YARMOUTH—On Sept. 22, the North Yarmouth Academy girls’ soccer team had plenty of opportunities go for naught in a frustrating 1-0 overtime loss at rival Waynflete, the defending Class C state champion.
Saturday afternoon in the rain, the Panthers more than made up for that setback and served revenge cold and wet, dominating from start to finish and getting three goals from senior standout Courtney Dumont in a 4-0 victory to hand the Flyers their first loss of the 2009 campaign.
NYA clung to a 1-0 lead at the half, but got a penalty kick goal from Dumont 2 minute, 18 seconds into the second stanza and opened it up from there as it improved to 7-2-1 on the year.
“Sometimes you can’t finish and you psyche yourself out,” said Dumont, who missed some great chances at Waynflete and in the first half Saturday. “Once I had the PK, I had a lot more confidence.”
NYA and Waynflete’s history is well documented. Since the Flyers moved up to Class C for the 2005 season, the rivals have met every year in the playoffs with the winner going on to win the state title each time. After the Panthers won the first three postseason meetings, Waynflete finally got over the hump later year.
Both teams have been impressive in 2009.
The Flyers hadn’t just won the first meeting against NYA, they’d also won their other seven games and were sitting pretty in their title defense in their first season under coach Todd Dominski.
The Panthers, meanwhile, have been most up and occasionally down in 2009 under their new coach, Charles Fischman, winning six times heading into Saturday, but they also settled for a scoreless home tie against Poland and in addition to the Waynflete loss, were stunned 2-1 at Old Orchard Beach Wednesday.
The tone was set early in Saturday’s game when NYA went on the attack and kept the pressure on throughout the first half. The Panthers got the only goal they’d need when in the 14th minute, moments after Waynflete senior goalkeeper Julia Pope made a sprawling save and Dumont hit the post, freshman Molly Strabley banged home a rebound of junior Blair Haggett’s shot to make it 1-0. NYA had a 7-1 edge in corner kicks in the first half, but couldn’t add to its lead. The Panthers best chance to double their advantage came in the 20th minute when Dumont’s shot got past Pope, but Flyers junior defender Izzer Berrang swept it away.
Just 25 seconds into the second half, Pope made another sprawling save, but the floodgates soon opened. With 37:42 left in regulation, Dumont was held on a corner kick and was awarded a penalty kick. She sent it low and to Pope’s right into the net for a 2-0 advantage.
With 29:02 to go, Dumont was in position to knock home a rebound of sophomore Hannah Twombly’s shot. Then, with 8:30 left, Dumont headed home Strabley’s corner kick to account for the 4-0 final.
“We changed our formation today,” Dumont said. “We came into today feeling like we had nothing to lose. They’d already beat us once. Last time we were nervous.”
“We tried to concentrate on players filling their roles and doing the right things,” added Fischman. “It was tough conditions today. The team did a good job adjusting to the conditions and keeping their concentration. I think we’ve been gradually improving over the course of the season. The game Wednesday was a bit of an anomaly for us. This continues our improvement and building on things we’ve learned over the course of the season.
“I think Courtney played very well today. She was terrific. It always helps when you have a talented senior play well in a competitive situation. That was a big boost for the team as a whole. Molly had a good game. She’s a very good competitor. It’s a pleasure to have her approach to the game. She has a great attitude. She’s good all around.”
Waynflete managed just two corner kicks (one in each half) and really only had one good scoring chance (senior standout Morgan Woodhouse’s shot in the 26th minute was saved by NYA junior goalkeeper Caroline Bowne) as it fell to 8-1.
“We just didn’t play well today,” Dominski said. “Regardless of the weather, you have to
come to play, especially against your rival. They wanted it. They took
care of it early. If this refocuses us, it’s not a bad thing.”
The Flyers (now fifth in the latest Western Class C Heal Points standings) hosts Fryeburg Tuesday, goes to Poland Thursday and Wells Friday.
The Panthers (7-2-1 and fourth in Western C) play at Traip Tuesday and visit Fryeburg Thursday.
If NYA and Waynflete meet a third time, which is a pretty safe bet, it will come in the playoffs.
“We’re still on track to get a good seed and we’ll see (NYA) again,” Dominski said.
“It’s always a very even match with Waynflete,” said Fischman. “They’re a strong team and they’re having a good season. We have to work and be ready for the next time around.”
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org