FALMOUTH—If Waynflete senior Morgan Woodhouse wasn’t already dangerous enough, she’s now a year older, had the extra incentive of making a statement on her 18th birthday Wednesday afternoon and put on a show.
The two-time defending Class B state champion Flyers visited a Falmouth squad which felt it was ready to challenge for top honors in the region, but Waynflete gave a clinic in draws, ground balls and offensive dominance, most of which featured Woodhouse, and the Flyers improved to 5-1 on the season with a 15-5 victory over the Yachtsmen, who fell to 5-2.
Waynflete broke open a close game late in the first half and got seven goals from Woodhouse as it reminded everyone yet again that until further notice, it’s the the team to beat.
“We knew that Falmouth was really strong this year, but we came out strong,” said Woodhouse, who also assisted two goals, won 14 of 20 draws and grabbed a game-high 12 ground balls. “We knew both halves were important and we came out with a lot of energy.”
Still the one
Waynflete took a pretty severe graduation hit, but remains the team to beat in Class B in 2010. The Flyers have had closer games this season, but have passed virtually every test. After opening with a 14-3 home win over Greely, Waynflete had its 22-game win streak snapped with a 7-6 loss at North Yarmouth Academy. The Flyers shrugged that off and downed visiting Freeport, 14-3 (giving coach Cathie Connors her 200th career win), visiting Yarmouth, 8-6, and host Cape Elizabeth (11-7).
Falmouth, meanwhile, which gave Waynflete fits in last year’s semifinal round before falling, 12-4, won its first three outings, 17-7 at Wells, 11-8 (in OT) over visiting Cape Elizabeth and 24-3 at Fryeburg. After a hard-fought 13-10 loss at NYA, the Yachtsmen came-from-behind Saturday to eke out an 8-7 home victory over Massabesic and improved to 5-1 Monday with an 18-8 home romp over Greely.
Wednesday would be a different story as Falmouth came out strong, but soon submitted to the Flyers’ will and skill.
The hosts actually went up 1-0 when freshman phenom Alex Bernier set up junior Laura Fay for a goal 1 minute, 59 seconds in. Waynflete tied the score 45 seconds later when Woodhouse scored unassisted. Another Woodhouse unassisted goal, with 17:15 left in the first half, made it 2-1 Flyers.
When senior Emma Sipperly scored on a free position with 15:45 to go in the half, the Yachtsmen drew even and appeared to be in good shape, but little did anyone on hand know that Falmouth would surrender the next 10 goals and wouldn’t score again for over 27 minutes.
Waynflete took the lead for good, 3-2, when Woodhouse assisted senior Amy Allen’s goal two minutes later.
With 6:31 left in the first half, Woodhouse assisted a goal by freshman Sadie Cole and the Flyers were up, 4-2.
The game turned for good late in the first half.
First, with 2:23 to go, an apparent goal by Sipperly was waved off when she was ruled to be in the crease. Woodhouse then scored at the other end to make it 5-2. Fourteen seconds later, off the draw, Cole scored unassisted, and if that wasn’t enough, the Flyers got the ball back and held for a final shot. The ball came to Woodhouse, who ran to her right and unleashed a shot which beat Yachtsmen junior Jen Greene as time expired, giving Waynflete a ton of momentum and a 7-2 advantage at the break.
“I knew there was a little time left,” Woodhouse said. “I saw a little opening and I took it and just shot it. I had no idea if there was time left, but was like, ‘why not?'”
“Today, we promised ourselves we’d go right out there and focus in the first half,” Connors said. “We’ve worked on slowing things down. It was a great play. It made the difference.”
“I was excited to score early on and was hopeful, but (the goal before halftime) shattered any confidence we had,” said Falmouth coach Robin Haley. “It’s a tough task to make up five goals against a team like this. Things went from good to not so great.”
The defending champs won seven of nine first half draws, forced 10 turnovers and had a 14-6 edge in shots in goal.
When the second half commenced, the Flyers quickly ended all suspense.
Just 29 seconds in, Woodhouse (off yet another draw win) scored unassisted. Allen followed with a goal off a rebound, Woodhouse scored unassisted, Allen connected on a free position and with 15:42 remaining, junior Scout Haffenreffer scored on a free position to give Waynflete a 12-2 lead and induce a running clock.
“I think that the trick was to keep moving and create openings,” Woodhouse said. “We had a ton of energy on offense. We were pleased with how we played in the first half, but we knew it wasn’t enough because we know that any team can come back. We came out with a ton of energy in second half and Scout and Amy really stepped up.”
Falmouth finally ended its 27:28 drought when Sipperly (from Fay) beat Flyers freshman goalie Katherine Torrey with 13:17 to go, but Allen answered with a free position goal and Woodhouse scored unassisted to make it 14-3.
Junior Rachel Bauer (from Bernier) and Fay (from Sipperly) answered for the Yachtsmen, but with 2:28 to play, Haffenreffer scored unassisted, giving Waynflete the 15-5 victory.
“We said right off that we needed to be intense and aggressive,” Connors said. “We knew we had to beat them to ground balls. I’m very happy and excited. The kids want it and they’re working hard.”
While Woodhouse single-handedly outscored Falmouth, that was only part of the story. She also had plenty of help. Allen quietly added four goals, while Cole and Haffenreffer each scored twice. Torrey made five saves to help hold the Yachtsmen at bay.
“Katherine’s getting better every single day and is getting more confidence,” Woodhouse said.
Waynflete had a 15-6 edge in draws and outshot Falmouth, 30-12.
The Yachtsmen got two goals each from Fay and Sipperly and one goal from Bauer. Bernier had two assists, while Fay and Sipperly had one each. Greene made 10 saves.
“(Falmouth is) improved,” Connors said. “They cut off our fastbreak. They did a nice job and their goalie made some nice saves.”
The Yachtsmen won 46 ground balls to 39 for Waynflete. Fay led the way with eight. Senior Sarah Girouard and junior Caitlin Costello both had six.
Falmouth turned the ball over 19 times (the Flyers had 13 giveaways).
“You can’t make mistakes against a team like that,” Haley said. “They seized every opportunity today. We had a lot of dropped balls. They look to double-team every single time. That was the key. We struggled to adjust. I think we forced them to play different offensive sets today. In that respect, we did some of the things we wanted to do. We just weren’t able to finish on the other end. They did a great job on us today.
“Sports are a funny thing. Waynflete’s sound in tradition. That carries a lot of weight. Anytime they walk on the field, the other team knows that it’s Waynflete. The nerves just escalate. “
The Yachtsmen’s road gets no easier. Friday night, Falmouth faces the two-time defending Class A titlist, unbeaten Brunswick.
“We get to play the other defending state champion,” Haley said. “We’re disappointed with how we played today, but I’m hopeful we might rise as a result. We have to get back on the horse. We’re better off that way.”
As for the Flyers, their immediate schedule eases. They welcome Cheverus Saturday and go to winless Greely Tuesday. After playing at Kennebunk and hosting York, Waynflete finishes with games at Yarmouth (May 24) and at home versus NYA (May 25).
The Flyers will look to keep upping the ante.
“After losing so many players last year, it took a little while for us to get into everything, but we’re such a force right now,” Woodhouse said.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org