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For the third time in five seasons and the fourth overall, the Waynflete girls’ lacrosse team was simply perfect in the regular season.
After a surprisingly easy 12-3 home victory over North Yarmouth Academy in a rematch of last year’s Class B state final Saturday, the Flyers finally got a challenge Monday night, but passed it, 8-6.
Next up: a run at a second straight championship.
“I had no idea we would do this,” Waynflete coach Cathie Connors said. “I’m really psyched. We thought we’d rebuild a little bit, but the girls have played their hearts out. They love the sport. They live for it and it shows.”
By any means necessary
The Flyers crushed the first 10 teams they played this year by a composite 143-39 score. Their smallest margin of victory was six (10-4 over visiting Kennebunk May 14).
NYA, coming off an epic overtime loss at Yarmouth, thought it could give Waynflete a run Saturday afternoon (in a game postponed 24 hours by rain), but wasn’t even close.
After a sluggish start, the Flyers ripped off six straight goals to seize control and lead 7-1 at the half. The Panthers got within 8-3 early in the second half, but Waynflete scored the final four goals and won 12-3.
Junior Morgan Woodhouse had four goals and one assist, while senior Anna Libby scored three times.
“It was really exciting,” said Libby. “We thought about this game a lot. (NYA’s) a really good team. We just played our game.”
“It didn’t feel like a nine-goal win,” said Connors. “I’m psyched, but I don’t underestimate NYA at all. If we see them again, we’ll see a different team.”
Waynflete had a 37-22 edge in ground balls and outshot the visitors by a whopping 34-13 margin. The Flyers also held Panthers junior Courtney Dumont to just two goals. In last year’s state game, Dumont went off for six goals in the first half and had a record seven in all.
“We practice defense all the time,” Libby said. “We know who’s where and what to do.”
The easy victory left Connors hoping her girls would get a test before the season ended.
“I want a closer game,” she said. “I’m hoping Monday is a good, close game. We need it.”
She got her wish.
Monday night, Waynflete had a much tougher time against a Yarmouth squad riding sky-high after its win over NYA last week. The Clippers entered the game 10-1, losing only to visiting Kennebunk by a goal. Since 2001, either Waynflete (five times) or Yarmouth (three times) has won the state championship.
The Flyers appeared primed to run away and hide again when sophomore Mica Thompson and Libby scored in the early going, but Yarmouth got up off the deck and scored three straight goals to put Waynflete behind for the first time all season.
The Flyers got the final two goals of the first half, then went up 5-3 on Libby’s goal with 21:08 to play, but again, the Clippers responded and tied the score at 5-5 and again at 6-6 with 8:31 to go.
If the Flyers wanted a game, they’d gotten more than they’d bargained for, but resembling the champions they are and hope to be again, Waynflete made the plays when they mattered most.
With 7:48 to play, sophomore Liv Chap found herself in the right place at the right time, taking a pass from junior Amy Allen and scoring to put the visitors ahead to stay.
“Amy had such a good pass,” Chap said. “I saw a little opening right under (the goalie’s) stick. I was in shock for a couple seconds after. I’m glad it happened that way.”
“Liv had timing and was smart,” Connors added. “She saw the angle and took it.”
Fifty seconds later, the Flyers got a little breathing room when Woodhouse set up Allen to make it 8-6. Solid defense and a stalling offense sealed the deal.
“We needed to just put in a couple and hold the ball awhile,” Connors said.
“It was so fun,” added Chap. “It was so intense. This was good. We definitely had a challenge. They had such good defense. They made me tired. They did such a good job. It got scary, it definitely did, but Cathie gave us some good pep talks and the team’s energy came out. The last few minutes were really crucial. We had to think about all our passes.”
Waynflete got two goals apiece from Libby and Woodhouse (who also had two assists and a game-high eight ground balls).
The final stats reflected how close the game was. Each team won eight draws, the Clippers had three more turnovers (21-18), outshot the Flyers, 19-16, and had a big edge in ground balls (42-27).
Waynflete parlayed its undefeated regular seasons into championships in 1998 and 2005, but lost to Yarmouth in the 2006 state game. This time around, the Flyers surprised themselves and their coach with their unblemished mark.
“It’s unbelievable,” Chap said. “I’m so proud to be on this team. We have such a good time together. I think we’re ready for the playoffs. We have so much potential.”
Waynflete won’t play again until the regional semifinals June 13.
“I feel good we have some time off,” Connors said. “At this point, it’s undefeated or nothing.”
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him at www.twitter.com/mhoffer
Waynflete junior Morgan Woodhouse was her usual dominant self all over the field Saturday, scoring four goals and leading the Flyers to a 12-3 home win over North Yarmouth Academy in a rematch of last year’s Class B state final. (Brian Beard photo)
Waynflete senior Anna Libby had four goals Saturday, leading the Flyers to their 11th straight win. (Brian Beard photo)