Waynflete junior Ava Farrar lines up a shot during the Flyers’ home game against St. Dom’s Thursday. Farrar scored the first goal of a 3-0 victory.
Brian Beard photos.
More photos below.
PORTLAND—It’s such a simple thing in theory.
Putting the ball in the goal.
But Waynflete’s girls’ soccer team has had its difficulty scoring in the first half of the 2016 season.
Lately, however, there have been signs that the defending Class C South champion Flyers are cranking it up and if they do, some big things could be in store in the weeks to come.
Thursday afternoon at Fore River Fields, Waynflete welcomed St. Dominic Academy and after a frustrating, scoreless first half, the Flyers got a goal.
Waynflete junior Ava Farrar, who came close to scoring on several occasions in the first half, broke the ice with 30:36 to go, finishing a terrific feed from junior Lydia Giguere.
After waiting nearly 50 minutes to score, the Flyers needed less than three minutes to add another goal, as speedy junior Amelia Bertaska steered senior Isabel Canning’s corner kick into the goal for a 2-0 lead.
Then, with 8:48 left, freshman Clara Sandberg got in on the fun, finishing another Giguere assist, and that was more than enough for Waynflete to go on to a 3-0 victory.
The Flyers made it four straight games without a loss, improved to 5-2-1 and dropped the Saints to 1-9 in the process.
“We just got our feet under us,” said Waynflete coach Todd Dominski. “We forced more pressure and it was about composure in finishing. The pressure has been there, but the composure hasn’t. Finding the composure and doing it was good. Once you see (the ball) hit the back of the net once, more goals come. That’s usually how it works.”
With St. Dom’s competing out of the Western Maine Conference for many years, the Saints and Flyers didn’t meet in the regular season, but six times in a 10-year span between 2006-15, they squared off in the playoffs. Waynflete won five of those games, including a 5-0 triumph in last year’s Class C South quarterfinal round.
The Flyers then won, 2-1, in Auburn nine days ago in the teams’ first regular season contest in eight years. Waynflete preceded that victory with wins at Wells (3-0) and Traip Academy (1-0) and losses to visiting Sacopee Valley (2-0) and at defending Class B champion Greely (4-0). After beating St. Dom’s, the Flyers edged visiting Fryeburg Academy, 2-1, in overtime, then settled for a 1-1 home tie versus Old Orchard Beach Tuesday.
St. Dom’s has struggled in its return to the WMC, losing its opener, 3-1, at Fryeburg Academy, then dropping its first home game, 3-1, to Richmond. After getting in the win column, 2-0, over visiting Old Orchard Beach, the Saints lost at home to Sacopee Valley (6-0), Falmouth (4-0) and Waynflete (2-1), at Old Orchard Beach (4-0), at home to Freeport (3-0) and Tuesday at Traip Academy (1-0).
Thursday, on a very pleasant early fall afternoon, the teams’ first regular season meeting in Portland since a 10-1 Flyers’ victory Sept. 29, 2008 resulted in another win for Waynflete.
The Flyers possessed the ball a good chunk of the first half and even had it in great scoring position, but they only managed one shot on goal, by Farrar. On several other occasions, Farrar broke in only to be denied by a defender or shoot wide.
Waynflete senior goalkeeper Ali Pope made a save on a long free kick from St. Dom’s’ Emma Theriault, but otherwise, the Flyers’ defense kept the Saints at bay.
Early in the second half, Waynflete began to push for the lead and it was eventually rewarded.
With 36:31 to go, senior Elisabeth Lualdi got a great look which St. Dom’s goalkeeper Abby Castonguay got a piece of, but the rebound came to Bertaska, who had a lot of open net to shoot at. Bertaska wasn’t able to get off a clean shot, however, and the ball drifted just wide of the near post.
Junior Claire Dubois then had a shot off a corner kick blocked by a Saints’ defender.
The Flyers’ next chance resulted in a goal.
With 30:36 left, Giguere sent a long pass ahead to Farrar, who touched the ball past a defender and ran in on Castonguay. Farrar then beat the goalie with a high shot into the left upper corner for a 1-0 lead.
“Lydia got me a nice pass and I just had to finish,” Farrar said. “I had an open lane. Luckily, I was able to put that away. We rode that momentum to the finish line.”
“Ava is close all the time,” Dominski said. “All the forwards are working well to get in behind the ball. Lydia is very poised passing the ball.”
With 27:41 remaining, Waynflete found the goal again, this time off a set piece.
Canning played the corner kick in and Bertaska, unmarked, merely had to kick the ball into the net for a 2-0 lead.
Bertaska has turned heads with her blazing speed.
“Amelia makes everyone run faster,” said Farrar. “We work together very well.”
“I haven’t had a lot of speed players, so having (Amelia’s) quickness is good,” Dominski said.
The visitors almost cut the deficit in half with 23:32 to play, when a free kick from Theriault was bobbled by Pope, but the ball was cleared and an ensuing corner kick didn’t result in a shot.
“We’re solid in the back and Ali is a fantastic goalie,” Dominski said.
The Flyers then ended all doubt with 8:48 showing, as Giguere played the ball ahead to Sandberg, who made a nice move around a defender, then buried a left-footed blast to Castonguay’s left for a 3-0 lead.
“Clara has stood out as a freshman,” Farrar said. “She has an amazing attitude and she really deserved that goal.”
“Clara is composed,” Dominski said. “I want her to take chances and shoot more.”
Pope had to make one final save, on a shot from the side off the foot of Becca Zimmerman, and Waynflete was able to celebrate its victory.
“We had a frustrating first half, but we had to push past that mental barrier,” Farrar said. “For a little while, we’ve focused on finishing. Today, we talked about doing it for our team, for our seniors. I’m really proud we came together and were able to finish today.”
“For us, we just have to finish,” Dominski said. “We haven’t been putting the ball in the net. We’re creating a lot. As we move forward, hopefully today was a good step.”
St. Dom’s (now 15th in the Class C South Heal Points standings) hopes to get back in the win column Tuesday at Sacopee Valley. A home game versus Traip Academy and trips to Buckfield and Poland wrap up the regular season.
Waynflete (seventh in Class C South) is showing signs (again) of being a team that could be at its best at the end of the year. The Flyers are home with Freeport Saturday and host Traip Academy Tuesday. Games at Old Orchard Beach, Sacopee Valley and Lake Region are followed by the season finale, at home versus Kennebunk.
“We’re trying really hard to not focus on the fact we’ve lost people from last year,” Farrar said. “We’re focusing on who we have now. We trust our back line, so it’s all about finishing. Todd picks a really hard schedule for us so we’re ready for the big games.”
“Freeport will be a big test,” said Dominski. “They’ve won some games and will come ready to play. I want to go in to the playoffs as high as we can. Hopefully, we’ll go in and execute and have everything rolling at the right time. There’s still a lot we can do better, but we’re heading in the right direction.”
Good luck catching up to speedy Waynflete junior Amelia Bertaska. Bertaska had the Flyers’ second goal.
Waynflete freshman Clara Sandberg gets her head on the ball.
Waynflete junior Lydia Giguere rips a shot. Giguere had two assists in the win.
Waynflete senior Elisabeth Lualdi goes one-on-one with St. Dom’s’ Rileigh Stebbins.
Waynflete senior back Isabel Canning clears the ball.