Yarmouth girls continue domination over NYA

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Yarmouth junior Eliza Lunt shoots and scores one of her five goals during Saturday’s 13-3 victory at rival North Yarmouth Academy. The Clippers beat the Panthers for the 10th straight time.

Chris Lambert photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Yarmouth 13 North Yarmouth Academy 3

Y- 7 6- 13
NYA- 1 2- 3

First half
18:25 Y Watson (unassisted)
13:08 Y Lunt (unassisted)
10:56 Y Watson (unassisted)
9:08 Y Waeldner (free position)
6:41 NYA Taylor (Collins)
4:57 Y Lunt (Watson)
3:13 Y Lunt (unassisted)
1:47 Y Antolini (Lunt) 

Second half
24:20 Y Lunt (unassisted)
22:19 Y Langenbach (Kirk)
20:37 Y Kirk (Elder)
19:05 NYA Sturgeon (Coleman)
18:13 Y Lunt (Langenbach)
14:14 Y Langenbach (free position)
5:57 NYA Clegg (free position)
20.9 Y Lane (free position) 

Goals:
Y- Lunt 5, Langenbach, Watson 2, Antolini, Kirk, Lane, Waeldner 1
NYA- Clegg, Sturgeon, Taylor 1

Assists:
Y- Elder, Kirk, Langenbach, Lunt, Watson 1
NYA- Coleman, Collins 1

Draws (9-9)
Y- Then 4 of 6, Kirk 2 of 4, Lane 1 of 3, Langenbach 1 of 3, Antolini 1 of 2
NYA- Taylor 6 of 12, Coleman 2 of 3, Lauren Tufts 1 of 3

Ground balls (Yarmouth, 32-29)
Y- Kirk 5, Antolini, Barbera, Bartlett, Lane, Watson 3, Corey, Dorsett, Lunt, Then 2, Gunville, Harrison, Waeldner, Wilson 1
NYA- Coleman 6, Marr, Lindsay Tufts 4, Sangster, Taylor 3, Bright, Sturgeon 2, Clegg, Collins, Laprise, Shaw, Lauren Tufts 1

Turnovers:
Y- 23
NYA- 24 

Shots:
Y- 24
NYA- 21 

Shots on cage:
Y- 19
NYA- 14 

Saves:
Y (Gunville) 11 
NYA (Linscott) 6

YARMOUTH—There are two certainties around here every spring.

The weather is going to often be unpleasant and Yarmouth’s girls’ lacrosse team will steadily improve.

Last month, the two-time defending Class B state champion Clippers lost their season opener for the fifth year in a row, but Saturday afternoon at Lewis Field, they continued their annual resurgence with a decisive victory at crosstown rival North Yarmouth Academy.

Yarmouth shot to a 7-1 halftime lead behind three goals from junior Eliza Lunt, two from senior Lilly Watson and a heavy dose of strong defense.

Lunt added her fourth and fifth goals in the second half, but the big story was Clippers junior goalie Mary Kate Gunville, who has come up big so often in her career. Gunville prevented the Panthers from ever making a run by stopping 10 second half shots and Yarmouth went on to a 13-3 triumph.

Lunt’s five goals and Gunville’s 11 saves led the way, but it was a team effort for this young but promising squad, which has won three in a row, improved to 3-1 and dropped NYA to 2-3 in the process after beating the Panthers for the 10th consecutive time.

“(NYA’s) a good team,” said Clippers coach Dorothy Holt. “They’re young like us. We’re still learning and we have some young people in key spots. My leaders are doing a great job. It just took us a little bit of time today.”

Old friends

It wasn’t long ago the Yarmouth-NYA was without question the biggest girls’ lacrosse rivalry in the state. That’s abated some in recent seasons, but as little as two years ago, the Panthers almost upset the Clippers in the playoffs.

Last year, in the regular season finale, Yarmouth won, 15-3, at NYA, to make it nine straight victories in the series and 10 in a row in the regular season (see sidebar, below).

It looks like both squads are playoff-bound in 2016, as the Clippers have the pieces in place to make a run at a third straight state championship, while the resurgent Panthers have shown positive signs under new coach Molly Climo.

NYA opened with a 14-7 victory at Mt. Ararat, then lost at home to Greely (13-7) and Lake Region (16-9) before bouncing back Thursday with a 13-7 come-from-behind home victory over McAuley.

Yarmouth opened with an 8-7 home loss to York, then hit its stride with wins at Cape Elizabeth (11-6) and at home over Freeport (15-4).

Saturday, on a chilly (50 degrees), windy and cloudy day, the Clippers showed why they’ve been the best Class B team in the state the past two seasons and why they’ll be in the hunt for June glory again.

Neither team could find the goal early, as turnovers were frequent.

Yarmouth broke through with 18:25 left in the first half, when Watson put her team on top to stay with an unassisted goal.

The Panthers had a chance to pull even when senior Callie Sturgeon earned a free position a couple minutes later, but she shot wide.

The Clippers then scored three goals in four minutes to open up the lead.

First, with 13:08 left in the half, after a nice spin move, Lunt finished to make it 2-0.

“I just started doing spin moves over the summer,” Lunt said.

With 10:56 showing, Watson got a pass just over the midfield stripe, raced in and beat NYA junior Gabby Linscott, who was making her first career start.

Then, with 9:08 to go, a free position from junior Katie Waeldner made it 4-0 Yarmouth.

The Panthers looked to get on the board with just over eight minutes to go when freshman Isabelle Coleman, who erupted for seven goals in Thursday’s win over McAuley, earned a free position, but Gunville made her first save.

NYA did break through with 6:41 left in the half, when senior Emily Taylor finished a feed from sophomore Charlotte Collins, but with 4:57 showing, Watson set up Lunt to make it 5-1.

Yarmouth added to the lead with 3:13 to go, when Lunt scored unassisted again after a spin move, forcing Climo to call timeout.

It didn’t help, as with 1:47 remaining before halftime, in transition, Lunt delivered a no-look pass to junior Ella Antolini, who tickled the twine for a 7-1 advantage.

In the first half, the Clippers won six of nine draws, had a 19-12 ground balls advantage and outshot the Panthers, 14-6.

Yarmouth added three quick goals early in the second half to end the competitive phase of the contest, but plenty of drama remained.

Just 40 seconds in, Lunt struck again, unassisted.

With 22:19 to play, sophomore Jess Kirk set up junior Cory Langenbach.

Kirk finished a feed from sophomore Greta Elder with 20:37 remaining and the Clippers were on the verge of forcing a mercy rule running clock, but Coleman set up Sturgeon to cut the deficit to 10-2 with 19:05 to go.

Taylor then had a chance to draw NYA closer, but Gunville made the save.

After Langenbach set up Lunt for her final goal with 18:15 to play, Gunville saved Taylor’s free position, Sturgeon’s shot hit the post and Gunville denied senior Mackenzie Sangster on a free position.

After seeing very few shots in the first half, Gunville was able to rise to the occasion.

“It’s tough because I had to shift my mindset and recognize I had to step it up,” Gunville said. “I try and keep calm and just play my game no matter what happens or how many goals get let in. I work to try and not get fazed by things. I remember it’s not the end of the world if I let a goal in.”

With 14:14 left, Langenbach scored on a free position to make it 12-2.

The Panthers’ final goal came with 5:57 to play, as junior Zelda Clegg scored on a free position, but with 20.9 seconds remaining, Yarmouth sophomore Meredith Lane countered with a free position of her own and that accounted for the 13-3 final score.

“Once we started to the win the draws, transitions happened and that led to goals,” Lunt said. “We’re still getting into the groove of the season. We have a lot of younger players and they’re doing really well. We have a lot of speed and height. We get fired up for NYA and we know NYA gets fired up to play us. The rivalry is there, so they always step it up.”

“That loss (in the first game) gave us a fire and a little bit of an edge,” Gunville said. “We knew what we had to work on. That was a good experience for us because we know now what it takes to win.”

“Everyone got to show what they had today,” Holt added. “It was a good game all around for us. We’ve switched a lot of things since the first game. We’ve worked hard on ball control and our shot selection and our defense.”

Lunt paced the offense with five goals. Langenbach and Watson both had a pair and Antolini, Kirk, Lane and Waeldner had one apiece.

Elder, Kirk, Langenbach, Lunt and Watson all had assists.

Gunville made 11 saves, with 10 coming after halftime. She credited veteran senior defenders Lauren Bartlett and Campbell Dorsett for making her life easier.

“I have so many girls backing me up,” Gunville said. “We’ve created this relationship where I know where they are going to be and how they’re going to help me. It’s reassuring to know I have girls that talented in front of me, who won’t let the ball get to me.” 

“Mary Kate’s maturing,” Holt said. “She’s a different player than she was even last year. She’s showing her confidence. She works so hard in practice. Lauren and Campbell do such a great job back there on defense.”

The Clippers had a 32-29 edge in ground balls, as Kirk collected a team-high five.

Yarmouth turned the ball over 23 times, but forced 24 turnovers. The Clippers had a 24-21 edge in shots (19-14 on cage).

Draws finished 9-9.

Learning experience

NYA got a goal apiece from Clegg, Sturgeon and Taylor and Coleman and Collins both had one assist. Coleman had a game-high six ground balls and Linscott was very impressive in her debut with six saves.

“Gabby is a great defender on our team,” said Climo. “She’s aggressive and athletic. She was willing to step up and she was awesome today. We can’t thank her enough.”

The Panthers left the field feeling they were closer to the Clippers than the final score indicated.

“I think we played with them,” Climo said. “They have great shooters and that’s something they out-did us on. I think what we learned is we need to work on our shooting. We had a lot more opportunities than we capitalized on.”

More challenges

The road gets no easier for NYA, which has to go to powerhouse Falmouth Tuesday, then hosts Waynflete May 16.

“We have some time to prepare for our upcoming tough schedule,” said Climo. “Falmouth is more of the same. We have to play our game and work on our midfield transition. Switching fields is big and we didn’t do that today.”

Yarmouth looks to extend its win streak Wednesday when Greely pays a visit. The Clippers are at Scarborough Saturday for a crossover test. Yarmouth still has to host Waynflete, Brunswick and Cape Elizabeth and plays at Lake Region, Kennebunk and Falmouth as well.

Look for this group to continue to do what the Clippers always seem to do, improve mightily as the season moves along.

“I like our potential,” Lunt said. “I think we know how to work the ball.”

“We’re heading in the right direction,” Gunville said. “We have a lot of speed and talent. We just have to work on playing our game, running our plays and coming together as a team to turn the season into a great season.”

“We know everyone is good and every game is going to be tough,” Holt added. “Things are starting to come together, but we still have so much work to do. We have a big week. Greely had a great game against Kennebunk. We’ll have to come out and put our game face on.”

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

Yarmouth senior Lilly Watson scores a first half goal.

Yarmouth sophomore Hannah Corey tries to stay with NYA freshman Isabelle Coleman. Coleman scored seven goals Thursday against McAuley, but the Clippers held her without a goal.

NYA senior Callie Sturgeon shoots past Yarmouth senior Campbell Dorsett, but junior goalie Mary Kate Gunville makes one of her 11 saves.

NYA senior Anna Laprise tries to keep the ball away from Yarmouth senior Lilly Watson.

Yarmouth sophomore Jessica Kirk runs with the ball as NYA senior Mackenzie Sangster defends.

Yarmouth junior Cory Langenbach scores a goal as NYA senior defender Anna Laprise finds herself on the wrong end of sophomore teammate Charlotte Collins’ stick.

Yarmouth junior Eliza Lunt defends NYA senior Emily Taylor.

Recent Yarmouth-NYA results

2015
Yarmouth 15 @ NYA 3 

2014
@ Yarmouth 17 NYA 8 
Eastern B semifinals
@ Yarmouth 9 NYA 7 

2013
@ Yarmouth 16 NYA 4

2012
@ Yarmouth 12 NYA 5
Yarmouth 18 @ NYA 9

2011
Yarmouth 16 @ NYA 9
Yarmouth 8 NYA 5
Eastern Class B Final
@ Yarmouth 6 NYA 5

2010
@ Yarmouth 12 NYA 8
Yarmouth 11 @ NYA 6
Eastern Class B Final
@ NYA 9 Yarmouth 5

2009
@ Yarmouth 12 NYA 11 (3 OT)
Eastern Class B Final
NYA 10 @ Yarmouth 7

2008
Yarmouth 9 @ NYA 6
NYA 15 @ Yarmouth 9
Eastern Class B Final
@ NYA 10 Yarmouth 9

2007
@ Yarmouth 7 NYA 3
Yarmouth 10 @ NYA 5
Eastern Class B Final
@ Yarmouth 10 NYA 7

2006
@ Yarmouth 14 NYA 4
Eastern Class B Final
@ Yarmouth 10 NYA 6

2005
@ NYA 21 Yarmouth 15
NYA 11 @ Yarmouth 9
East Region Final
@ NYA 9 Yarmouth 8 (3 OT)

2004
NYA 15 @ Yarmouth 7
@ NYA 8 Yarmouth 5
East Region Final
@ NYA 13 Yarmouth 7

2003
NYA 12 @ Yarmouth 11

2002
@ Yarmouth 12 NYA 5
Yarmouth 14 @ NYA 9

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