Yarmouth falls at home to Gorham
YARMOUTH—After taking a gigantic step forward Thursday evening with a stunning upset win at powerhouse Cape Elizabeth, the Yarmouth girls' lacrosse team stumbled a bit Saturday, reminding everyone that while it is a program to be reckoned with, there will still be some growing pains along the way.
Hosting Western Class A contender Gorham in a crossover contest, the Clippers never led and dug an 8-3 halftime hole, thanks in large part to 18 turnovers.
Yarmouth cleaned things up in the second half and behind the scoring of junior Grace O'Donnell and a strong showing in goal from senior Nicole Hickey, in her first varsity start, made things interesting, twice creeping within two, but the Clippers could never get closer and suffered a 12-8 setback.
Gorham, which got four goals from senior captain Kali St. Germain, improved to 4-3, dropping Yarmouth to 4-4 in the process.
"We just had a bad day and (Gorham) played really well," said Clippers coach Dorothy Holt. "We started to get back in it, but it was just one of those games where we put ourselves in a hole way too deep."
Yarmouth was ousted in overtime of the Eastern B Final by Freeport a year ago, but has come together more quickly than many expected this spring.
The Clippers lost at Falmouth in the opener, 16-7, then fell at home to defending Class B champion 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 the local lacrosse world Thursday.
Gorham won its first two outings, 14-4 over visiting Sanford and 14-7 at Deering, then fell at home to Cape Elizabeth, 13-7. After a 12-5 home victory over Bonny Eagle, the Rams lost at home to Thornton Academy, 11-9, and Massabesic, 11-8.
A year ago, Yarmouth won at Gorham, 12-10, in the first meeting between the schools since 2005.
Saturday, the Rams started fast and held on to beat the Clippers for the first time in program history.
Gorham broke the ice just 51 seconds in when St. Germain took a pass from senior Jackson Marshall and fired a shot past Hickey, who was filling in for junior Jordan Brown.
Yarmouth sophomore Emma Torres had a chance to tie the score with 21:39 to play in the first half, but her free position bounced high and over both Rams junior goalie Madeline Hamblen and the goal itself.
Gorham added to its lead five minutes later when St. Germain took a pass from sophomore MacKenzie Collins and finished, forcing Holt to call timeout.
Holt stressed settling down and holding on to the ball, but the Rams managed to go up, 3-0, when junior Haley Perkins set up junior Katie Tucker for a goal at the 15:48 mark.
On the ensuing draw, however, O'Donnell won possession, raced in and scored to get the Clippers on the board.
O'Donnell then found senior Alex Lucas in transition and Lucas finished and with 13:44 to play before halftime, O'Donnell set up junior Molly Maguire for a goal which tied the score, 3-3.
Yarmouth scored three times in 1 minute, 43 seconds, but couldn't keep the momentum.
Gorham would run off a stretch of 12 straight draw wins and that helped the visitors open a healthy lead by the break.
With 12:25 left in the half, sophomore Emily Lewis took a pass from classmate Aliza Jordan and beat Hickey to put the Rams ahead for good.
A free position goal by St. Germain pushed the lead to 5-3 with 10:41 left.
A little over a minute later, junior Narissa Kourinos pounced on a loose ball after a Hickey save and buried the rebound for a 6-3 advantage.
Junior Meghan Cushing then got in on the fun, scoring unassisted with 8:50 to go, then finishing a pass from St. Germain two minutes later to give Gorham an 8-3 advantage at the break.
In the first half, the Rams (more specifically, Cushing) won nine of 12 draws and enjoyed a 14-7 shots advantage, due largely to Yarmouth turning the ball over 18 times.
While Gorham whooped it up at halftime as if they'd already won, the Clippers regrouped.
Just 61 seconds into the second half, O'Donnell scored on a free position, ending a 14 minute, 45 second drought.
Senior Ali Merrill cut the deficit to 8-5 when she took a pass from senior Sara Costello and beat Hamblen with 22:31 to go and after Merrill was robbed in front by Hamblen, O'Donnell scored unassisted with 17:58 still to play, pulling Yarmouth within two.
The Rams would answer as Cushing won her 12th straight draw and with 16:11 to go, junior Morgan Cushing scored on a free position to stem the tide.
While Torres was able to snap the draw streak on the next opportunity, Gorham got the ball back after Hamblen stopped shots from Lucas and Costello and with 11:04 showing, Perkins found sophomore Jordan for a goal and a 10-6 advantage.
Yarmouth had one final comeback, however, and O'Donnell scored a pair of free positions in a 47-second span to pull her team back within two, 10-8.
Had the Clippers gotten it to one, who knows what might have happened, but Hamblen made the save of the game with 5:20 left, when she robbed Lucas, keeping it a two-goal game.
St. Germain, quiet since the first half, then came up big again, scoring on a rebound with 2:50 to play, to give Gorham some breathing room.
With just under a minute to play, Tucker managed to flick a loose ball past Hickey and that proved to be the backbreaker as the Rams went on to the 12-8 victory.
"Give Gorham credit," Holt said. "They pushed and pushed. We're really young and doing the best we can."
Yarmouth was led by O'Donnell, who went off for five goals, while adding a pair of assists and grabbing a game-high nine ground balls.
"Grace had a fabulous game," said Holt.
Lucas, Maguire and Merrrill also tickled the twine and Costello had an assist.
Hickey turned heads with her 12 saves.
"Nicky was awesome," Holt said. "She got thrown into the fire. She practices with us almost every day. She has a strong mental game. She knew what to expect. She saved us."
The Clippers finished with 25 turnovers.
Gorham got four goals from St. Germain, two apiece from Meghan Cushing and Tucker and one each from Morgan Cushing, Jordan, Kourinos and Lewis. Perkins and St. Germain each assisted on two goals, while Collins, Jordan and Marshall had one assist apiece. Morgan Cushing, Jordan and St. Germain all collected eight ground balls. Hamblen made five saves.
Meghan Cushing's dominance in the draw circle (winning 16 of 22 opportunities) proved huge.
Gorham committed 26 turnovers, but outshot the Clippers, 28-17 (24-13 on cage), and won the ground ball battle, 60-45.
Back on the horse
While Gorham returns to action Tuesday at Marshwood (the Rams host Scarborough Thursday), Yarmouth will be at Fryeburg. The Clippers also host York next week, then close with a game at Waynflete and a home test against Cape Elizabeth.
Yarmouth was second in the latest Eastern Class B Heal Points standings and would love to finish first, but regardless of where it ends up, this team has what it takes to be playing June 15 in the Class B state final.
"This team has nothing to hang its head about," Holt said. "We're so far beyond where we thought we'd be. We're where we want to be. It's a great team and a special team. A special group of girls. I think we'll be fine. We just need to work through it. This shows our holes. We still have some work to do."