Yarmouth cools off red-hot Rangers to stay perfect

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Yarmouth senior Ella Antolini contorts her body and scores a goal during the Clippers’ 9-3 home win over Greely Monday night.

Joe Carpine / 365digitalphotography.com photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Yarmouth 9 Greely 3

G- 1 2- 3
Y- 3 6- 9

First half
13:52 G Sullivan (free position)
10:10 Y Waeldner (free position)
4:45 Y Antolini (Lunt)
33.9 Y Elder (unassisted)

Second half 
24:25 Y Lunt (Elder)
24:04 Y Antolini (Lunt)
22:51 Y Then (Elder)
18:51 Y Waeldner (Elder)
18:24 Y Then (unassisted)
10:29 G Schad (free position)
10:14 Y Then (Lane)
7:02 G Clement (Sullivan)

Goals:
G- Clement, Schad, Sullivan 1
Y- Then 3, Antolini, Waeldner 2, Elder, Lunt 1

Assists:
G- Sullivan 1
Y- Elder 3, Lunt 2, Lane 1 

Draws (Yarmouth, 12-2)
G- Sullivan 1 of 6, Clement 0 of 6, Leggat-Barr 1 of 2
Y- Lane 12 of 14

Ground balls (Yarmouth, 38-22)
G- Holmes, Leggat-Barr, Sullivan, Van Curran 3, McDonald, Perfetti, Schad 2, Clement, Cunningham, E. Holt, Spencer 1
Y- Lane, Then 7, Lunt 5, Elder 4, Antolini 3, Barbera, Corey, Wilson 2, Decker, Gunville, Harpool, Langenbach, Robichaud, Waeldner 1

Turnovers:
G- 13
Y- 14

Shots:
G- 18
Y- 30

Shots on cage:
G- 10
Y- 18

Saves:
G (McDonald) 9
Y (Gunville) 7

YARMOUTH—Nothing has slowed the Yarmouth girls’ lacrosse team this spring and a little wet weather and the prospect of a coach having to match wits with a squad that included her daughter wasn’t going to knock the Clippers from the ranks of the unbeaten Monday night.

Yarmouth welcomed dangerous Greely to its turf field and despite a steady rainfall, the Clippers were able to gradually pull away to yet another victory.

Rangers sophomore goalie Mollie McDonald held potent Yarmouth at bay early and Greely, which has already upset Waynflete and York this season, scored first, on a free position goal from junior Courtney Sullivan.

The Clippers would bounce right back, however, and after senior Katie Waeldner tied the score, senior Ella Antolini put the hosts ahead to stay and junior Greta Elder added a goal to make it 3-1 at halftime.

While Yarmouth’s defense and senior goalie Mary Kate Gunville ensured the Rangers could never get anything going offensively, the Clippers got off to a fast start in the second half, as senior Eliza Lunt and Antolini scored in the first 56 seconds to open it up.

Junior Eva Then sandwiched goals around another from Waeldner to end the competitive phase of the contest before Greely snapped a 28-plus minute drought when senior Ellie Schad scored on a free position with 10:29 left.

Then, in a sequence which summed up the evening, Yarmouth junior Meredith Lane won the ensuing draw to Then, who raced in and scored and while the Rangers did get one more goal, from sophomore Brooke Clement, it wasn’t nearly enough and the Clippers went on to a 9-3 victory.

Yarmouth got three goals from Then, two apiece from Antolini and Waeldner and Lane won 12 of 14 draws as the Clippers improved to 9-0, their best start to a season since 2007, and dropped Greely to 5-5 in the process.

“We have a big couple weeks and this is the start of it,” said Yarmouth coach Dorothy Holt, who coached against her daughter, Greely freshman Ellie Holt, for the first time in a varsity game Monday. “The test started today. We’ll see where we go from here.” 

Rain, rain go away

While Yarmouth appears bound for a fifth straight Class B North title, Greely is fighting for its playoff life in the deep and balanced Class B South.

Both teams have demonstrated excellence at times this spring.

Yarmouth opened by easily handling visiting Fryeburg Academy, 16-1. The Clippers then defeated visiting Cape Elizabeth, 13-6, visiting Waynflete (12-4), host North Yarmouth Academy (17-4), visiting Freeport (9-4), host Lake Region (11-6), visiting Scarborough (15-3) and host Brunswick (14-2).

Greely has been up-and-down, but has enjoyed some signature moments. The Rangers opened with a 9-8 win at St. Dom’s. After falling at Falmouth (18-8) and at home to Massabesic (10-4), they won at Waynflete, 8-6, their first victory over the Flyers in 13 years. A 10-6 home loss to Kennebunk was followed by wins at NYA (16-1) and Mt. Ararat (16-4). After a 13-10 home loss to Cape Elizabeth, Greely bounced back last Thursday by edging visiting York in an overtime thriller, 9-8.

Adding intrigue to this matchup was the last name Holt. Dorothy Holt has long been the Yarmouth coach and Monday, she squared off against a Greely team featuring her daughter, Ellie, who has made an immediate impact for the Rangers as a freshman.

Monday, the teams met on Yarmouth’s turf for the fourth year in a row and the Rangers sought their first victory over the Clippers since May 23, 2005 (8-7 at home), but amid the rain drops, Yarmouth had too much firepower and beat Greely for the 13th consecutive time (see sidebar, below, for recent results).

After Lane won the opening draw to Then, she got the ball back and almost opened the scoring 11 seconds in, but her shot hit the crossbar.

McDonald then denied Then on a couple free positions and made a save on a Lunt bid.

The Rangers then struck first, as with 13:52 to play in the first half, Sullivan was awarded a free position and shot the ball past Gunville.

That lead would only last a couple minutes, as after Gunville turned aside another Sullivan free position, Waeldner tied the score with a free position shot with 10:10 to go.

After Gunville robbed Greely sophomore Jayme Morrison in front, the Clippers went on top to stay with 4:45 on the clock, as Lunt set up Antolini for a shot McDonald couldn’t stop.

Inside the final minute, Yarmouth got another goal, as Elder weaved through the defense and finished with 33.9 seconds remaining, giving the Clippers a 3-1 lead at halftime.

In the first half, Yarmouth had an 18-6 advantage in shots, but eight saves from McDonald kept the Rangers close.

The Clippers then gained some breathing room in the first minute of the second half.

After Lane won possession, the ball came to Elder, who passed to Lunt for a goal with 24:25 to play.

A mere 21 seconds later, after another Lane draw win, Lunt passed the ball to Antolini, who managed to unleash a one-timer while spinning which McDonald couldn’t stop and Yarmouth’s lead was 5-1.

Greely coach Becca Koelker called timeout, but it didn’t stem the tide.

With 22:51 on the clock, Elder spotted a cutting Then and hit her with a perfect pass which led to the Clippers’ sixth goal.

Four minutes later, Elder set up Waeldner for a 7-1 lead.

Yarmouth kept the pressure on and with 18:24 to play, Then weaved through five defenders before beating McDonald to extend the advantage even further.

The Rangers finally ended a 28 minute, 23 second drought with 10:29 remaining, as Schad scored on a free position, but Greely had no time to celebrate, as Lane won the ensuing draw and set up Then for another goal and a 9-2 lead.

The Rangers’ final tally came with 7:02 left, as Clement finished a feed from Sullivan, but Gunville made one final save, on a Schad free position, and the Clippers’ defense smothered Greely from there as Yarmouth put the finishing touches on its 9-3 victory.

“It was cold and damp, but it’s fun,” Lane said. “We love the rain. It was an intense game. I think it just took us a little while to get going. We clicked after halftime and everything came together.”

“We just missed the cage early and Mollie made some big saves, but the girls adjusted and came together,” Dorothy Holt said.

Then led a balanced attack with three goals. Antolini and Waeldner both tickled the twine twice and Elder and Lunt had one goal apiece. Elder finished with three assists, while Lunt had two and Lane one.

“We have feeds coming from everywhere this year, which is fun to see,” Holt said.

Lane won 12 of 14 draws.

“Having Eva in front of me helped me,” Lane said. “I just push and she’s so good at getting the ball out of the air.”

“We’ve really worked on draw controls,” Holt said. “We need to control that part of the game.”

Gunville stopped seven shots.

“We count on Mary Kate,” Holt said. “We don’t worry when the ball comes down on defense.”

The Clippers had 38 ground balls to 22 for the Rangers (Lane and Then led the way with a game-high seven apiece and Lunt collected five), outshot Greely, 30-18 (18-10 on cage), and only committed 14 turnovers.

Yarmouth’s defense had arguably its best effort of the season as well.

“As a defense, we’re so cohesive,” said Clippers senior defensive stalwart Gretchen Barbera. “It’s almost telepathic. We all know when to slide and to drop. We’re always there for each other.”

“I think our defense stepped up today, but clearly the weather was a factor for both teams,” Holt said. “It would have been a different game otherwise.” 

The Rangers got one goal apiece from Clement, Schad and Sullivan. Sullivan also had an assist.

Sullivan, senior Erin Holmes, senior Katherine Leggat-Barr and junior Greta Van Curan all had three ground balls.

McDonald stopped nine shots.

“Mollie came up huge for us,” Koelker said. “She played her best half all season. We weren’t able to take that momentum into the second half.”

Greely committed a respectable 13 turnovers, but just couldn’t generate enough scoring opportunities.

“We couldn’t win draws and that was a huge difference in the game,” Koelker said. “I can’t blame it on the weather, it had more to do with our opponent. They’re one of the best teams in the state. They’re well-coached, disciplined and fast. They have a really good chance to get back to states. They’re the most complete team, both offense and defense, that we’ve played.”

Ellie Holt didn’t score, but saw a lot of action and proved she belonged on the field. She certainly got her opponent’s attention.

“We love Ellie,” Barbera said. “It was fun to play against her.”

“It’s been really emotional, but I’m so proud of Ellie,” Dorothy Holt said. “As a Mom, I was beaming for her. She’s making her mark. I tried not to watch her too much and focused on what I was doing because this is my job. I’m glad this one is over.”

No days off

The closing schedule for both teams is daunting.

Greely (fifth in the Class B South Heal Points standings at press time) hosts Wells Thursday and welcomes Freeport in its finale Tuesday of next week. The Rangers need to win out to guarantee a playoff spot.

“It feels like one-step-forward-one-step-back,” Koelker said. “We’ve had great wins over York and Waynflete, but we haven’t been able to be consistent. Each game gives us confidence. If we can win those final two games, we’ll be in a good position going into the playoffs and then it will be anyone’s game. It’ll be fun.”

Yarmouth (now first in Class B North) will be battle tested by the time the postseason starts thanks to a state final rematch Thursday at Kennebunk, a home tilt against York on Senior Night Tuesday of next week and a showdown at Falmouth in the finale June 2.

“Honestly, I expected this success,” Barbera said. “We’re so excited about lacrosse. We’ve talked since last year’s state game that this was our year. We’ve all worked so hard. We’re trained by Dorothy to come out and finish strong. We build up over the course of the season, so that comes naturally.”

“We’re so hyped to play Kennebunk,” Lane said. “That’s always a huge game. We’ll work hard in practice and we’ll bring it.”

“We still have a lot of work to do, but so far, so good,” Holt added. “We have to work on our fast break and transition and our shot selection. Our defense still has work to do. The girls can’t stop talking about Kennebunk. We’re ready for that one, then York and Falmouth. The girls know what pressure is. The schedule is tough, but we’ll be ready.”

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

Yarmouth senior Katie Waeldner shoots on Greely sophomore goalie Mollie McDonald.

Yarmouth senior goalie Mary Kate Gunville prepares to make a save on a shot from Greely junior Courtney Sullivan.

Yarmouth junior Greta Elder gets off a shot in traffic.

Greely senior Katherine Leggat-Barr comes up with a loose ball.

Yarmouth junior Meredith Lane races up the field as Greely junior Jen Spencer defends.

Recent Yarmouth-Greely results

2016
@ Yarmouth 10 Greely 4

2015
@ Yarmouth 11 Greely 10

2014
@ Yarmouth 11 Greely 9 

2011
Yarmouth 17 @ Greely 8

2010
Yarmouth 11 @ Greely 7
@ Yarmouth 15 Greely 10

2009
Yarmouth 20 @ Greely 8

2008
Yarmouth 12 @ Greely 9
@ Yarmouth 13 Greely 12

2007
@ Yarmouth 17 Greely 5

2006
Yarmouth 9 @ Greely 5
@ Yarmouth 13 Greely 11 (OT)

2005
@ Greely 8 Yarmouth 7

2004
@ Yarmouth 10 Greely 3

2003
@ Greely 10 Yarmouth 5

2002
@ Yarmouth 17 Greely 4
Yarmouth 14 @ Greely 7

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