Clippers rediscover offense, handle Waynflete
YARMOUTH—After a four-game stretch in which it scored just six goals, lost twice and tied once, the Yarmouth field hockey team was due to break out and that happened with a vengeance Tuesday afternoon.
Hosting Waynflete in just their second game on their new turf field, the Clippers took a 1-0 lead just 55 seconds in when junior standout Kallie Hutchinson finished a penalty corner as only she can.
Sophomore Breanna Morrill then got in on the act, scoring her first varsity goal a little over a minute later.
Morrill added a third goal with 20:33 to play in the first half and 68 seconds later, senior Emma Peterson got a goal of her own and Yarmouth was off and running.
While the Clippers wouldn't score again, in part due to the stellar goalkeeping of Flyers freshman Kiera MacWhinnie, they were able to hold Waynflete in check and improve to 5-2-1 with a 4-0 victory, which dropped the Flyers to 0-7-1 in the process.
"It was important to get off to a good start," said Morrill. "We had great communication and our passes worked out. That was a big part of our scoring."
Home sweet home
Yarmouth had a successful first half of the regular season, but when you take into account it played just one home game in that span, the Clippers' performance is even more impressive.
Yarmouth opened with a 6-0 win at Waynflete. After a 4-0 home triumph over Sacopee Valley, the Clippers couldn't hold a late lead and despite dominating big swaths of play, suffered an agonizing 2-1 double overtime loss at crosstown rival North Yarmouth Academy. The Clippers bounced back and downed host Wells, 4-0, before settling for a 1-1 tie at Traip Academy and falling at Cape Elizabeth, 1-0.
Waynflete hasn't been as fortunate. After opening with a 6-0 home loss to Yarmouth, the Flyers tied host Sacopee (1-1), then lost at home to NYA (8-0), at Wells (2-1, in overtime), at home to Traip (6-0), at Greely (4-1) and Monday at Wells (4-0).
Tuesday, any offensive woes that were hindering the Clippers were quickly swept away.
Yarmouth pressured early, earned a penalty corner and the ball came up top to Hutchinson, who fired one of her patented rockets past MacWhinnie for a 1-0 lead just 55 seconds in.
That was a mere appetizer.
With 27:41 to go in the first half, Morrill pounced on a rebound and beat MacWhinnie to make it 2-0.
"It was off the goalie's pad and I snuck it around the other side and got it in," said Morrill. "It was my first time scoring in a varsity game, so it feels pretty good."
At the 20:33 mark of the half, the Clippers got their third goal and Morrill registered her second. The score came off a corner, as senior Katie Overhaug passed the ball to Hutchinson, who fired a shot into the cage. Morrill got a piece of it en route and was credited with the tally.
"I tipped (Kallie's) shot off a corner," Morrill said. "I don't know if I saw it. My stick just happened to be in the right place at the right time."
"As a sophomore, (Breanna's) shown us some great stuff so far," said Yarmouth coach Mandy Lewis. "I think we're very strong with our seniors and we're deep with our underclassmen, which is exciting. The more we can have the girls see that every player has a role on the field, the more successful we'll be."
With 19:25 still to play in the first half, Peterson stretched the lead to an insurmountable 4-0, as she banged home a rebound.
In the first 30 minutes, Yarmouth had a 15-0 shots advantage and an 8-2 edge in corners.
"It was a great first half," Lewis said. "We came out excited to be at home. We had a lot of intensity. We've talked about communication and you saw that today. We came out scoring a lot in the first two games. Then we had that intense match with NYA and since then, we haven't clicked. Now that we're back on our homefield, we're jelling again."
The Clippers never scored again, but they didn't allow the Flyers to do much in the second half.
With 8:15 to play, Waynflete registered its first shot, off a corner, but Yarmouth sophomore goalie Tori Messina made the save.
The Clippers then put the finishing touches on their 4-0 triumph.
Morrill said that the return home helped, even if she forgot where the game was being played.
"I actually packed the wrong uniform today and had to go home," said Morrill with a laugh. "I'm so used to packing the blue uniform. The turf is much better than grass. I like being back on the turf."
Yarmouth outshot Waynflete, 23-1, and had 10 corners to the Flyers' three. MacWhinnie made 15 saves, while Messina finished with one.
"We've always been a second half team," said Waynflete coach Kelly Hoffman. "(Yarmouth) left in their starters in the second half and we shut them out. That feels good. It was nice to play on their brand new turf. It's a beautiful field. I'm happy with the way we played, considering it's turf."
Time's running out
If Waynflete is to salvage its season, it needs to win several games down the stretch.
The Flyers (13th in the Western Class C Heal Points standings) will try again to get in the win column Friday, when they go to Traip. After hosting Sacopee Valley Monday, Waynflete goes to NYA, then closes at home with games against Wells and Poland. Only the top nine teams make the playoffs, so the Flyers need some victories and quickly.
"I'm very hopeful for my team," Hoffman said. "We've just been crippled with injuries this year. Bizarre things. We're looking forward to all our games."
The Clippers, meanwhile, don't just expect to have a winning record and make the playoffs, they want to play some games at home and go deep into the postseason. The remaining schedule will allow them an opportunity to do so.
Yarmouth (seventh in Western C) is back home Thursday against Sacopee. After the Clippers' final road game Saturday against Freeport, they have a home showdown with NYA Monday, then close with home games against Wells, Traip and Freeport.
"I feel if we all match Kallie's intensity, we'll be very successful," Morrill said. "I hope this gets us going."
"As long as we take each game as it comes and know that every team is as important as the next, we'll be able to make a run for it," Lewis said. "We know where we'll all be Monday night. That will be fun."