Waynflete impresses with decisive win over rival NYA

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PORTLAND—Waynflete’s boys’ soccer team put on quite a show Tuesday afternoon at Fore River Field.

Against an opponent that the Flyers enjoy beating like no other.

In a rematch of a playoff thriller from a year ago, Waynflete got the jump on visiting North Yarmouth Academy in the 10th minute when senior standout Harry Baker-Connick drilled home a shot from 35 yards out.

And the Flyers were just getting started.

Senior captain Clancy Mitchell got in on the fun in the 18th minute, when his long shot somehow got past Panthers senior goalkeeper Clayton Manchester for a 2-0 lead.

NYA had its chances in the first half and almost cut the deficit in half, but senior D.J. Nicholas was robbed by Waynflete junior goalkeeper Milo Belleau, who would be even more impressive in the second half.

There, while Belleau was keeping the Panthers off the board, Mitchell scored his second goal after a pretty spin move and junior Willy Burdick converted a penalty kick before finishing the scoring with a 40-yard blast of a free kick to bring the curtain down on the Flyers’ emphatic 5-0 triumph.

Waynflete improved to 4-1 after its first win over NYA in four tries and dropped the Panthers to 3-2-1 in the process.

There’s definitely a different look on the kids’ faces when NYA comes up,” said longtime Flyers coach Brandon Salway. “No matter which team has changed faces, who’s graduated. It’s a fun rivalry. I think we played pretty well as a team. We’re continuing to get better, which is what I like.”

First of three?

Waynflete and NYA have seen a lot of each other the past four seasons.

Not only did the Flyers and Panthers meet twice in the regular season, but they squared off in the playoffs in each of those years as well.

Last fall, the rivalry was in NYA’s favor, as it won in Portland (1-0), in Yarmouth (3-0), then at home again in a memorable quarterfinal, when Michael McIntosh’s overtime goal capped a dramatic comeback and produced a 2-1 victory.

So far this fall, each team has shown glimpses of once again being very good.

The Panthers, under new coach Raiff Gwinnett, opened with a 7-2 home victory over Traip. After a 2-1 home loss to Richmond, NYA won at Sacopee (4-0) and Traip (9-1), then settled for a 2-2 home draw against Fryeburg last Thursday.

The Flyers won their first two games with ease, blanking host Traip (5-0) and visiting Fryeburg (9-0). Last Tuesday, Waynflete battled perennial powerhouse Falmouth for 80 exciting minutes, but lost a 1-0 decision at home. The Flyers bounced back Thursday with a 4-0 win at Lake Region.

Entering the game, since the start of the 1999 season, NYA had won 15 meetings, Waynflete nine and five other games ended in ties (please see sidebar, below),

Tuesday, the Panthers hoped to make it four in a row over the Flyers, but Waynflete was able to somewhat avenge the results of last year and beat NYA for the first time since the 2012 Western C Final.

The Panthers almost struck in the first minute, when Nicholas got past a defender and appeared primed to go one-on-one with Belleau, but Burdick came from nowhere to break up the opportunity.

The Flyers’ first good chance resulted in a goal.

With 30:36 to play in the first half, Baker-Connick got a step on a defender and launched a shot from 35 yards away. The ball carried over the head of Manchester for a quick 1-0 advantage.

Harry’s goal was extremely exciting,” Mitchell said. “It got the team going.”

“That was a great goal to start the game,” Salway said. “That let us play the way we wanted to.”

Mitchell almost doubled the lead two minutes later, but his shot hit the post.

Mitchell got another chance with 22:02 to play in the half and got a gift. His long shot handcuffed Manchester and trickled into the goal for a 2-0 lead.

It was just a matter of putting it on target low and hard and I got a little lucky,” Mitchell said. “I think it bounced off his foot and went into the corner.”

Just when Waynflete appeared in firm control, NYA had a great chance to cut into the lead.

With 10:27 left in the half, junior Bobby Murphy touched the ball to Nicholas, who one-timed a shot in the box that appeared to be a sure goal, but Belleau managed to get his left hand on the ball and send it out of harm’s way.

I waited for him to make the decision,” Belleau said. “Once I see which way his foot is pointed, that’s when I make a reaction.”

Before halftime, Nicholas had shot blocked in front, Belleau dove to save a Nicholas shot off a corner kick and Nicholas sent a loose ball just wide and although they led by two goals, the Flyers didn’t exactly have momentum at halftime.

Salway then emphasized that there was still plenty of work to do.

“Brandon talked about whoever got the first goal in the second half, that could decide the game,” Belleau said.

The Panthers had the first good chance of the second stanza, but a feed into the box for Nicholas was snared by Belleau in the nick of time.

Waynflete transitioned to offense and Mitchell showed he didn’t need luck to score his second goal.

Mitchell got a pass from Baker-Connick and did a spin-o-rama move around a defender, before firing the ball past Manchester to make it 3-0 with 36:08 to play.

The second (goal) I’m really proud of,” said Mitchell. “That was fun.”

“Clancy is a great finisher,” Salway said. “He’s one of the best finishers we’ve seen.”

The Flyers kept pressuring and were rewarded with 27:53 remaining.

After an NYA handball in the box, Waynflete earned a PK and Burdick did the honors.

Burdick stepped to the line and fired a shot to Manchester’s right which found the net for a 4-0 victory.

I was just trying to think positive,” Burdick said. “When I get nervous, that’s when I shank it. I usually know where I’m going to go before I shoot.”

The hosts weren’t done yet.

After junior Cullen Bollinger hit the crossbar, the Flyers earned a free kick which would have wide ranging repercussions.

Burdick took it from 40 yards out and produced the shot of his young life, blasting it into the goal in even more impressive fashion than the goal which Baker-Connick scored earlier.

The strike stretched the lead to 5-0 with 11:55 to go.

Brandon just told me to challenge the goalie,” Burdick said. “I kicked it as hard as a I could. When I kicked it, I knew something good was going to happen. When it went in, I was so happy.”

“Willy has really stepped up,” Salway said. “We needed somebody to step up and be a dependable back. He’s been great at communicating. He’s surpassed our hopes. We just hope he continues to improve.”

Gwinnett took issue with the call that led to Burdick’s goal and after receiving a yellow card from the official, Gwinnett didn’t stop and that led to a red card and an ejection. As a result, Gwinnett (per Maine Principals’ Association rules) will have to miss NYA’s next contest.

His departure did inspire his charges, however, and the Panthers pushed hard to avoid the shutout.

Their best chance came with 5:53 to go, when sophomore Jacob Sturgess lofted a shot from the left side which appeared to be too high for Belleau to reach, but somehow, as if he was on a pogo stick, Belleau got up high enough to grab the ball, then was able to cradle it to his body as he hit the ground.

That play Milo made is one of the most athletic plays I’ve seen in soccer in 26 years,” said Salway. “It was just amazing.

That slammed the door and Waynflete went on to the 5-0 win.

I’m very happy with our performance,” Mitchell said. “I’m extremely proud and I think we can improve even more. Last year was a big thing in our minds and we wanted to get a little bit of revenge.”

It’s huge for us,” Burdick said. “After a loss at Falmouth, we were disappointed. This is a huge conference win.”

The Flyers were outshot, 20-18 (12-8 on frame), but a dozen saves from Belleau loomed huge.

“A few were easy, but mostly I was just reading the shots and being disciplined,” Belleau said. “The defense was really good. The communication was great.”

Waynflete’s defense was actually tremendous Tuesday. Nicholas was the biggest concern and junior Aaron Lee (with help) kept him off the board.

“D.J. is a great player,” Burdick said. “Ever since he was a freshman, we’ve been worried about him. Aaron did a great job man-marking him. If Aaron got beat, which didn’t happen much, I was there to help. We did a pretty good job on him.”

“Aaron’s played against two of the top players in the conference, bar none, in (Falmouth’s Luke) Velas and D.J.,” Salway said. “They’re tremendous players. Aaron’s got a relentless motor. He sets up everybody else because he’s so dependable defensively. He’s tough as nails.”

Waynflete had a 6-2 edge in corner kicks.

NYA got three saves from Manchester and will be heard from again.

“NYA has a young, good side,” Salway said. “They’ll get better and they’ll be motivated.”

See you Oct. 11

The rematch comes next month in Yarmouth, but both squads will be tested in the meantime.

NYA (sixth in the Western Class C Heal Points standings at press time) is back in action Saturday, when Wells pays a visit. Next week features a home game against Sacopee Valley and a trip to Freeport.

Waynflete’s grueling week continues Saturday, when the Flyers (currently fourth in Western C) go to Western B powerhouse Yarmouth.

I haven’t seen Yarmouth yet,” Belleau said. “It’s a great opportunity for us.”

“It’s a great opportunity for us to challenge ourselves,” Salway said. “We’ll have to be at our best. We do nothing but gain from those games. Win or lose.”

Waynflete is then home against Poland Tuesday.

“We need to improve all around,” Mitchell said. “It’s hard to speak to individuality, but we’re improving our communication constantly. We’re improving our camaraderie and our teamwork constantly. That’s only going to get better.”

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

Two defenders aren’t enough to contain Waynflete senior standout Harry Baker-Connick. Baker-Connick set the tone with a tremendous individual effort on the first goal of the game.

Waynflete junior goalkeeper Milo Belleau soars to make one of his 12 saves. Belleau had to work hard, but earned the shutout.

Waynflete freshman Christian Brooks battles NYA sophomore Xander Bartone for possession.

Waynflete senior Clancy Mitchell tries to fight off NYA junior Noah Dennis.

NYA senior star D.J. Nicholas gets a step on a defender.

NYA sophomore Jeremy Thelven heads the ball away from Waynflete senior Clancy Mitchell.

Waynflete freshman Max Winson skies to head the ball away from NYA sophomore Jacob Sturgess.

Recent Waynflete-NYA results

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

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

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

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

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

Sidebar Elements


Waynflete junior Willy Burdick (4) is mobbed by his teammates after his 40 yard free kick blast produced the final goal in Tuesday’s 5-0 home victory over rival North Yarmouth Academy. Burdick had two goals on the day.

Brian Beard photos.

More photos below.

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