Waynflete seniors honored, then handle Yarmouth
PORTLAND—Waynflete's senior class tasted bitter defeat in two state championship games, then, last spring, returned the Flyers to the pinnacle.
This season, Waynflete has no peer, thanks in large part to its "Super Seven" and Wednesday afternoon at Fore River Fields, Isabel Agnew, Sadie Cole, Rhiannan Jackson, Jo Moore, Katherine Torrey, Catherine Veroneau and Martha Veroneau were honored on Senior Day prior to the Flyers' regular season home finale versus Yarmouth.
Then, those seniors went out and did what they do best.
Score a lot of goals and win.
Less than 24 hours after a decisive home victory over Falmouth, the Flyers were a little sluggish to start and that, combined with a strong effort from the Clippers, had Waynflete ahead by just one goal, 3-2, midway through the first half.
Then, Flyers coach Cathie Connors called timeout and Waynflete came to life.
In just over six minutes time, a 3-2 advantage ballooned to 9-2 and by halftime, the Flyers were in command, up, 11-3.
Yarmouth refused to go quietly in the second half, but Waynflete went on to a 16-10 triumph, its 10th in a row this spring and 14th in succession dating back to last season.
Cole erupted for seven goals and Martha Veroneau scored six times as the Flyers dropped the Clippers to 5-6.
"It's such a great group of seniors," Cole said. "We wanted to have a good last regular season game. The underclassmen were really great about wanting to win for us. It was great to have their support."
Taking care of business
Waynflete's title defense has gone even better than the Flyers might have dreamed possible entering the season.
Waynflete has won every game and in almost every case has completely dominated the opposition, leaving it flustered and helpless in the process.
The Flyers dominated visiting Wells, 14-2, host Yarmouth, 17-5, visiting Kennebunk, 15-1, and host Fryeburg, 15-3, to start the year, then made a major statement with a 10-8 win at Cape Elizabeth. After surviving a close call at Falmouth, 10-8, they won, 13-7, over visiting Freeport in a state game rematch. Waynflete then went to Greely and jumped to a quick 3-1 lead, but 12 minutes in, the game was called by inclement weather (it will be resumed May 30). The Flyers then beat visiting Cape Elizabeth for the 21st straight time, 8-4, before handling Falmouth from start-to-finish Tuesday in a stunning-in-its-decisiveness 16-3 home triumph.
The Clippers, meanwhile, lost at Falmouth in the opener, 16-7, then fell at home to Waynflete, 17-5, before coming to life with a stirring, come-from-behind 8-7 victory at Scarborough. After losing at home to Falmouth (11-8), Yarmouth romped over visiting rival North Yarmouth Academy (16-4), handled host Wells (17-10) and shocked host Cape Elizabeth, 8-7. A 12-8 home loss to Gorham followed. After dominating host Fryeburg, 21-3, the Clippers fell at home to York last Thursday, 12-9.
While Waynflete has long been Class B's (and the state's) gold standard, Yarmouth has been in the runner-up position, beating the Flyers more regularly than anyone else (please see sidebar below), including in the 2006 and 2011 state finals, but Waynflete had won the past three meetings by a composite 47-14 margin.
Wednesday, the Clippers hoped for their first win at Waynflete since April 23, 2007, but the Flyers weren't about to stumble and went out and dispatched Yarmouth behind the state's two most potent scorers.
Just 3 minutes, 5 seconds in, Cole scored her first goal, unassisted, and Waynflete had a 1-0 lead.
Yarmouth, which had several strong early possessions, featuring patience, good cuts and passes, drew even 34 seconds later when senior Julia Kameisha set up senior Olivia Conrad with a pass and Conrad beat Torrey to make it 1-1.
The Flyers went on top to stay with 20:55 to play in the half as Veroneau set up Cole (the first of several such connections on the day) and after Torrey robbed Clippers junior Grace O'Donnell on a shot in front, the hosts made it 3-1 as unheralded junior Leigh Fernandez beat Yarmouth senior goalie Nicky Hickey with a tough angle shot.
When O'Donnell finished a Kameisha feed with 12:55 to go before halftime, cutting the deficit to 3-2, Connors, who has an uncanny finger-on-the-pulse knowledge of when to call for a timeout and almost always gets her desired result, got her girls refocused and indeed, Waynflete put it together the rest of the half.
First, Conrad had a chance to tie it, but Torrey made the save.
The Flyers quickly transitioned to offense and Veroneau set up junior Cat Johnson for a goal and a 4-2 advantage.
With 9:25 remaining before halftime, the floodgates opened.
Cole got the onslaught started by batting home a loose ball from the air past Hickey for a 5-2 lead.
With 6:52 to go, Veroneau drew the defense, then passed to Cole, who finished to make it 6-2.
Yarmouth coach Dorothy Holt called timeout to try to stem the tide, but it didn't have the desired effect as the Clippers were offsides on the ensuing draw and 16 seconds later, Veroneau scored unassisted.
Veroneau struck again with 5:49 remaining in the half (with Cole getting the assist) and Johnson (from Fernandez) scored with 4:35 left to cap a 6-0 run, making it 9-2.
Another Connors timeout had weaved gold.
"It was a slow start," Connors said. "We were really tired from yesterday. We talked about regrouping. We weren't really playing our game. I asked them to get to back to our passing game. Yarmouth's fantastic in the midfield. They're super-aggressive. They came out hard on us and played a great game. It seems like everywhere we look, there was (Clippers blue). If we didn't move the ball, they'd triple team us. Once we did that, we were fine."
Yarmouth got a free position goal from senior Alex Lucas with 2:26 to go in the half, ending a 10 minute, 29 second drought, but Veroneau won the ensuing draw, raced in and scored and with 1:28 left, Veroneau scored her fourth goal (unassisted) for a commanding 11-3 advantage at the break.
Waynflete won 11 of 15 first half draws, had a 23-14 ground ball advantage and a 12-7 edge in shots.
Yarmouth wasn't about to give up and accept its fate and to its immense credit, battled hard the final 25 minutes, never letting the Flyers completely run away and hide.
Veroneau scored an unassisted goal two minutes into the second half, but Clippers sophomore Emma Torres answered (from senior Sara Costello) 37 seconds later.
After Torrey stopped O'Donnell on three straight free positions, Waynflete made it 13-4 as Cole set up Veroneau with 14:29 to go.
With Waynflete junior Ella Millard on the sidelines with a yellow card, the Clippers got a man-up tally with 12:08 remaining as O'Donnell finally solved Torrey on a free position.
With 7:52 remaining, playing man-up with Yarmouth junior defender Abby Belisle-Haley on the sidelines after getting a yellow, the hosts pushed the lead back to nine as Millard fed Cole.
One more goal would have allowed the Flyers to induce the mercy rule running clock, but Yarmouth closed strong.
With 5:08 left, O'Donnell finished a pass from Torres. Forty-eight seconds later, Kameisha set up Conrad for a goal. Then, with 3:38 to play, Kameisha's feed to junior Julia Primeau resulted in a goal and suddenly, the Clippers had faint life, down, 14-8.
Cole quickly turned the tide as she scored (from Millard) with 3:09 left to push the lead to seven.
Conrad scored unassisted with 1:20 remaining, but Cole answered with an unassisted tally, her seventh, in the final minute. A Kameisha goal (from O'Donnell) with three seconds left accounted for the final score and Waynflete triumphed, 16-10.
"We know we have to come out and work hard every game," Cole said. "It was special for us to all be together. We got ahead, but they hung tough. They pushed it every minute. They're really tough in transition. We were tired, but we found that spirit within us."
"It was a slow start, but after the timeout, we regrouped," Veroneau said. "We had a lot of fun before the game with the senior stuff, so maybe we didn't focus as much as we should have on the game since Yarmouth's a great team. We came back out after Cathie had a great speech and we played harder. Yarmouth never gave up. That's a testament to their players and coaches. They've been a strong program. They stuck with it until the end."
While the Flyers have been notorious this season for getting production from everyone, not just their stars, Wednesday, the stars sparkled, as Cole had seven goals and Veroneau tickled the twine six different times.
"I think our competitive side came out a litle bit with our final season coming to an end," Cole said. "I love playing with (Martha)."
"I've played lacrosse with Sadie since sixth grade," said Veroneau. "We've been together for so long. We've had a connection since middle school.We've had so many connections over the years. She's one of the best teammates I've ever had. We love playing with each other. Today, we had a lot of connections. We showed how well we work together."
Johnson had two goals and Fernandez finished with one.
Veroneau also had three assists, while Cole and Millard each had two and Fernandez one. Torrey made 10 saves, with eight coming in the second half.
Waynflete finished with a 20-8 advantage on draws, a possession differential that proved pivotal. Veroneau was successful on 14 of 17 tries, while Cole won six of 11.
The Flyers also had more ground balls than the Clippers, 42-34, as Cole led all players with 13 and Jackson collected a half dozen.
Waynflete overcame 19 turnovers (many of which came late when the game was in hand) and had a 23-21 edge in shots (21-20 on cage).
All in all, it was a pretty awesome performance on Senior Day.
"It's such a great group of girls," Veroneau said. "It's been a really special season and today was so nice. It's so fun to share these moments. It's bittersweet for sure, but it's a great group that has come a long way and has put in hard work and dedication."
"They're a super-special group" Connors said. "They're so supportive of younger players. They're awesome role models and fun to be around. They'll be missed."
Yarmouth got three goals each from Conrad and O'Donnell and one apiece from Kameisha, Lucas, Primeau and Torres. Kameisha also assisted on four goals, while Costello, O'Donnell and Torres had one assist each. Conrad had a team-high 10 ground balls, while explosive sophomore Lane Simsarian collected six. Hickey made five saves.
The Clippers did a terrific job holding on to the ball, turning it over just 11 times.
"We had a momentary lapse in the middle of the first half," Holt said. "If we didn't have that lapse, we'd have been right there. I couldn't have asked for anything more. We came back and made it a game. The girls worked really hard. We calmed down and came back in the second half. I'm so proud of them. We're doing the right things at the right time of the season. Everybody is stepping up. It's so fun to see. Everybody is maturing at the same rate. They encourage each other. Waynflete's so good, but this gave us confidence we can play with them. They're a little more mature than us, but we showed some really good things. We showed poise. We've been without (junior goalie Jordy Brown) now for a bunch of games. Nicky's done an awesome job stepping in. We've had injuries, but we come back. You're happy as a coach when your team steps up."
The Clippers (third behind Gardiner and Freeport in the Eastern Class B Heal Points standings) close their regular season at home versus Cape Elizabeth next Thursday.
"Cape will be a good end of the regular season, then the fun begins," Holt said.
The Flyers, meanwhile, have two tests remaining and they seek their fifth all-time undefeated regular season (1998, 2005, 2006 and 2009 were the others).
Waynflete (the top ranked team in Western B) is at Eastern A power Cheverus Tuesday, then concludes the Greely game in Cumberland the following day.
"We have two big ones left," Cole said. "Cheverus is a great team this year. Greely didn't give us an easy start and they're really ready for us. Sadly, we're getting near the end."
"We'll come back next week and play two tough teams," Veroneau said. "Cheverus is having a great season. Greely was playing us tough. We'll have to come back in focused. We won't get too confident. We realize we have limited time left together and we want to have fun. That's the goal."
"We still have two tough games," Connors added. "I couldn't ask for a better finish to our schedule. We're going for it."
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.
Recent Waynflete-Yarmouth results
Waynflete 17 @ Yarmouth 5
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