Waynflete boys blank rival NYA

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Waynflete sophomore goalkeeper Luca Antolini and junior Miles Lipton celebrate during the Flyers’ 3-0 home win over rival North Yarmouth Academy Tuesday afternoon.

Brian Beard photos.

More photos below.

PORTLAND—After failing to score a single goal in a pair of losses last year to its rival, Waynflete’s boys’ soccer team had a simple mission when it hosted North Yarmouth Academy Tuesday afternoon at Fore River Fields.

Score and score again.

The Flyers produced an abundance of chances, tickled the twine on three of them and went on to an important early season victory made even more impressive by the fact they hadn’t played a game in 11 days.

After several near-misses, Waynflete got the only goal it would need in the 12th minute, when, off a corner kick, sophomore Diraige Dahia one-timed a shot into the net.

Despite a 13-1 advantage in shots on cage in the first half, the Flyers couldn’t add to their lead before the break, but with 36:22 to play, senior Ilyas Abdi finished unassisted to double the lead.

Abdi struck again, assisted by junior Thorne Kieffer, with 18:28 remaining and Waynflete stifled the Panthers’ offense from start to finish and went on to a 3-0 victory.

The Flyers improved to 2-0 on the young season and dropped NYA to 1-1-1 in the process.

“It’s always a good game against NYA,” Abdi said. “It feels really good to beat NYA, especially at home.”

Here we go again

Waynflete and NYA have long done battle on the pitch and seemingly produce memorable games on an annual basis.

Last fall, the Panthers twice beat the Flyers by 1-0 scores to take an 18-11 edge (with five ties) in the series, dating back to the 1999 season (see sidebar, below).

NYA went on to lose to Monmouth, 2-1, in the Class C South semifinals to finish 10-5-1.

Waynflete also reached the semifinals, where it lost, 1-0 (6-4 on penalty kicks), to Lisbon to wind up 8-6-2.

The Flyers began the 2017 campaign with a 6-1 win at St. Dom’s, but hadn’t played since.

The Panthers, who welcomed back Martyn Keen as coach this fall after Keen took 2016 off to battle cancer, started with a 3-2 home victory over Sacopee Valley, then settled for a 1-1 home tie with Wells.

Tuesday, on a beautiful 76-degree afternoon, NYA looked to improve to 7-2-1 in the past 10 meetings, but Waynflete carried play most of the day and beat its rival for the first time since 2015.

The Panthers actually had the first look, earning a free kick just outside the box in the second minute, but junior Linus Maurer’s shot was snared by Flyers sophomore goalkeeper Luca Antolini.

A minute later, at the other end, Waynflete earned a free kick and senior Christian Brooks’ blast was on target, but NYA senior goalkeeper Connor Clock made the save.

After a long free kick by Panthers junior Ryan Baker was cleared, the Flyers went on the attack and had some great looks at the first goal of the game.

First, off a corner kick, Waynflete freshman Harry Millspaugh headed the ball just wide.

A minute later, senior Hank Duvall crossed the ball in front, but Clock fell on it at the last second.

Abdi first made his presence felt in the eighth minute, weaving through three defenders, but he was denied at the last second by Clock.

Kieffer had a shot in the 10th minute blocked in the box and the rebound came to Dahia, but he shot just high.

After sophomore Askar Houssein was denied by Clock on the doorstep, Houssein took a pass from Brooks and got a clean look at the goal, but Clock made the save, then stopped two rebounds.

With 28:25 remaining, the hosts finally broke through.

Off a corner kick, the ball came to sophomore Ian McClure-Chute, who sent it toward the goal, where Dahia was there to one-time it into the net for a 1-0 lead.

Waynflete was on the scoreboard, but wanted more and it certainly had some chances as the half progressed.

In the 19th minute, Abdi got a good look off a corner, but was denied.

Two minutes later, junior Mykel Henry’s shot was snared by Clock.

With 17:57 on the first half clock, a Houssein one-timer forced Clock to dive and make a save.

Clock had to leap and make a stop three minutes later, as Abdi’s cross to Houssein was sent on target.

The Panthers earned a corner kick in the 27th minute, but nothing came of it.

Later in the half, Brooks had a shot saved, Brooks headed the ball over the crossbar and Abdi had a shot blocked.

NYA looked to equalize with 2:15 to go, as Baker took a free kick from just outside the box, but it was blocked and the game went to halftime with Waynflete on top by just a goal.

“We were a little frustrated,” said Flyers coach Brandon Salway. “We carried the play and played quickly. We would have liked to have more, but the goals will come.”

They did in the second half.

Courtesy Abdi’s playmaking expertise.

After the Panthers nearly tied it with 36:51 remaining on a rush by junior Markus Russell that was broken up at the last second by McClure-Chute, Waynflete transitioned the other way and 29 seconds later, Abdi got through the defense and buried his shot for a 2-0 lead.

“We weren’t playing to our level in the first half,” Abdi said. “We started out slow, but got fired up in the second half. We have to do a better job in the first half. I made a quick move and shot. Brandon says to always shoot early and I did.”

“Ilyas will get chances,” said Salway. “He draws a big crowd, but he’s a great leader and he’s off to a great start.”

NYA tried to answer at the other end, but junior Xander Kostelnik’s shot was saved by Antolini.

Kostelnik tried again with 29:45 to play, but Antolini stopped that one as well.

One negative note for the Flyers came with 27:17 on the clock, as Brooks went down with an apparent leg injury and had to be helped from the field.

Once play resumed, Waynflete returned to the attack, as Dahia sent a header wide on a corner, Abdi was denied by Clock, sophomore Oliver Burdick’s shot was tipped over the crossbar by Clock and an ensuing corner kick didn’t result in a shot.

Abdi then put the game away with 18:28 to play.

Kieffer sent a long pass up the field to Abdi, who fought his way past a defender, then finished to make it 3-0.

“My middies are really good at playing the ball forward and getting it to my feet,” said Abdi. “(Thorne) did a great job setting me up.”

Down the stretch, the Flyers got looks from Duvall and freshman Aidan Kieffer, but Clock stopped both and Waynflete went on to a 3-0 victory.

“We’re finding our way, but this is a good result,” said Salway. “Martyn always does a great job, so we’ll take this result.”

Clock saw 22 shots and stopped 19.

“Their keeper played really well,” Salway said. “He’s good and aggressive. He makes kids hit the back of the net, which, when you’ve practiced twice in the last 13 days, is a little difficult.”

“Connor had a nice game in goal, but with the critical eye of an expert goalie coach, I think he could have had a shutout if he was a little more aggressive,” Keen said.”

Waynflete had a 22-5 shots advantage, a 14-4 edge in corner kicks and got five saves from Antolini.

Despite the setback, the Panthers weren’t discouraged.

“(Waynflete’s) a very skilled team with some great players,” Keen said. “Brandon is a good coach. I know a lot of their players. We don’t have any real soccer players, but we have kids with great spirit and heart. We know we go into certain games as a big underdog and we hope to compete. We hung around well.”

Gearing up

The teams square off for the second and final time a week from Saturday in Yarmouth. Both squads will be tested in the interim.

NYA remains on the road Friday when it goes to Poland. A home test with Freeport looms Tuesday of next week.

“Our aim is to get enough points to get in the D tournament and take it from there,” Keen said. “There are some good teams in Class D, but not the caliber of other teams we see during the season. We’re keeping it in perspective and we’ll make adjustments the next time we play (Waynflete). We hope to get back on track Friday.”

Waynflete hosts Traip Academy Friday and travels to Sacopee Valley Tuesday of next week.

“We’re very young, but we want to go deep this year,” said Abdi.

“When we practice, we get better,” Salway said. “The guys work hard and listen and like each other. Everyone tells me Traip is really solid this year, so we’re looking forward to that game.” 

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

Waynflete junior Burr Rhoads and NYA junior Jackson Linscott meet in the air.

Waynflete sophomore Oliver Burdick tries to take the ball from NYA junior Jack Lent.

Waynflete senior Ilyas Abdi splits NYA defenders Jackson Linscott, left, and Reese Merritt. 

Waynflete senior Hank Duvall possesses the ball.

Waynflete sophomore Askar Houssein tries to get past NYA freshman Reese Merritt.

Waynflete junior Miles Lipton plays the ball.

Recent Waynflete-NYA results

2016
NYA 1 @ Waynflete 0 
@ NYA 1 Waynflete 0

2015
@ NYA 2 Waynflete 0 
@ Waynflete 1 NYA 0

2014
@ Waynflete 5 NYA 0  
@ NYA 2 Waynflete 2 (tie) 

2013
NYA 1 @ Waynflete 0
@ NYA 3 Waynflete 0
Western C quarterfinals
@ NYA 2 Waynflete 1 (OT) 

2012
Waynflete 5 @ NYA 0
@ Waynflete 2 NYA 0
Western C quarterfinals
@ Waynflete 7 NYA 1 

2011
@ Waynflete 1 NYA 1 (tie)
Waynflete 2 @ NYA 1
Western C Final
@ Waynflete 3 NYA 1 

2010
@ Waynflete 2 NYA 0
Waynflete 1 @ NYA 0
Western C Final
NYA 1 @ Waynflete 0 

2009
Waynflete 4 @ NYA 2
NYA 1 @ Waynflete 0

2008
@ Waynflete 1 NYA 1 (tie)

2007
@ NYA 2 Waynflete 1

2006
@ NYA 3 Waynflete 0
NYA 5 @ Waynflete 2

2005
@ Waynflete 2 NYA 2 (tie)
Waynflete 4 @ NYA 2

2004
@ Waynflete 1 NYA 1 (tie)
@ NYA 5 Waynflete 0

2003
NYA 2 @ Waynflete 0
@ NYA 3 Waynflete 1

2002
NYA 5 @ Waynflete 1

2001
@ NYA 6 Waynflete 0

2000
NYA 1 @ Waynflete 0

1999
@ NYA 3 Waynflete 0

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.