm of Scaborough and the host Clippers. Yarmouth won its first four games this season, but stumbled Thursday at Waynflete, 8-6. In that one, the Clippers got two goals apiece from juniors Becca Bell and Devin Simsarian, but turned the ball over 21 times.

Saturday, Yarmouth was done in again by its inability to retain possession and never led.

The Red Storm raced to a 7-2 first half lead and were up 8-3 at the break, but the Clippers attempted to rally in the second half, pulling within 8-5 behind goals from senior Brenna Bialek and Simsarian.

Yarmouth almost got closer, but junior Danielle Torres hit the post with a shot and senior Molly Curry was denied point-blank by Scarborough senior goalie Marina Sterrer. The Red Storm extended their advantage with three goals in just under four minutes and went on to a 13-9 victory.

Yarmouth (which did have a 30-28 advantage in shots) was done in by 24 turnovers and its slow start.

“(Scarborough’s) a good team,” Clippers coach Dorothy Holt said. “We have some learning to do. We’re young. We still have to work on shot selection, ground balls and not turning the ball over. I have a couple sophomores in key spots. We got a couple goals at the end to make it respectable. They caused 19 turnovers. I’m not upset about that. We’ll eventually stop dropping the ball.”

Simsarian led the Clippers with three goals, while senior Nalini Robbins and Torres (one assist) had two apiece.

Prior to the game, Yarmouth’s junior starting goalie, Carlie Woodson, was hit with a ball and wasn’t able to play. Junior Stephanie Moulton stepped in and made six saves.

“We had to make a few quick adjustments prior to the game since Carlie couldn’t play,” Holt said. “Stephanie stepped up huge in goal. She made some key saves too. It wasn’t easy for her with three minutes of warm up. Jeanna Lowery, a sophomore, came up big on defense.”

Yarmouth was back in action Tuesday at Freeport and goes to Marshwood Saturday. The Clippers still have second meetings upcoming with NYA and Waynflete, as well as a game at home against up-and-coming Falmouth.

“We have some big games coming up, then we start all over again with NYA and Waynflete,” Holt said. “I think this team has a ton of potential. It’s going to take a little bit to get there. It’s anyone’s game on any given day.”

Finishing up just a few minutes later up Route 1, NYA’s girls, the two-time defending Eastern B champion, played host to undefeated, two-time defending Class A state champion Brunswick.

The Panthers were riding a three-game win streak, having previously beaten visiting Falmouth, 13-10, in a come-from-behind thriller (junior Lily Wellenbach had four goals and three assists and senior Courtney Dumont and Kathryn Millett both scored three times), and host Greely, 12-6 (behind six Wellenbach goals).

NYA and the Dragons were once regular rivals and split four playoff meetings between 2001 and 2004. The most memorable came in the 2003 East Region Final, when Brunswick standout Jenna McCabe (who is now, ironically, a Panthers’ assistant coach) raced down the field and forced overtime with a shot as time expired and the Dragons went on to a 14-13 triumph.

Saturday’s game would be just as dramatic and wound up with the same score, although 50 minutes proved to be enough time to decide it. NYA had three different three-goal leads, 7-4, 9-6 and 11-8, but the potent visitors rallied and eventually went up 14-12 before a late Dumont goal made things interesting. The Panthers had one final possession and a chance to tie it, but a Dumont rocket went just wide and Brunswick was able to run out the clock and win, 14-13.

Dumont had a game-high seven goals. Wellenbach finished with three goals and three assists.

“We were ahead most of the way,” said Panthers coach Julia Sterling. “It was probably the best game we’ve had and one of the toughest teams we’ve had. It was great for us. It was exciting to be this close to the state champion from Class A. We really played well. Courtney had her best game. It showed us how good we are.”

NYA went to York Wednesday and visits Messalonskee Saturday. The Panthers still have games remaining with Yarmouth and Waynflete as they jockey for homefield advantage in the playoffs.

Back at Yarmouth High, in the afternoon, the Clippers boys’ squad, the two-time defending Class B champion, welcomed a Brunswick squad that has played for the Class A title three years running and won it back in 2007.

Neither team had a blemish entering the contest and Yarmouth made sure it stayed unbeaten by getting off to a hot start against a Dragons team it hadn’t faced since the 2005 semifinals (a 17-3 Clippers’ romp).

Saturday, Yarmouth led 4-1 after one period and 8-1 at halftime, thanks in large part to four goals from senior Evan Henry. The Clippers pushed their lead to as many as 10 goals, 11-1, before Brunswick rallied in the fourth to make it a respectable 13-6 final score.

“I knew (Brunswick) had a great reputation as a bit of a dynasty,” said Henry (five goals, three assists). “I knew it would be a great game. We got up early and they didn’t really come back until the end. We’ve always had motivation. Our mentality is that we want to win. This team’s a lot younger. We don’t have the senior leadership as much as we did last year. We have a lot of younger guys who are stepping up, in the midfield especially.”

Yarmouth (ranked first in the latest coaches’ poll) extended its eight-year home winning streak to 68 games and its overall stretch to 25 in a row.

“(Brunswick’s) a great team, a great program,” said Yarmouth coach Craig Curry, who has yet to lose a home game in his seven seasons. “They know how to win games. They came down here to win and we showed up in the first half and took it to them.”

The Clippers looked to stay perfect and protect their home turf Tuesday versus Waynflete. They go to Cheverus for another crossover game Saturday. Rematches still loom with Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth and NYA.

“The next game’s always the hardest game to play,” Curry said. “With our schedule, there’s no real off days. We have good, competitive games.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net

Yarmouth junior Becca Bell avoids a Scarborough defender and looks upfield during Saturday morning’s contest. The Clippers dropped their second game in a row and lost to the Red Storm for the first time, 13-9.

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NYA senior Ashley Salerno roamed away from her goal and looked for a teammate during Saturday’s exciting 14-13 home loss to Brunswick.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.