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Waynflete avenges state game loss with win over Yarmouth

Sports

Waynflete avenges state game loss with win over Yarmouth

PORTLAND—Even though many of the faces have changed, the Waynflete girls' lacrosse team did manage to earn a small, satisfying measure of revenge Wednesday afternoon at Fore River Fields.

The Flyers, who dropped a one-goal heartbreaker to Yarmouth in the 2011 Class B state final, beat the Clippers, 13-2, but the win didn't come as easily as the score suggested. Yarmouth controlled the ball for large chunks of the first half and only trailed 3-2 before Waynflete scored twice in the waning minutes to lead, 5-2, at the break.

The Flyers, who relied on junior goalie Katherine Torrey to keep them ahead in the first half, finally got their prolific offense in gear in the second and closed the game on a 10-0 run.

Junior Sadie Cole and sophomore Walker Foehl paced the attack with four goals apiece and sophomore Ella Millard scored twice as Waynflete improved to 2-0, dropping Yarmouth to 0-2 in the process.

"There was a little bit of talk about (last year's state game), but we've tried to put last year behind us and start fresh," said Torrey, now in her third season as a starter. "Yarmouth's a great team. We're both new teams. We just have to do everything differently this year. We put a lot of effort into it. I love this team."

New beginnings

Both teams were affected by graduation last June, but the Clippers were decimated, losing two All-Americans and several other all-stars, including almost all of their goal scoring.

Waynflete, which has many new faces on defense, but managed to retained its top scoring threats, rolled in its opener, April 13, taking a 14-1 halftime lead before going on to a 15-5 home victory over NYA.

Yarmouth lost to Falmouth for the first time ever in its first game, 12-2, back on April 12.

While Waynflete has been the state's premier girls' lacrosse power, winning eight state championships since the Maine Principals' Association began sanctioning the sport in 1998, Yarmouth has been a close second, winning four titles.

Over the past decade, the Flyers have won 11 of the 18 encounters between the powers (please see sidebar), but the Clippers have a 2-0 edge in the postseason. They ended Waynflete's three-year run as champion with a stunning 12-5 triumph in the inaugural Class B Final in 2006, then held on for a scintillating 9-8 win in last year's epic.

In that one, Yarmouth shot to an early lead and appeared primed for a blowout, but the Flyers rallied and after Clippers All-American Becca Bell was disqualified after receiving a second yellow card, Yarmouth appeared on the ropes. The Clippers pulled it together, however, hung close and got the eventual game winning game from All-American honorable mention Danielle Torres and held off Waynflete down the stretch.

The teams had split last year in the regular season, with both winning at home (Waynflete, 11-10; Yarmouth, 13-8). Entering Wednesday's game, the Clippers hadn't won on the Flyers' turf since the season opener in 2007 (7-5).

That trend would continue, but Yarmouth made things very interesting for awhile.

Early in the contest, Torrey twice had to go one-on-one against a Clipper during a free position and she stood tall both times, first denying senior Mo McNaboe, then doing the same to senior Claudia Lockwood.

"I don't think too much about (free positions)," Torrey said. "I relax and put everything I have into it."

With just over 19 minutes to play in the 25-minute first half, Yarmouth seniors Ricki Pierce and Maddy Wood had back-to-back bids, but again, Torrey made the saves and the game remained scoreless.

"I really try to relax and get into a rhythm," Torrey said. "I think the individual effort that each player puts out is incredible and I really appreciate that. We try to make each other look good. We fall into a rhythm and we mesh really well. The defense looks fantastic this year. It's completely new."

Her teammates and coach were grateful for her efforts.

"Katherine made some huge saves," Foehl said. "She was so good."

"I'd say she had four saves in a row that were huge," added Waynflete coach Cathie Connors. "We had trouble with clears. Yarmouth marked up well, like they always have. It was good to have that pressure."

The Flyers finally broke the ice with 16:35 to play in the first half, when, on a free position of their own, Foehl beat Clippers sophomore goalie Jordan Brown for a 1-0 lead.

An unassisted goal from Cole at the 12:26 mark doubled the lead and it looked like Waynflete had some breathing room when junior Martha Veroneau (from Foehl) scored with 11:23 remaining before halftime, but Yarmouth's offense awakened.

With 10:10 left in the half, Lockwood (from Wood) beat Torrey and the Clippers were on the board. With 8:49 to go, after a turnover, sophomore Grace O'Donnell set up McNaboe, who made a nice catch of a bounce pass before shooting past Torrey to cut the deficit to 3-2.

Connors called timeout and after the Clippers failed on an opportunity to draw even, the Flyers got some separation as senior captain Lucy Crane took a pass from Veroneau and scored with 6:40 to play before halftime and just over two minutes later, Foehl fed junior Isabel Agnew for a goal and a 5-2 lead at the break.

While Waynflete had the edge on the scoreboard, the stat sheet was nearly even.

Each team won four first half draws, Yarmouth had a 19-18 advantage in ground balls and a 12-9 edge in shots (but the Clippers failed to convert on all four free position opportunities). Seven Torrey saves helped the Flyers stay in front, but they had committed 13 turnovers, something that would improve dramatically in the second half as Waynflete opened it up.

Just one minute into the second half, Cole set up Foehl for a goal and a 6-2 lead. Cole scored unassisted with 22:44 to go and Veroneau fed Millard for a goal at the 18:12 mark, making it 8-2 and forcing Yarmouth coach Dorothy Holt to call timeout.

It didn't stem the tide.

With 15:05 remaining, after a Torrey save at the other end, the Flyers transitioned and Cole set up Millard for a goal. Veroneau assisted on a Foehl goal with 7:36 left, extending the lead to 10-2 and inducing another Clippers' timeout.

In the waning moments, Cole (first from Foehl, then from sophomore Sofia Canning) sandwiched goals around one from Foehl (set up by Veroneau) to account for the 13-2 final score.

"This was good," Foehl said. "We picked it up. Being a closer game, we played with much more intensity. I think our defense got it together. We kind of got in a rhythm and really wanted it. In the first half, we figured it out and in the second we went and did it."

"It felt very close the whole game," Connors said. "We talked at halftime that we had a lot of things we needed to work on that we hadn't seen before. It was tough since we don't get together during vacation week. It took a little while to mesh. Yarmouth has such good athletes, so it can turn around any second. They always play hard. They're coached well.

"It's different since there are so many different players on our team and there are so many different players on their team. It's two brand new teams. It's always going to be a good fight. I felt like anything can happen until the end."

Waynflete had six different goal scorers. Cole and Foehl led the way with four each. Millard had two, Agnew, Crane and Veroneau one apiece. Even more impressively, the Flyers had assists on 10 of the tallies. Veroneau finished with four, Foehl three, Cole two and Canning one.

"We were really balanced on offense," Connors said. "That's our goal this year. Everyone can score."

Torrey wound up with eight saves, all of them critical.

Waynflete finished with a 10-7 edge in draws as Cole won 4-of-7, Veroneau 3-of-5, Foehl 2-of-3 and freshman Helen Gray-Bauer 1-of-2. The Flyers had 33 ground balls to 32 for the Clippers. Veroneau led everyone with seven and junior Jo Moore, in her first year on the varsity team, made her presence felt with six ground balls, as well as strong play in the zone defense.

"It's really fun," Moore said. "I'm really loving this team. We work really well together. I feel like I need to work on where the ball is. That comes with practice. We tried to play our hardest. We didn't know what to expect. We tried to communicate. That's what worked well for us. We were on edge in the first half. That's where we really stuck together. It was nice to have a challenge. Katherine's great. It's great to have her back there."

"Jo played a big role," said Connors. "She's crucial at the top of the zone. Her height is helpful."

The Flyers finished with 18 turnovers, but committed only five after halftime. They had a 21-18 advantage in shots on goal (18-10 on cage).

Yarmouth's goals came from Lockwood and McNaboe. O'Donnell and Wood each had an assist. Brown made five saves. Pierce won 6-of-9 draws, while O'Donnell was successful once in eight tries. Junior Julie Kameisha had a team-high six ground balls. O'Donnell, senior Jeanna Lowery (who was active all over the field) and junior defensive specialist Claire King all collected four. The Clippers turned the ball over 16 times.

Despite the setback, Holt was very positive afterwards.

"If we'd gotten some of those shots in the cage, it would have been a completely different game," she said. "Our defense played well and our attack just needed to hit the cage. I think we're really evenly matched. The score doesn't show it, but the girls have grown. They look completely different than they did against Falmouth."

Big tests await

Yarmouth's quest for a first victory gets no easier Saturday when two-time defending Class A state champion Scarborough pays a visit. The Clippers were the last team to beat the Red Storm, 16-11, last April 30. Yarmouth then has to go Falmouth and equally dangerous Cape Elizabeth next week before its slate eases.

"We have a really tough beginning of the schedule, but we'll turn it on like we always do," Holt said. "I think we have the toughest schedule, but it will be fine. (The girls) need to have confidence in each other and trust that each other will be there. They need to have confidence to take what they practice into games. We're getting better and better. It'll take us a few games."

Waynflete plays a makeup game at Wells Thursday, then visits longtime rival Kennebunk Saturday morning. The Flyers return home Tuesday to face Fryeburg.

Waynflete is at Yarmouth May 23.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Photo: Brian Beard / For The Forecaster

Waynflete senior Lucy Crane prepares to fire a shot on goal.

Photo: Brian Beard / For The Forecaster

Waynflete junior Martha Veroneau faces a wall of Yarmouth defenders (from left) senior Jeanna Lowery, junior Alexandria Lucas and junior Sydney Pellerin.

Photo: Brian Beard / For The Forecaster

Yarmouth senior Jeanna Lowery gets a step on Waynflete junior Isabel Agnew.

Photo: Brian Beard / For The Forecaster

Yarmouth junior Ali Merrill attempts to keep up with Waynflete sophomore Walker Foehl, who races upfield with the ball.

Photo: Brian Beard / For The Forecaster

Yarmouth senior Maddy Wood is slowed by the defense of Waynflete junior Rhiannan Jackson (right) and sophomore Ella Millard.

Photo: Brian Beard / For The Forecaster

Waynflete junior Martha Veroneau corrals one of her game-high seven ground balls.