Clippers click, dominate Waynflete
YARMOUTH—What a difference four days makes.
Saturday, Yarmouth's girls' lacrosse team went to Scarborough and was left utterly frustrated.
Wednesday afternoon, the Clippers were nearly perfect.
Hosting nemesis Waynflete in a rematch of last year's Class B state final, Yarmouth made the most of its shots, burying its first 10, and the Clippers went on to a stunningly easy victory.
Yarmouth got a boost in the first half from first-year goalie, sophomore Sarah Kirk, who made five clutch saves, then, the goals started to come.
With 15:12 to go before halftime, senior standout Grace O'Donnell fed junior Emma Torres and the Clippers had the lead for good.
That type of teamwork was symbolic of Yarmouth's attack all day and the hosts gradually opened up a 5-1 lead.
Then, late in the half, junior Shannon Fallon scored on a free position and as time expired, junior Lane Simsarian did the same and to the shock of everyone on hand, the Clippers took a 7-1 advantage to the break.
Knowing how good and proud its opponent is, Yarmouth didn't let down in the second half and poured it on behind a couple goals from O'Donnell.
A tally from sophomore Lilly Watson with 8:32 to play induced a running clock, but the Flyers eventually ended a 37-plus-minute scoring drought and added two more goals before the Clippers put the finishing touches on their 11-4 victory, as they snapped a three-year, five-game losing streak to the two-time champions.
O'Donnell paced the offense with four goals. Simsarian added three and Fallon had a pair as Yarmouth balanced its record at 1-1, snapped Waynflete's three-year win streak at 20 games and dropped the Flyers to 1-1 on the young season in the process.
"It was a game we needed to win to redeem ourselves after the state game," said Clippers coach Dorothy Holt. "The seniors are aware. They're a strong group. The underclassmen ride on their coattails. They all worked hard this week and it showed. We maintained our composure and held the ball. We showed poise we didn't show the first game. I'm really proud."
Turning the tables
Both teams opened with close games.
Since the start of the 2008 season, Waynflete has dominated this rivalry and has won four of the six Class B championships awarded in that time (NYA and Yarmouth each have one).
Heading into Wednesday's contest, the Flyers had beaten the Clippers five games in a row and in 10 of the past 12 meetings (please see sidebar, below), including all three encounters a year ago: 17-5 at Yarmouth, 16-10 at home, then 7-4 in the Class B state game.
The Clippers last beat Waynflete in the 2011 state game, a 9-8 thriller, and last beat the Flyers at home on June 1, 2011, 17 days prior to that state final (13-8).
Wednesday, on a day when the mercury didn't get out of the low 40s, it's fair to say that Yarmouth served up a cold dish of revenge.
The tone was set two minutes in when Waynflete senior Sofia Canning got free for a good look, but Kirk turned her shot aside.
Flyers junior Helen Gray-Bauer then had a free position chance, but Kirk made the stop.
Senior Ella Millard then tried the goalie, but Kirk made one more save.
With 19:31 left in the first half, the Clippers scored first, as Simsarian took a pass from senior Molly Maguire and beat Waynflete sophomore goalie Charlotte Majercik.
The Flyers pulled even with 18:27 remaining before halftime, when Johnson scored on a free position, but that would be Waynflete's last goal for a long, long time.
After Torres put Yarmouth ahead, O'Donnell took a pass from Fallon and scored for a 3-1 lead, forcing Waynflete coach Cathie Connors to call timeout.
The Flyers responded by getting some good looks, but a Millard free position and a bid from junior Hannah Thompson-Greaves were both saved by Kirk.
"We all support Sarah so much," said Clippers senior defensive star Julia Primeau. "It's a hard position to come into her first year, but she had an outstanding game and she's only getting better."
Waynflete wasn't able to recover.
"If we put those goals in, it might have been different," Connors said. "That changed momentum. She was excellent."
Yarmouth's offense was then able to do what the Flyers couldn't, finish.
With 8:19 left in the half, Fallon got in the scoring column when she finished a feed from Maguire.
With 5:31 showing, Maguire set up O'Donnell to push the lead to four.
A 5-1 lead would have been encouraging enough for the Clippers to take to the half, but what transpired in the waning seconds essentially salted away the win.
First, Fallon scored a free position goal with 28 seconds to go.
It looked like Waynflete would avoid further damage, but with a second left, the Flyers turned the ball over in front of their goal and Simsarian was awarded a free position.
The whistle blew, Simsarian shot and as the horn sounded, the ball eluded Majercik and went into the net.
The only question was did the goal cross the line before the clock hit zero. In girls' lacrosse, the ball has to be in the goal (not released from the stick).
The officials ruled the shot barely beat the horn and Yarmouth took a commanding 7-1 advantage to halftime.
"Our free positions were not good at Scarborough," Simsarian sad. "Dorothy told us to pick a post and go there. The refs called it good, I was hoping. I was glad it was (good)."
While the score was lopsided, the stat sheet was not, as each team won four draws and shots were even (7-7), but Kirk's play and the Clippers' 7-for-7 shooting made the difference.
Waynflete's inability to beat Kirk was compounded by 12 turnovers.
Any Flyers' comeback hopes were dashed early in the second half.
Just 89 seconds in, junior Caitlin Teare set up Simsarian, who back-handed a shot into the goal for an 8-1 lead.
"We were forcing the ball (at Scarborough)," Simsarian said. "We had to settle down. We got in the seams and it worked well."
O'Donnell scored on a free position with 21:15 to play and just over two minutes later, O'Donnell finished a feed from Maguire to make the score 10-1.
"We've worked hard and improved our stick skills even from Scarborough the other day," O'Donnell said. "We were really frustrated (in that game), but Dorothy told us to stop looking at the goalie and look at the net. A lot of goalies are really good high and that was our problem."
Connors tried another timeout and again, Waynflete managed to get a look at the goal, but freshman Isabel Canning's free position was blocked by the Yarmouth defense. Senior Leigh Fernandez then had a free position, but Kirk made the save.
With 8:32 showing, O'Donnell set up Watson and the Clippers' had a 10-goal lead, invoking the "mercy rule" running clock (likely the first that Waynflete has ever been on the wrong side of).
To their credit, the Flyers didn't allow the clock to run for long, as Johnson stole the ball and finished with 5:51 to go, ending Yarmouth's 10-0 run and a 37 minute, 36 second scoring drought.
Down the stretch, Fernandez (from Johnson) and sophomore Christian Rowe (from Johnson) added goals, but that only made the final score 11-4 in favor of the Clippers, who were exuberant at the final horn.
"We wanted this so badly," said Simsarian. "We played really well in the state game (even though we lost). Everybody stepped up today."
"It's amazing," Primeau said. "There's not many words to put to it. We worked hard and it paid off. We had a game against them last year, where the ball was on our half of the field, they stalled and ran down the clock. I think we got a little bit of sweet revenge. That gives us confidence moving forward."
Yarmouth had five different players score, led by O'Donnell, who finished with four goals. Simsarian had three, Fallon two and Torres and Watson one each.
Even better, eight of the Clippers' 11 goals were assisted. Maguire had half of them, O'Donnell finished with two and Fallon and Teare each added one.
"We have such strong players on attack that it's really hard to shut one person down because others will be open," O'Donnell said. "We moved the ball. Fast passes. Our passing was 10 times better today and our transition played well."
"I was really proud of the attack for hitting the net," Holt said. "The attack has worked on its shooting. We have some new people in key positions. Everybody looks to Grace, but it takes the whole team."
Then, there was Kirk, who made every one of her seven saves count.
"Our goalie made saves that were game-changers," Holt said. "She's new to the team, but she really stood her ground. The defense really worked too. They were talking."
The Clippers had a decided edge in ground balls, 35-23 (as Torres and junior defender Mary Coyne both collected six and Fallon, O'Donnell and senior defender Abby Belisle-Haley all had four).
Each team won eight draws, committed 19 turnovers and had a dozen shots.
The loss was Waynflete's first since May 22, 2012, a 13-10 home setback to Falmouth. It was the Flyers' most lopsided setback since May 24, 2007, when Yarmouth beat them, 12-5.
On the bright side, Waynflete did post a 20-plus game win streak for the third time in just over a decade (a state-record 36-game streak from 2004 to 2006 and a 22-game run from 2008 to 2010 preceded it).
Wednesday, Waynflete's offense featured two goals and two assists from Johnson and one goal apiece from Fernandez and Rowe. Gray-Bauer had a game-high eight ground balls and senior Amelia Deady, who was solid all day, finished with five. Majercik made one save.
"(The Clippers) were all excellent," Connors said. "They were fast and strong. They came in hard and fast and we have to get used to that."
Yarmouth knows Waynflete will be heard from going forward.
"I could tell the girls were walking on eggshells from beginning to end, but it's because we know how good Waynflete is," Holt said. "Don't count them out. They're a great team."
Both teams have one day off before returning to action Friday.
The Flyers play their home opener when Falmouth pays a visit. Waynflete then plays Wells at the University of New England Tuesday.
This group will bounce back.
Bank on it.
"We'll bond as a team and not get too stressed about it," Connors said. "A loss is OK. It's part of learning. This exposed what we need to work on. That's a good thing. Tomorrow, we'll work on the things I saw today. I don't feel like it's not fixable. Everything is fixable."
The Clippers, meanwhile, look to keep the good times going when they host dangerous Greely. Monday, Yarmouth will be tested at Freeport in a playoff rematch.
Now that they know how good they can be, look for the Clippers to commit themselves to getting even better.
"We still need to work on cutting hard and crashing on defense," said Primeau. "Our transition looked great today, but it can always get better. We still have improvement to make all over the field. We're going in the right direction."
"We're all thinking to the game we want back from last year, but honestly, we need to take it one game at a time," O'Donnell said. "We're ready to take on whoever comes next. Greely will be tough, but we have good momentum from this game."
"We still had plenty of turnovers today and there are things to work on," Holt added. "We hope to hit our peak before the playoffs."
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.
Recent Waynflete-Yarmouth results
Waynflete 13 @ Yarmouth 7
@ Waynflete 13 Yarmouth 5
Yarmouth 7 @ Waynflete 5
@ Yarmouth 12 Waynflete 5
Waynflete 8 @ Yarmouth 7
Class B State Final
Yarmouth 12 Waynflete 5
Waynflete 11 @ Yarmouth 6
@ Waynflete 9 Yarmouth 8
Waynflete 7 @ Yarmouth 6
@ Waynflete 10 Yarmouth 7
@ Yarmouth 8 Waynflete 6
Yarmouth 8 @ Waynflete 3