NYA frustrates Yarmouth again
YARMOUTH—North Yarmouth Academy dominated the first half, while Yarmouth controlled the second.
The difference was, the Panthers managed to score a goal.
Monday afternoon, in the second showdown of the recently revived NYA-Yarmouth field hockey rivalry, the Panthers got a first half tally from senior Olivia Madore and held on for dear life in the second half to prevail, 1-0.
NYA improved to 9-1-1 and took over the top spot in the Western Class C Heal Points standings, while the Clippers fell to 6-4-1.
"It was another thriller," said Panthers coach Tracy Quimby. "They always give us their best. They really gear up for us. We gear up for them as much as we can. They played hard. They're a great team."
After not playing for nearly seven years, NYA and Yarmouth put on a show Sept. 13 when the host Panthers rallied late to tie, then beat the Clippers, 2-1, on Madore's goal in the second overtime.
Both teams have been very successful this fall.
NYA opened with a 5-0 home win over Traip, then escaped host Wells, 2-1, before rallying against Yarmouth. After edging host Traip, 2-1, the Panthers dominated host Waynflete, 8-0, and held off visiting Sacopee, 2-0. The undefeated run ended with a 1-0 overtime loss at Falmouth, but NYA bounced back to defeat visiting Wells (8-0), tied host Traip (0-0), then blanked visiting Gray-New Gloucester (8-0).
Yarmouth opened with a 6-0 win at Waynflete. After a 4-0 home triumph over Sacopee Valley, the Clippers lost at NYA. They 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. After beating visiting Waynflete (4-0) and Sacopee (2-0), Yarmouth fell at Freeport, 3-2, Saturday.
Monday, the Clippers were seeking their first win over the Panthers this century, but NYA spoiled the party.
In the first 30 minutes, the Panthers had seven shots to Yarmouth's none and the ball was in the Clippers' defensive zone nearly the whole time.
In the eighth minute, NYA earned three straight corners, but couldn't finish, as Yarmouth's backup goalie, Meaghan Gorman, made a couple saves.
With 19:08 to go, Panthers senior Kayla Rose fired a shot which Gorman kicked away.
"Megan Gorman had a great game in goal," said Yarmouth coach Mandy Lewis. "She took on a huge role today. The team really rallied around her."
Then, with 17:27 left in the half, NYA finished, as sophomore Juju Tardif backhanded a shot toward the cage and Madore was there to redirect it home for a 1-0 lead.
"We just did a give-and-go," Madore said. "I tipped it in. I redirected it. We knew we had to come out strong in the first half and get a goal. I didn't think it would be the only goal, but we held them off."
Later in the half, Yarmouth senior Taylor Morrison broke up a rush, Gorman stopped a Madore shot on a corner and a Tardif shot, after a feed from Madore, went just wide.
The Clippers were a vastly different team in the second half.
That was evident immediately as Yarmouth pressured the Panthers for the first time and 31 seconds in, senior Lily Daggett fired a shot which hit the post.
Five minutes later, senior Emma Peterson's back-handed shot forced NYA junior goalie Elizabeth Coughlin to make her first save.
With 22:13 to go in regulation, senior Katie Overhaug played the ball into the circle, setting up a good scoring chance, but the ball hit a foot of a Clippers attacker to kill the play.
Later in the half, Daggett had a momentary look, but her shot was blocked by a Panthers defender, then a shot by sophomore Cara Ricciardi was saved, but resulted in Yarmouth's first penalty corner, which resulted in a great chance where Overhaug set up sophomore Breanna Morrill, but Morrill's shot went just wide.
With 7:14 left, Quimby called timeout to settle her team.
The Clippers got one more chance, when they earned a corner with 4:15 remaining, but a shot from junior Kallie Hutchinson went wide.
NYA ran out the clock from there and completed its sweep of its crosstown rival.
"It was very difficult," said Panthers junior defender Alex Barnes. "They were coming hard. We knew we just had to keep pushing them forward to keep them out. We were pretty prepared and we came out hard. I don't think it was about bragging rights. Both teams played amazing and put it out there. It's a good rivalry now. Probably the most exciting games of our year."
"It was a tough game," Madore said. "They're our rivals for other sports, so having them as a rival in field hockey is nice. It's a good feeling to beat them.."
"We just got a little tired," Quimby added. "We were hoping for a second goal. Or a third. We don't like being 1-0. That was a long time to hold on."
The Panthers finished with a 9-6 edge in shots and a 9-2 advantage in corners. Coughlin made three saves. NYA also mixed up its defense, which helped it hold on.
"We usually do a 4-3-3 (formation), but today we did a 3-3-3, with one player following (Hutchinson) because of her drives," Madore said. "Our defense is very strong. Barnes and (senior) Abby (McKelvy) are strong with their sticks."
"We were a little shorter on offense today," Quimby said. "We weren't quite as offensive as we might have been, but we decided that would work out better for us. We moved some people around on defense. They moved some things around today too."
The Clippers, who got five saves from Gorman, fell just short.
"I think we came out with much more intensity in the second half," Lewis said. "We talked about the last three inches of a play and how in the first half, NYA was ahead of us all the time in the last three inches of a play."
Yarmouth (now seventh in the Western Class C Heal Points standings) is hoping for at least one home playoff game, but will likely need to win out. to make that happen The Clippers host Wells Wednesday, welcome Traip Friday and play host to Freeport in the finale Tuesday of next week.
"Our season goal is to make it as far as we can," Lewis said. "The first step is to make it into the playoffs. Wherever we go, if it's trips or home games, we'll play well. We've played most of the season without our homefield."
NYA is battling defending champion Lisbon for the top spot. The Panthers are back in action Wednesday, at home versus Waynflete. After visiting Sacopee Friday, NYA closes at home against Western B power York Tuesday of next week.
"York is very good and intimidating, but we'll come out just as strong and try to get a goal at the beginning," Madore said. "We want homefield advantage."
"We need to keep our offense going and stay tough," Barnes said. "We know we can do it if we really try. This is the best team I've been on at NYA. If we work as a team, we'll win as a team."
"It's going to be really close with Lisbon in (Heal) Points," Quimby added. "York's worth a lot of points. We still have one more big one."
There also looms the possibility of a third NYA-Yarmouth battle.
In the postseason.
Local field hockey fans should be so lucky.
"I wouldn't be surprised if we wind up 2 and 7 with Yarmouth," Quimby said. "We might see them again."
"I think we're right there with NYA," said Lewis. "I think it's fate we'll meet in the playoffs. We would welcome that opportunity. I feel like our team shows up with intensity against NYA we don't see in other games. They look forward to playing NYA. We know it will be a good game."