YARMOUTH—Once the Yarmouth girls’ soccer team gets its offense untracked, it can be lights out for the opposition.
Tuesday evening in a Class B South quarterfinal, the host Clippers taught that lesson to the Fryeburg Academy Raiders and thanks to its offensive surge, Yarmouth punched its ticket to a semifinal showdown against the region’s gold standard.
After several close calls, the fourth-ranked Clippers got the only goal they would need when sophomore Sara D’Appolonia managed to will the ball into the net for a 1-0 lead late in the first half.
Yarmouth wasn’t content with a 1-0 lead at halftime and before the break, junior Katie Clemmer set up teammate Gretchen Barbera to double the lead.
The old adage suggests that a 2-0 lead is the worst in soccer, so Clemmer ensured it wouldn’t stay that way, scoring less than a minute into the second half and the Clippers never looked back from there, going on to a 3-0 victory to advance to the semifinals for the second year in a row.
Yarmouth improved to 7-5-3, ended 12th-ranked Fryeburg Academy’s campaign at 8-7-1 and advanced to set up a compelling semifinal round showdown at top-ranked Greely (13-2) Saturday at a time to be announced.
“It was just a solid game,” said Clippers coach Rich Smith. “Playing the tough schedule we do and having tough games every game and having different people step up and play hard helps this time of year. We’re battle-tested and ready to play against any level of competition. We had a good team effort tonight.”
Yarmouth showed glimpses of being a threat for the Class B title during the regular season, but was often frustrated by a lack of offense against good teams. In the Clippers’ five losses and three ties, they produced just six goals, while in six victories, Yarmouth tallied 22 goals. The Clippers did appear to turn the corner late with a 2-1 home win over Greely, which was the Rangers’ first loss, but Yarmouth was held scoreless in a regular season-ending loss at Falmouth.
Regardless, the Clippers, thanks in large part to the Greely win, wound up fourth in Class B South and earned a bye into the quarterfinals.
Fryeburg Academy earned the 12th and final seed in the region after a 7-6-1 regular season, then sprung an upset, at least by seeding, 6-0, at No. 5 Oak Hill Friday.
“I saw (Fryeburg) play at Oak Hill and they were a lot better in that game,” Smith said. “You could tell they were athletic and aggressive and tough. We didn’t overlook them at all. We knew we had to come to play.”
The teams didn’t play during the regular season and last met Oct. 9, 2012 (a 1-0 Clippers’ home win).
Yarmouth won all three prior playoff meetings (see sidebar, below), with the most recent a 3-0 victory in the 2011 preliminary round.
Tuesday, the Clippers won again by that score.
Despite controlling play, it took Yarmouth until the 34th minute to score and D’Appolonia did the honors, sacrificing her body to make sure she finished.
“I think we just started finding connections and we had some really good through balls,” D’Appolonia said. “I just got behind one and was able to put it in the back of the net. I think we just got in the zone and started firing.”
With just over three minutes to play before halftime, the Clippers doubled their lead, as Clemmer set up Barbera, who scored to make it 2-0.
“It was awesome,” Barbera said. “I knew Katie was dribbling and I had to follow. I was there. I think we’ve been really good, but we haven’t gotten goals in. We’re putting them in now and it’s awesome.”
After halftime, Clemmer took matters into her own feet and ended the competitive phase of the contest with a goal of her own less than a minute into the second half.
“At halftime, we talked about the first half being slow and how we needed to pick up the pace,” Clemmer said. “I wanted to go as hard as I could and get one. After that, I feel like we really picked it up and outplayed them the rest of the way.”
Yarmouth put the clamps on the Raiders from there and went on to a 3-0 victory.
“Coach compared (Fryeburg) to York and we know how York plays, so that was helpful to compare them to a team we know,” Barbera said.
“(Fryeburg) played hard and they played a lot of people behind the ball, so we knocked it around and couldn’t get it through, but then we wore them down a little bit and came at them,” Smith said. “I feel like we played a lot of really good games and didn’t get good results, but the girls never lost their confidence that we could beat anybody.”
Despite its recent win, Yarmouth will be viewed as the underdog Saturday at Greely. The teams split during the regular season (the Rangers won at home, 6-3, Sept. 8) and have no playoff history.
They’re about to make some and the Clippers are hoping it’s positive for them.
“This pumps us up,” D’Appolonia said. “We’re ready for the next one. Greely’s a strong team. We’ll go in confident and play to the best of our ability.”
“I think we’re pretty equal in ability,” Clemmer said. “It all depends on heart and who wants it. Both teams have skill, it’s all about passion.”
“I think it’s going to be a battle,” Smith added. “Two very good teams playing really hard. I think they’re outstanding and I think we’re every bit as good as they are. Whoever goes after it will win.”
Yarmouth junior Katie Clemmer leaps into the arms of classmate Gretchen Barbera after scoring a second half goal during the Clippers’ 3-0 win over Fryeburg Academy in Tuesday’s Class B South quarterfinal.
Chris Lambert photos.
Yarmouth sophomore Sophia Harpool boots the ball away from Fryeburg Academy Anna Mahanor.
Yarmouth sophomore Sara D’Appolonia manages to score the game’s first goal while falling to the ground.
Yarmouth senior Eavan O’Neill battles Fryeburg Academy senior Lexi L’Heureux-Carland for possession.
Yarmouth junior Gretchen Barbera fights her way past Fryeburg Academy senior Julia Quinn.
Yarmouth junior Katie Clemmer prepares a shot.
Yarmouth celebrates its 3-0 victory.
2011 Western B preliminary
Yarmouth 3 Fryeburg Academy 0
1998 Western B quarterfinal
Yarmouth 2 Fryeburg Academy 0
1996 Western B Final
Yarmouth 1 Fryeburg Academy 0