PORTLAND—Not too long ago, Yarmouth’s field hockey team simply hoped to make the playoffs.
Now, the Clippers are a legitimate title contender.
Yarmouth certainly delivered a message in its season opener Monday, handling host Waynflete from start to finish at Fore River Fields.
It took junior standout Kallie Hutchinson just 2 minutes, 35 seconds to score the only goal her team would need and Hutchinson added a second goal with 21:48 left in the first half. Senior Lily Daggett scored later in the half for a 3-0 lead and Yarmouth would tack on three more goals in the second half as it blanked the Flyers, 6-0.
Daggett and Hutchinson both rattled the cage twice and the Clippers registered the first of what figures to be many victories in the weeks to come, dropping Waynflete to 0-1 in the process.
“We came out with more intensity than we have in the past,” Hutchinson said. “We have a veteran team. We wanted to win from the first minute to the last minute. I couldn’t ask for more. This year, with 10 seniors, it’s time to shine.”
Yarmouth went 8-7-1 a year ago, reaching the Western B quarterfinals before losing at Lake Region, 2-0. That culminated a rise from the depths of a 34-game winless streak between 2008-10 and was the Clippers’ first winning season since 2000. This fall, Yarmouth has moved to Class C, which, combined with last year’s results, has created a fair amount of expectations for the first time in over a decade.
“The difference between my freshman year and junior year is ridiculous,” Hutchinson said. “We had no expectations my freshman year. I knew it would be a tough year, but we contended and went to playoffs. Last year, same thing. We worked hard and went to the second round, got stronger.”
Waynflete, meanwhile, finished 8-5-2 last season and hosted a playoff for the first time (losing, 3-0, to Dirigo in the Western C quarterfinals).
Last Sept. 12, the Clippers visited the Flyers and eked out a 2-1 victory.
Monday, Yarmouth had two goals in less than nine minutes.
While Waynflete’s promising freshman goalie Kiera MacWhinnie fought off a pair of initial Clippers’ forays, Hutchinson broke through with 27:25 to play in the first half.
Off a penalty corner, Daggett inserted the ball to Hutchinson, who wound up and blasted a shot that MacWhinnie had no chance to save.
“Corners are easily my favorite thing on the field,” said Hutchinson. “I practice them all the time. It’s the most exciting time in an entire game. When you get a good one, it’s unbelievable.”
After the Flyers’ first bid, a rush by junior Madison Pellow, was broken up, Yarmouth went back on offense and on a free hit, Hutchinson sent another blast past MacWhinnie for a 2-0 advantage with 21:48 to play before halftime.
“I was outside the circle and I beat a girl, I tried to fake out the goalie a little bit,” Hutchinson said. “I was looking for the tip, not expecting it to go in.”
The Clippers would have eight penalty corners (to Waynflete’s one) in first half and Hutchinson might have been able to register a hat trick before halftime, but she was on the sidelines for several of the corners and the score stayed 2-0 until 4:32 remained, when Daggett got in the scoring column, banging home a rebound on a corner to give Yarmouth a three-goal halftime advantage.
Hutchinson would play a role in Yarmouth’s fourth goal, with 25:04 to play, but this time she set it up, taking Daggett’s feed off a penalty corner and passing to senior Katie Overhaug, who finished.
“Usually, we try to mix it up (on corners),” said Hutchinson. “We try different things. Katie and I work really well at the top of the circle together. We’ve been together three years now. We’re good at making opportunities.”
“We changed our lineup to really capitalize on our strengths this season,” said Yarmouth coach Mandy Lewis. “With Kallie in the middle of the field and Katie Overhaug right behind her, we have two really strong forwards that are able to create a lot of opportunities.”
Hutchinson almost had two more assists.
With 21:26 left, she set up senior Emma Peterson with a long pass, but Peterson’s shot was just wide.
Then, with 18:33 remaining, Hutchinson’s long hit deflected off Daggett, then hit the post.
Daggett did manage to make it 5-0 with 17:58 left, as she scored on a rebound.
With 5:37 remaining, freshman Taylor Robison scored her first varsity goal, unassisted, and that brought the curtain down on the Clippers’ impressive 6-0 triumph.
It was Yarmouth’s highest scoring performance since Oct. 16, 2004 (a 6-1 Western B preliminary round playoff win over Poland). To put that in perspective, on that date, George W. Bush was still in his first term as president and the Boston Red Sox were facing an 0-2 (soon to be 0-3) deficit against the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series (which of course had a very happy ending).
“It was a great first game,” Lewis said. “One thing I love about this team is that we just don’t give up. We’re very persistent. We take each game really seriously.”
Daggett and Hutchinson both scored twice, while Overhaug and Robison had the other goals. Yarmouth had 11 penalty corners to the Flyers’ one.
Waynflete was led by the heroics of MacWhinnie, who made a whopping 20 saves in her varsity debut.
“I thought (Kiera) was amazing,” said Flyers coach Kelly Hoffman. “I have a couple starters out and several kids are brand new players, playing for the first time. (Yarmouth’s) come a long way. I coached there when those seniors were freshmen. It’s nostalgic to see how far they’ve come.”
Waynflete takes a week off (students go on their annual Outdoor Experience trip), then is back in action Monday at Sacopee. The Flyers host perennial powerhouse North Yarmouth Academy Tuesday of next week.
“We traditionally do better as the season goes on,” Hoffman said. “We have a week where we’re off. I won’t see them again until Saturday. We’ll get better. It’s a process.”
Yarmouth opens the home portion of its schedule Wednesday versus Sacopee, then goes to NYA Friday.
The sky’s the limit for this group of girls.
“We’re excited to play teams we haven’t played before,” Hutchinson said. “Our game at NYA will be like a home game for us.
“Can we make it to states? I’m not sure yet. We need a lot more work. Hopefully, we’ll be able to put things together and make it there. For now, the (Western Maine Final) is my goal.”
“Tomorrow, we’ll show up and work hard to get ready for Sacopee,” Lewis said. “Our defensive patience is something we can work on. We have a nice attack, but sometimes we get impatient and get beat going back.
“One unknown about being in Class C this year is that we haven’t faced a lot of these teams before. In a sense it’s an advantage. There are some tough Class B competitors we’ll miss, but we’re excited to see what we can do in Class C.”
Waynflete junior Allison Mills is defended by Yarmouth senior Hannah Peters.
Yarmouth freshman Nicole McDowell fights Waynflete junior Madison Pellow for possession.
Yarmouth senior Katie Overhaug tries to elude Waynflete junior Maeve Donnelly.
Yarmouth senior Olivia Shay defends Waynflete junior Chloe Williams.
Waynflete freshman goalie Kiera MacWhinnie kicks away a shot for one of her 20 saves.
Yarmouth junior Kallie Hutchinson rockets a shot for a first half goal during the Clippers’ 6-0 win at Waynflete Monday.
More photos below.