YARMOUTH—Beware Class B girls’ lacrosse:
The Waynflete Flyers have that championship look once again.
Monday afternoon on the turf at Yarmouth High, playing against a team seeking to avenge a loss from earlier this spring, the Flyers came out sizzling, grabbed a 5-0 lead and never looked back.
Waynflete pushed its advantage to as many as six goals, 11-5, in the second half, before a late flurry by the hosts made it a two-goal game. The Flyers added one more, however, and did what they do best, run out the clock, as they won their ninth game in a row and improved to 10-1 on the season with a 12-9 victory over the Clippers, who fell to 8-3.
Waynflete got four goals from senior Morgan Woodhouse, three from senior Amy Allen and two with two assists from freshman phenom Sadie Cole and used timely defense and some clutch saves from freshman goalie Katherine Torrey to keep the good times rolling.
“This is the best game we’ve played,” said Flyers coach Cathie Connors. “I just feel like everyone came and wanted it.”
Championship game preview, part I?
Waynflete has done what it’s made an art form of doing since Connors took over as coach in 1993, peak as the season progresses. After graduating several standouts from last year’s state champion, the Flyers second in a row, Waynflete was expected in some quarters to come back to the pack in 2010.
The Flyers did have their 22-game win streak snapped back on April 30 with a 7-6 loss at North Yarmouth Academy, but they haven’t been toppled since and held off visiting Yarmouth, 8-6, in the first meeting, May 6. Saturday, Waynflete had a much harder time than expected in a 10-9 home victory over York.
Yarmouth, meanwhile, entered Monday’s game on a high note. Last week, the Clippers defeated rival and recent nemesis NYA for the second time this year, 11-6, on the road, then erupted in the second half to defeat visiting Falmouth, 19-10.
The Flyers came out, well, flying on Monday and quickly built a healthy lead.
After Torrey made three key early saves, Waynflete went on top for good when Woodhouse rebounded her free position bid which Yarmouth junior goalie Carlie Woodson had saved and sent the second effort into the net for a 1-0 lead, 3 minutes, 27 seconds in.
After a Yarmouth yellow card allowed the Flyers to be up a player for three minutes, they struck twice, getting a goal from Cole (assisted by freshman Martha Veroneau) and another from Woodhouse (unassisted, after a turnover) to make it 3-0.
Clippers coach Dorothy Holt called timeout, but Waynflete kept the pressure on as Woodhouse scored unassisted and junior Mica Thompson, after a dazzling catch of a pass from junior Liv Chap, beat Woodson for a commanding 5-0 advantage.
“It was really important to get off to a good start,” Cole said. “We knew we couldn’t count on being a second half team. We knew we had to come out strong and score.”
The hosts finally broke the ice when junior Danielle Torres took a pass from junior Natalie Salmon and beat Torrey with 8:44 remaining in the half. Just 26 seconds later, off a draw win, junior Devin Simsarian set up Torres for another goal, cutting the deficit to 5-2.
Connors then called timeout and it worked like a charm as the Flyers won the draw and Woodhouse set up Chap for a goal with 8:05 remaining, making it 6-2, which would be the halftime score.
In the opening 25 minutes, Waynflete had a 17-10 edge in shots on goal and forced 13 turnovers, while giving the ball away just seven times.
After Cole opened the second half scoring with a free position goal, Yarmouth made a move, pulling to within 7-4 on goals from Torres (unassisted) and junior Becca Bell (assisted by Salmon).
After Woodhouse and Clippers senior Nalini Robbins each drew iron with shots, Woodson came up big, denying back-to-back free positions from Allen and another by junior Scout Haffenreffer.
Finally, with 15:52 to go, Allen scored unassisted to make it 8-4, but Simsarian answered with an unassisted tally with 13:26 remaining and it was a three-goal contest again, 8-5.
The Flyers then threatened to put the game away.
First, Haffenreffer scored on a free position with 12:39 to go. Thirty-one seconds later, Woodhouse did the same and with 10 minutes exactly showing on the clock, after another Yarmouth yellow card, Cole set up Allen for a man-up goal and the visitors’ biggest lead, 11-5.
With Waynflete’s ability to win draws and drain the clock, it looked like the Clippers were finished, but they fought back valiantly.
First, senior Brenna Bialek set up Simsarian for a goal with 8:14 left. Forty-three seconds later, still down a player, Yarmouth struck again on a Simsarian free position. With 7 minutes to play, Torres assisted on senior Molly Curry’s goal and suddenly it was 11-8.
After Connors took a timeout to settle her team, Torrey made a save on a Bialek bid. Moments later, Simsarian had a great look, but Torrey again rose to the occasion and made the save. With 3:48 left, Bell scored unassisted to make things very close, 11-9, but after Woodhouse won the draw, Cole found a wide open Allen, who finished things off with her third tally of the game.
Waynflete ran out most of the remaining time and celebrated a big victory.
“We knew (Yarmouth would) bring a lot of intensity,” said Flyers junior defensive standout Izzer Berrang. “They’re great in the second half. We had to match their intensity. They’re a really aggressive team so we had to keep our focus. It was really close. They scared us a little bit, but we maintained our patience and worked on our transition and it worked out well.
“(Stalling at the end is) definitely one of our techniques, but it’s still scary. We try to stay patient and make smart passes. We wanted to come into this game as hard as we could because we knew they’d bring a lot of intensity.”
“It was pretty nervewracking, but I have confidence in our stall,” Cole said. “We work on it a lot. I have confidence in our goalie and in this team.
“It’s been really fun. The girls have been so welcoming. It’s so fun to play in an environment like this. It’s been awesome to score and assist as a freshman. Everyone is looking for everyone. We all want to win and work together and make pretty goals.”
“I felt if we kept playing our way, we’d keep getting fouled and keep the ball,” Connors added. “I never got too worried.”
While Woodhouse, Allen and Cole had multiple goals, Chap, Haffenreffer and Thompson added one apiece. Chap and Veroneau had assists. Torrey finished with eight saves, all of them key.
“Katherine was huge,” Connors said. “She made some big saves. She’s the difference.”
Waynflete forced 20 turnovers (while giving the ball away 14 times). It had a 32-22 advantage in shots and won 46 ground balls (Yarmouth finished with 51). Woodhouse led everyone with 11. Veroneau added seven and Berrang had six.
“I never would have thought we’d be 10-1,” Connors said. “The girls like each other. It sounds cliche, but they like playing together and they love the sport. The freshmen have stepped up huge. The seniors and have stepped up as leaders. The juniors too. Now they see what they can do. They want it so bad. To have four freshman on the field and to play like this, I’m psyched. If we can play like we did today, anything can happen.”
Yarmouth got three goals (and one assist) from both Simsarian and Torres, two goals from Bell and one from Curry. Salmon had two assists while Bialek finished with one. Woodson made 15 saves. Bell, Curry and Torres all had a team-high seven ground balls. The Clippers won 14 of 23 draws.
“It was one of those games,” Holt said. “We’ll get there. You come off a couple big games and when it comes to Waynflete, we get nervous. They’re good. We turned it on at the end. Both goalies played really well. Carlie did great. Their goalie made some key saves that were game-turners.”
See you next month?
Yarmouth (which is first in the latest Eastern B Heal Points standings) hopes to hold on to the top spot and have homefield advantage for the playoffs, something that should happen unless NYA wins at Waynflete (more on that game in a moment). The Clippers close the regular season with a home game on Senior Night, Wednesday, versus Greely.
Waynflete, meanwhile, doesn’t even get to rest 24 hours before hosting another power, NYA, Tuesday in the regular season finale, as the Flyers get a shot to avenge their lone loss.
“This is a good win, but we have to move on from this win and focus on tomorrow since it will be a hard game,” Berrang said. “It’s a good game to end the season.”
“It will be hard to turn around and play another team like this tomorrow,” Connors said. “I think it’s hard to play three hard games in a row in four days, but I think we’ll be ready to go and do our best.”
Waynflete has the top seed and homefield advantage locked up in Western B. Suddenly, the Flyers’ bid for a three-peat looks very, very realistic and they could very easily see the Clippers one more time, on June 19, in the Class B Final.
“I think we can go all the way if we keep playing the way we’re playing,” Cole said.
“Hopefully we’ll get to see Waynflete again,” Holt said.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org