YARMOUTH—Waynflete’s youth was served in the girls’ lacrosse regular season opener at North Yarmouth Academy Thursday afternoon.
The unproven Flyers will have their ups and downs this spring, but for one day at least, it was almost all ups as Waynflete dominated the first half en route to its eighth successive regular season opening victory.
Just 80 seconds in, sophomore Isabel Canning put the Flyers ahead to stay. Canning would score four times before halftime and freshmen Izzy Burdick and Lydia Giguere registered their first varsity goals as Waynflete took an 8-0 lead.
The second half was more even, but the Panthers never made a serious run and the Flyers went on to a 13-4 victory.
Canning had four goals, Burdick added three and Giguere had two as freshmen and sophomores accounted for 11 goals as Waynflete got its season off to a fine start.
“We’re a young team, so it’s exciting,” Canning said. “We channeled our nerves at the beginning into goals.”
Both teams have promise, but also face several question marks as the new season dawns.
NYA made some nice strides a year ago and gave eventual champion Yarmouth a mighty scare in the Eastern B Final before losing, 9-7, to wind up 5-9. The Panthers learned a lot and hope that translates into more victories this spring.
Waynflete wasn’t able to win a third consecutive Class B title in 2014, but it did improve steadily after a 1-2 start. The Flyers were eventually upset, 9-8, by Cape Elizabeth in the Western B semifinals to finish 8-5, then graduated several key players and was further compromised when promising junior Hannah Thompson-Greaves suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier this week.
Waynflete has had the edge over the years, winning 19 of 25 meetings (including five of six encounters in the state final, see sidebar, below), including each of the past five. Last year, in the opener, the Flyers got a late goal from Cat Johnson to prevail, 6-5.
Thursday, Waynflete secured its victory much faster and won on Opening Day yet again (the last time the Flyers lost their first game was April 23, 2007, a 7-5 home setback to Yarmouth).
The tone was set at the start when senior Helen Gray-Bauer won the draw. The Flyers set up on offense and with 23:40 to play in the first half, Canning found some daylight and raced in and beat NYA senior goalie Scout Fischman for a 1-0 advantage.
“We had to keep the defense on their toes,” said Canning, who wasn’t a big part of the offense a season ago. “We supported each other. It’s exciting. Nothing feels better than getting a goal.”
It took nearly seven minutes for Waynflete to double its lead, but the Flyers did so when Burdick, who has turned heads since the first day of practice, scored on a free position to make it 2-0.
“Izzy, day one, day two of practice, controlled the ball and was sure of herself and confident,” said Waynflete coach Cathie Connors, who won the 260th game of her illustrious 23-year career.
Twenty seconds after Burdick scored her first varsity goal, Giguere did the same, finishing a feed from junior Meddy Smith.
Unassisted goals from Canning and junior Nina Moore (who transferred to Waynflete this school year from Freeport) in a one-minute span made it 5-0 and forced NYA coach Lucy Gerrity to call timeout.
It didn’t help, as Burdick set up Canning for a goal, Canning scored unassisted and with 30.3 seconds left, Gray-Bauer, a three-sport standout, who won eight of nine first half draws, scored an unassisted goal to make it 8-0 at the break.
“Helen’s tenacity in all sports is amazing,” Canning said. “It’s a game of possession.”
In the first 25 minutes, Waynflete had a 19-9 advantage in ground balls, forced nine turnovers and outshot the Panthers by a commanding 17-2 margin.
NYA was far more competitive in the second half.
It took 10 minutes, 25 seconds for the first goal to be scored, as Flyers freshman LZ Olney got her first varsity goal to make it 9-0.
With 13:56 left, the Panthers got off the schneid, courtesy an unassisted goal from senior Mary Noyes. Freshman Ya Stockford answered with her first varsity goal for the visitors, but senior Melanie Regan (free position) and Noyes (from Regan) countered to make it 10-3.
A Burdick unassisted goal ended NYA’s momentum. After Regan scored on a rebound, senior Haley Johnson fed Giguere for a goal and Canning set up Burdick for a goal which accounted for the 13-4 final score.
“We didn’t really know what it would be like,” said Burdick. “We were prepared for anything. We kept it together pretty well.”
“I’m pleased,” said Connors. “It was a great game to start. All my freshmen scored. They did great.”
Canning led the offense with four goals and one assist.
“Isabel has come a long way since last year,” Connors said.
Burdick had three goals and an assist in her debut.
“It was so fun,” Burdick said. “I was nervous. We passed it around, moved the ball a lot. We try to keep it moving fast. It’s a little scary being on varsity, but my teammates are so nice. I just love it.”
Giguere scored twice and Gray-Bauer, Moore, Olney and Stockford each had one goal. Gray-Bauer and Johnson also had one assist apiece.
Waynflete dominated in the draw circle, winning 14 of 19. After Gray-Bauer departed at halftime to perform in a concert, Moore won 6 of 10 opportunities.
The Flyers had a healthy 35-24 advantage in ground balls, as Gray-Bauer and Moore had a game-high seven each and freshman Ali Pope collected six.
Waynflete enjoyed a 27-11 shots advantage (25-9 on cage) and overcame 17 turnovers. Junior goalie Charlotte Majercik made five saves.
For the Panthers, Noyes and Regan both scored twice. Regan had one assist. Noyes and Regan each had a team-high five assists. Fischman made 12 saves.
“Waynflete came out hard in the first half, which was pivotal for them,” Gerrity said. “Unfortunately, we weren’t ready for that intensity. We adjusted in the second half and got back to basics. Our girls didn’t play poorly. I’m not discouraged at all.”
NYA will look to get in the win column when it returns to action April 29 at Greely.
“I’m encouraged because I have so much to work with,” Gerrity said. “I’m a planner and I can plan now. We’ll get it down.”
Waynflete is idle until April 28, when it hosts two-time defending Eastern A champion Cheverus. Two days later, the Flyers welcome preseason Western B favorite Kennebunk.
“Today was a fun way to go into the season,” Canning said. “We have a loaded schedule.”
“It’s good for us to have some time to practice and work on things,” said Connors said. “The sky’s the limit.”
@ Waynflete 15 NYA 5
Waynflete 16 @ NYA 7
@ Waynflete 12 NYA 10
Waynflete 17 @ NYA 4
@ Waynflete 18 NYA 6
@ NYA 10 Waynflete 8
Class B Final
Waynflete 12 NYA 8
@ Waynflete 8 NYA 5
Waynflete 10 NYA 9 (4 OT)
Waynflete 6 @ NYA 1
@ Waynflete 5 NYA 4
@ Waynflete 8 NYA 4
Waynflete 5 NYA 4 (OT)
NYA 10 @ Waynflete 9
Waynflete 9 NYA 6
Waynflete 5 @ NYA 4
NYA 8 @ Waynflete 6
Waynflete 7 @ NYA 4
Waynflete 9 NYA 5
W- 8 5- 13
NYA- 0 4- 4
23:40 W Canning (unassisted)
16:48 W Burdick (free position)
16:28 W Giguere (Smith)
8:41 W Canning (unassisted)
7:41 W Moore (unassisted)
4:49 W Canning (Burdick)
1:02 W Canning (unassisted)
30.3 W Gray-Bauer (unassisted)
14:35 W Olney (unassisted)
13:56 NYA Noyes (unassisted)
12:17 W Stockford (unassisted)
10:07 NYA Regan (free position)
6:22 NYA Noyes (Regan)
5:09 W Burdick (unassisted)
4:35 NYA Regan (unassisted)
3:34 W Giguere (Johnson)
1:21 W Burdick (Canning)
W- Canning 4, Burdick 3, Giguere 2, Gray-Bauer, Moore, Olney, Stockford 1
NYA- Noyes, Regan 2
W- Burdick, Canning, Gray-Bauer, Johnson, Smith 1
NYA- Regan 1
Draws (Waynflete, 14-5)
W- Gray-Bauer 8 of 9, Moore 6 of 10
NYA- Noyes 5 of 15, Marr 0 of 4
Ground balls (Waynflete, 35-24)
W- Gray-Bauer, Moore 7, Pope 6, Burdick, Canning, Rowe 3, Stockford 2, Giguere, Majercik, Peirce, Smith 1
NYA- Noyes, Regan 5, Fischman 3, Hooker, Marr, Sangster, Taylor 2, Burrill, Laprise, Linscott 1
Shots on goal:
Shots on cage
W- (Majercik) 5
NYA- (Fischman) 12