Yarmouth rallies to stun Scarborough
SCARBOROUGH—With an 0-3 start to the 2013 season staring it in the face, the Yarmouth girls' lacrosse team awakened the echoes Saturday afternoon and rallied for its biggest victory since capturing the 2011 Class B state championship.
Playing at three-time defending state champion Scarborough, the Clippers dug a 5-1 halftime deficit, as they turned the ball over 14 times and only managed four shots, but building on their new slogan, 'All In!' they saved their best for last.
Yarmouth fell behind 6-1 in the first minute of the second half, but slowly chipped away and with 5:22 to go, drew even on a goal from senior Ali Merrill.
The Red Storm snapped a 20-plus minute drought when sophomore Kaitlin Prince, who had a stellar game, scored with 3:42 remaining, but the Clippers have a pretty talented sophomore of their own, Lane Simsarian, who tied the score with a tremendous individual effort.
With the game on the line, Yarmouth forced a critical turnover and won a pivotal 50-50 ball as senior Olivia Conrad got possession and scored with 16.8 seconds left, putting the Clippers ahead to stay.
Conrad intercepted a pass in the waning seconds and Yarmouth held on for the stirring 8-7 victory, improving to 1-2, while handing Scarborough its first loss in three outings and snapping the Red Storm's 11-game win streak.
"It's huge," Conrad said. "I can't stop smiling. We really needed this because we've had a tough start to the season. I think now, we'll only go up from here."
Rite of spring
While Scarborough and Yarmouth play in different classes, they have consistently met in crossover games in recent years.
The rivalry has been unique in that homefield advantage has been anything but.
Between 2002 and 2012, the Clippers and Red Storm played six times (with Yarmouth winning four, please see below), but on every single occasion, the road team prevailed.
That included last year's encounter, a 12-5 win for the Red Storm in Yarmouth.
Scarborough, which downed Brunswick to win its third consecutive Class A state championship a year ago, opened 2013 with easy wins at McAuley (17-2) and Bonny Eagle (12-3).
The Clippers, regional finalists in 2012, lost at Falmouth in the opener, 16-7, then, after a April vacation trip to Florida, fell at home to defending Class B champion Waynflete, 17-5.
Saturday, Yarmouth appeared doomed, but it made the plays when it mattered most.
The Red Storm took a 1-0 lead 4 minutes, 30 seconds in when Prince set up junior Ainsley Jamieson for a goal.
The Clippers, who weren't able to generate an attack due to multiple turnovers, finally got a settled possession and with 16:10 to play in the half, drew even on their first shot, a free position from junior Grace O'Donnell, which Red Storm senior goalie Meg Kirsch couldn't turn aside.
Scarborough retook the lead at the 13:56 mark as Prince took a pass from sophomore Bailey Adams and fired past Yarmouth junior goalie Jordan Brown.
That seemed to open the floodgates as Adams (free position), senior Avery Pietras (unassisted) and Prince (from Jamieson) scored to make it 5-1 at halftime.
In the first 25 minutes, Prince won six of seven draws, the Red Storm had a 22-14 edge in ground balls and a 9-4 shots advantage.
Making matters worse for the Clippers, their 14 turnovers were severely limiting their offensive chances.
In a sign of things to come, however, Brown made five saves and that kept her team within hailing distance.
The deficit grew to five just 50 seconds into the second half when Prince set up senior Maiti Kent for a goal, but Yarmouth quickly turned the tide.
The comeback began with 21:56 to go as Merrill scored unassisted.
Three minutes later, playing man-up after a Scarborough yellow card, the Clippers made it a 6-3 game when sophomore Emma Torres scored on a free position.
With 14:11 left, Simsarian demonstrated her unrivaled speed, racing up the field before feeding O'Donnell for a goal which made it a 6-4 game.
Yarmouth's comeback wouldn't have been possible were it not for three superb saves from Brown in the interim, including a pair on free positions.
"Jordy made three clutch saves, then the defense came up with loose balls," Clippers coach Dorothy Holt said. "It just showed they can do it. All it took today was a lot of hard work."
Brown's performance kept the deficit at two until Conrad took a pass from senior Julie Kameisha and finished with 7:33 still to play.
Scarborough coach Marcia Wood called timeout, but it didn't help as Merrill tied the game, unassisted, with 5:22 remaining.
The comeback effort appeared to have gone for naught when Prince (from Adams) scored with 3:42 to go, snapping a 20 minute, 28 second drought, putting the Red Storm on top, 7-6.
The Clippers appeared doomed when they turned the ball over with 1:42 left, but 13 seconds later, after a Scarborough turnover, Simsarian got the ball and scored unassisted to forge a 7-7 deadlock.
"It's all teamwork," Simsarian said. "Since I'm on defense, no one expects me to go. I just wanted to score. I had the drive to score."
Yarmouth won the ensuing draw, but Kameisha's bid to put her team on top was denied by Kirsch.
The Red Storm then had a chance, but turned the ball over.
That set the stage for the Clippers to put a cherry atop their victory sundae.
First, it looked as if Yarmouth was going to commit another costly turnover as the ball came free in the offensive zone, but after so many turnovers and so many Scarborough wins on 50-50 balls, Conrad said enough was enough and got the ball on her stick.
At that point, there was no stopping her as she raced around the edge of the defense, then beat Kirsch with a shot to make it 8-7 with only 16.8 seconds left.
"I just figured the clock was running out, so I might as well just go for it," Conrad said.
When Scarborough won the ensuing draw, it still had time to score and force overtime, but Conrad had one last heroic act up her sleeve, intercepting a pass, which allowed the Clippers to run out the clock and celebrate their palpitating victory.
"We knew after the goal that we just wanted it," said Conrad. "It wasn't an option to let it go. We rallied and brought it in the second half."
"We started a little rough and this is what we needed," Simsarian said. "We needed to win this game."
"I don't think anything changed," Brown said. "I think the scoreboard changed, but we played our game and we kept it going. We came together. We thought before it started that we could do it. We had to rally and get it done."
"It's a tribute to our hard work," Holt added. "The seniors had to step in and contain the ball. We have such great leadership. They got everyone to settle. We had two tough games at the start of the season and that had us down a little bit, but we came back and worked so hard this week. Our youngsters are stepping into their roles. Scarborough's such a great team. We came in with our heads in the right place. We still had turnovers and missed shots, but these girls worked together as a team."
Yarmouth had a balanced attack, perfectly illustrating this team's mix of veterans and youth. Conrad, Merrill and O'Donnell, the experienced players, each scored twice, while the new guard of Simsarian and Torres (with last names that already exist in program lore) both tickled the twine once.
Kameisha and Simsarian both had assists.
Conrad and junior Julia Primeau both had six ground balls. O'Donnell and Simsarian both collected four.
Brown was tremendous, making nine saves, all of which were crucial.
"My D helped out and I knew where the shots were going," Brown said.
Yarmouth overcame 25 turnovers to prevail.
For Scarborough, Prince led the way with there goals, two assists, seven ground balls and wins on 12 of 16 draws.
"Kaitlin does a great job," Wood said. "It's her hard work that pays off. She's already had a stellar year. She sees the field well. She's played enough lacrosse with the bigwigs that she has that extra push. She's turned into a leader."
Adams, Jaimeson, Kent and Pietras had one goal each.
Adams and Prince both had two assists, while Jamieson had one.
Kirsch made four saves.
The Red Storm won 12 of 17 draws and had a 44-32 advantage on ground balls (senior Jess Meader had a game-high eight, Prince collected seven and senior Sarah Martens had six).
Scarborough also had a 17-16 shots advantage (16-12 on cage), but finished with 26 turnovers.
"(Losses) are going to happen," Wood said. "I knew we're a decent team with talent, but the question was how are we going to persevere in the tight games? I was impressed with the first half. We played great. We just got a little frantic in that second half and they capitalized on our turnovers. The difference was they put it in the net and we didn't. This should be enough to fuel us. We did get a little comfortable with the 6-1 lead. Yarmouth did a great job pecking away."
Back at it Wednesday
Each team returns to action Wednesday.
Scarborough at home against South Portland. In the long run, this loss might be a blessing in disguise.
"It's going to take some time," Wood said. "We're glad it happened now. I wish we could've pulled out the win, but it's a good learning experience. There's a long way to go."
Yarmouth looks to build on Saturday's win when it hosts Falmouth, hoping to avenge its earlier loss.
"We proved ourselves today and this gives us confidence to go make things happen," Brown said.
"It's going to take awhile, but this win gives us such an emotional lift," Holt said. "There's a lot of season left and not an easy schedule. We just have to keep it up. Hopefully we have a different result against Falmouth. This gives us confidence."
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.
Recent Scarborough-Yarmouth meetings
Yarmouth 10 @ Scarborough 7
Yarmouth 14 @ Scarborough 5
Yarmouth 15 @ Scarborough 3