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Yarmouth senior Emilie Martin, center, is congratulated by junior Lydia Guay, left, and senior Maggie Gunville after scoring the lone goal in the Clippers’ 1-0 home win over Lake Region Thursday.
Joe Carpine / 365digitalphotography.com photos.
More photos below.
YARMOUTH—Yarmouth’s field hockey program is going through a transition period, but the Clippers continue to find ways to win.
Yarmouth is in the process of replacing several key players who graduated and earlier this week, the Clippers learned that they’re going to be losing their coach as well, but when they took the field Thursday afternoon against visiting Lake Region, they left it all behind and once again gave their all for 60 minutes and were rewarded with a victory.
Senior Emilie Martin, one of Yarmouth’s few experienced players, scored off a penalty corner 12 minutes into the game for a 1-0 lead.
The Clippers took that advantage to the second half and while they couldn’t score again, thanks to a strong defensive effort and the play of first-year goalie, junior Cayte Tillotson, they were able to hold the Lakers at bay and go on to a 1-0 victory.
Yarmouth improved to 4-1 on the season and dropped Lake Region to 1-4 in the process.
“These guys are trying so hard, we just don’t have a lot of experience,” said Clippers coach Amy Ashley. “We have just two returners from last season. We have players who are new to field hockey and new to varsity. It’s not always pretty, but they want to learn. That’s good for our future.”
Both teams have shown positive signs in the early going this fall.
Lake Region, which didn’t win a game in 2016 (finishing 0-13-1), held off visiting Fryeburg Academy, 1-0, in its opener to get in the victory column before losing at Poland (4-0), Freeport (1-0) and three-time defending Class B champion York (3-1, in a game the Lakers led at halftime, 1-0).
Yarmouth, which got to the Class B South Final last fall, opened with home wins over Poland (3-1) and Fryeburg (2-0). Monday, in a makeup game, the Clippers lost in a regional final rematch at York, 3-1.
Last year, Yarmouth won, 6-0, at Lake Region to give Ashley her 100th career victory (she coached for eight seasons at Cheverus prior to joining the Clippers).
Yarmouth has gotten off to a fast start, but the program was rocked Tuesday when Ashley informed her players that she was leaving to become the new athletic director at Cheverus.
“Amy Ashley has had so much of an impact on our program,” Martin said. “I’m going to miss her. This is my second year with her and I’m so proud of her. She’s such an amazing coach. We’re trying to extract as much as possible in her final week.”
No one knew quite what to expect from the Clippers Thursday afternoon when the Lakers were seeking their first victory in Yarmouth since Aug. 29, 2012 (4-1), but the Clippers managed to pull it together and beat Lake Region for the third year in a row.
There weren’t many scoring chances either way in the first half, but the hosts managed to convert one of their three penalty corners in the game’s lone goal.
With 18:03 to play in the half, the ball was inserted by senior Kirsten Thomas to Martin, who got around a defender before blasting a shot past Lake Region sophomore goalie Arianna Hoot for a 1-0 lead.
“The ball came in, I did a fake to draw the defenders and I shot,” Martin said.
“That was beautiful execution on that goal,” Ashley said. “I’m proud of her. She puts the time in and deserved to get one.”
The Lakers’ best chance came four minutes later, but Clippers sophomore Tessa Piker broke up the rush of senior Olivia Deschenes.
The second half saw more shots, but none found the mark.
After Martin missed just wide with 24:25 to go, Lake Region began generating some chances and earned successive corners. Nothing happened on the first, but on the second, senior Hailey Parsons shot just wide.
With 15:13 to play, Ashley called timeout and Yarmouth then reasserted control for most of the remainder of the contest.
The Clippers nearly doubled their lead on a few occasions, but junior Lydia Guay tipped senior Cate Ralph’s shot just wide, Ralph’s redirect of Martin shot was saved by Hoot, Guay was robbed in close and a Guay rush was broken up and a rebound was sent wide.
“It’s hard because we lost so many seniors,” Martin said. “We have so many people coming from other sports who are athletic and have stepped up. It’s hard to get the ball in the circle and not score, but I have full confidence we’ll get there and be able to finish.”
The Lakers had one final chance when they earned a corner with 4:25 on the clock, but Yarmouth cleared it and managed to run out the clock before celebrating its 1-0 victory.
“We held them off,” Martin said. “We dominated most of the game and I think we finished well.”
“We came out flat in the second half and called timeout and after that, they didn’t get in our zone much,” Ashley said. “We need to stay tough throughout the game and not have lulls.”
The Clippers finished with a 10-2 shots advantage and enjoyed a 6-3 edge in penalty corners. Tillotson made two saves.
“I love having Cayte back there,” Ashley said. “No one would know it’s her first year in goal.”
Hoot made nine saves for Lake Region.
While Lake Region is back in action Saturday at Cape Elizabeth, Yarmouth has three games left with Ashley as coach before assistants Kristy Bernatchez and Andrea Musante take over as co-coaches for the duration of the season.
“Every moment I have with (the girls) is precious at this point,” Ashley said. “It’s bittersweet, but when I’m here, I’m all in and I really want the girls to succeed. These girls are really mature and supportive. They know they have an amazing staff of coaches who will fill in. That makes it easier for me.”
The Clippers visit Greely Saturday, host Gray-New Gloucester Monday, then welcome Cape Elizabeth Wednesday before going to crosstown rival North Yarmouth Academy Friday of next week.
“We’re stepping up to the plate,” Martin said. “I have full confidence in our team.”
“We have two practices and three games coming up, but that’s what they want, to play the games,” Ashley said. “I think they’re learning more in games. I hope the things we’re not doing well we can fix and turn around.”
Yarmouth sophomore Tessa Piker plays the ball.
Yarmouth senior Emilie Martin gets the ball past Lake Region junior Shayla Dunn.
Yarmouth prepares to run a penalty corner.
Yarmouth senior Sophie McGrath brings the ball up the field.