Yarmouth girls end Opening Day slump, dominate Fryeburg

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Yarmouth senior Katie Waeldner is congratulated by her teammates after scoring to give the Clippers a 12-0 lead Thursday’s regular season opener versus Fryeburg Academy. Yarmouth went on to a 16-1 victory.

Joe Carpine / 365digitalphotography.com photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Yarmouth 16 Fryeburg Academy 1

FA- 0 1- 1
Y- 10 6- 16

First half
24:35 Y Lunt (unassisted)
22:41 Y Then (unassisted)
21:33 Y Then (Lunt)
16:29 Y Lunt (Then)
15:55 Y Lane (free position)
14:23 Y Waeldner (Elder)
13:03 Y Then (Lane)
10:18 Y Wilson (Lunt)
10:08 Y Then (Waeldner)
6:20 Y Then (Lunt) 

Second half
22:48 Y Langenbach (Waeldner)
16:16 Y Waeldner (Wilson)
11:28 Y Lane (Thorton)
9:15 Y Groothoff (Marston)
7:05 Y Marston (unassisted)
1:51 FA Tweedy (unassisted)
38.1 Y Grant (unassisted) 

Goals:
FA- Tweedy 1
Y- Then 5, Lane, Lunt, Waeldner 2, Grant, Groothoff, Langenbach, Marston, Wilson 1

Assists:
FA- None
Y- Lunt 3, Waeldner 2, Elder, Lane, Marston, Then, Thorton, Wilson 1

Draws:
FA- 7
Y-12 

Shots:
FA- 4
Y- 35

Shots on cage:
FA- 3
Y- 20

Saves:
Y (Gunville) 2
FA (Legault) 13

YARMOUTH—Yarmouth’s girls’ lacrosse team has been notoriously slow starters albeit fabulous finishers in recent years.

Thursday afternoon on their home turf, the Clippers figured out the starting piece and once again demonstrate the look of a team that might just finish strong two months down the line.

Hosting Fryeburg Academy in the teams’ mutual regular season opener on a brisk afternoon, Yarmouth ended the competitive phase quickly, as junior Eva Then scored five first half goals and the Clippers raced to a 10-0 lead, inducing a mercy rule running clock.

In the second half, Yarmouth continued to tickle the twine, scoring six more times, and it went on to a 16-1 victory.

Then led a balanced attack with five goals, nine different Clippers tickled the twine and Yarmouth got the season off on the right foot at last.

“We started out strong, we had a little dip, then we came back strong,” said Clippers coach Dorothy Holt. “It’s a fun group. They’re working hard. It makes a big difference starting 1-0 instead of 0-1. It’s a little different vibe this year. The girls are giddy and happy. They know we have to prove something.”

Opening salvo

Yarmouth put together another terrific season in 2016, going 9-3 in the regular year, then downing Freeport, St. Dom’s and Morse by an average of nearly nine goals per contest to get to the state final for the fourth year in a row, but the Clippers’ quest for a program-first three-peat fell just short, 9-7, against Kennebunk in the Class B state final.

This year’s team has a lot of talent returning, as well as a group of promising newcomers, and Yarmouth is the Class B North favorite again.

Fryeburg Academy went 3-9 last year and missed the playoffs.

The teams last met May 12, 2015 in Fryeburg, a 14-2 Clippers’ victory.

Thursday, Yarmouth started fast and didn’t look back.

The Raiders actually had a chance to strike first when they got an early possession and Bridget Tweedy had a good bid, but the shot hit the post and that would prove to be the visitors’ highwater mark.

The Clippers then transitioned to offense and went on top to stay 42 seconds in when senior Eliza Lunt went coast-to-coast and beat Fryeburg Academy goalie Harmony Legault for a 1-0 lead.

With 22:41 to play in the first half, Then scored for the first time, unassisted.

A mere eight seconds later, after winning the draw, Yarmouth scored again, as Lunt set up Then for a goal and a 3-0 lead.

With 16:29 to go, the duo traded off and Then fed Lunt for another goal.

“We’ve worked on transition a lot in practice,” Then said. “Quick passes so we don’t have to run the ball all the way up the field. It worked well.” 

With 15:55 left, junior Meredith Lane scored on a free position.

“Eva and Meredith and the other juniors have to fill in big shoes,” Holt said. “They’re taking that on. The seniors make them feel comfortable.”

With 14:23 to go, junior Greta Elder set up senior Katie Waeldner to make it 6-0.

The goals kept coming, as with 13:03 to go, Lane set up Then, with 10:18 left, Lunt fed Molly Wilson.

Ten seconds later, Waeldner set up Then and with 6:20 remaining, Then finished a feed from Lunt to extend the advantage to 10-0 at halftime.

In the first half alone, Yarmouth won 8 of 11 draws, had a 23-3 shots advantage and scored on nearly half their attempts.

The clock ran the entire second half and while the Clippers slowed their attack, some newcomers couldn’t resist taking shots when they presented themselves.

Just 2:12 into the second half, senior Cory Langenbach scored from Waeldner.

It then took over six minutes for Yarmouth to score again, as with 16:16 to go, Waeldner finished Wilson’s pass to make it 12-0.

With 11:28 to play, Lane scored her final goal, from sophomore Abby Thorton.

With 9:15 showing, freshman Ehryn Groothoff scored her first career goal, from junior Emma Marston, and the lead was 14-0.

“The younger kids have so much potential,” Then said. “The fact they’re already playing varsity will make them great players in the long run.”

“We have key veteran leadership and our youngsters are coming in,” Holt said. “It’s a good mix. The younger kids played well today.”

Marston then got in on the fun with 7:05 to play, scoring unassisted.

Finally, with 1:51 to go, Tweedy got the Raiders on the board, scoring an unassisted goal, but with 38.1 seconds left, freshman Caroline Grant scored unassisted, bringing the curtain down on Yarmouth’s emphatic 16-1 triumph.

“It was a great start,” Then said. “That’s really important. We tell ourselves we’re going to come out strong and it worked. Sometimes it takes a couple games to get going in a season, but this year, we have a super-strong team with a great group of seniors leading us.”

The Clippers were led by Then, who scored five times and added an assist. Lane, Lunt and Waeldner had two goals apiece and Grant, Groothoff, Langenbach, Marston and Wilson all had one goal.

Lunt had three assists, Waeldner two and Elder, Lane, Marston, Then, Thorton and Wilson each added one.

Yarmouth won 12 of 19 draws and outshot Fryeburg Academy, 35-4 (20-3 on cage).

Clippers senior goalie Mary Kate Gunville made two saves.

The Raiders got a goal from Tweedy and 13 saves from Legault.

Tougher sledding

Fryeburg Academy’s daunting season-opening crucible continues Saturday at Kennebunk. The Raiders finally come home April 26 to meet St. Dom’s.

Yarmouth, meanwhile, is off to train in Florida next week, then won’t play another countable game until April 26, when Cape Elizabeth pays a visit. The Clippers then host Waynflete two days later.

“I’m excited,” Then said. “I think we’ll go far. We have great potential. Last year is a motivating factor. It gives us something to work for.”

“We still have a long way to go,” Holt said. “We’re trying to mix things up this year. We want to work on the strengths of who we have in certain positions. We’ll have some warmth and scrimmage at IMG Academy. Then we get into it quickly when we get back. I think we’ll be ready.”

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

Yarmouth junior Greta Elder throws a pass.

Yarmouth senior Eliza Lunt sends a shot on goal.

Yarmouth freshman Ehryn Groothoff looks to pass. Groothoff scored her first career goal in the second half.

Yarmouth senior Ella Antolini has a shot saved by Fryeburg Academy goalie Harmony Legault.

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