Yarmouth senior Ella Antolini, left, junior Greta Elder, senior Eliza Lunt and senior Cory Langenbach celebrate a goal during the Clippers’ 7-3 win in the rain at Kennebunk Thursday afternoon.
Joe Carpine / 365digitalphotography.com photos.
More photos below.
Y- 3 4- 7
K- 1 2- 3
22:18 Y Langenbach (free position)
16:36 Y Then (free position)
6:35 K Schwartzman (unassisted)
28.6 Y Lunt (Then)
23:34 Y Then (Waeldner)
19:29 Y Lane (Lunt)
16:29 K Fogg (Gorton)
12:46 Y Lane (Lunt)
9:55 Y Antolini (free position)
2:25 K Gorton (Koch)
Y- Lane, Then 2, Antolini, Langenbach, Lunt 1
K- Fogg, Gorton, Schwartzman 1
Y- Lunt 2, Then, Waeldner 1
K- Koch, Gorton 1
Draws (Kennebunk, 8-4)
Y- Langenbach 3 of 5, Then 1 of 5, Lane 0 of 2
K- Oakman 6 of 9, Bangimaier 2 of 3
Ground balls (Yarmouth, 37-17)
Y- Waeldner 9, Elder, Then 5, Langenbach 4, Lane, Wilson 3, Antolini, Barbera, Corey 2, Decker, Lunt 1
K- Gorton 5, Oakman 4, Schwartzman 3, Burchill, Connor, Fogg, Koch, Murray 1
Shots on cage:
Y (Gunville) 9
K (Burchill) 7
KENNEBUNK—Yarmouth’s girls’ lacrosse program has produced some special teams over the years.
The 2017 version is on track to not only be the latest in a long line of champions, but this group of Clippers could be a team for the ages before all is said and done.
Yarmouth lost to Kennebunk in last year’s state final, a setback that prevented the Clippers from a first ever three-peat, and this spring, an experienced squad has returned hungrier than ever and is well on the road to capturing another trophy.
Just ask the Rams, who became Yarmouth’s latest victim Thursday afternoon in the rain and the mud.
Neither team could generate much offense in the first half, but the Clippers got early free position goals from senior Cory Langenbach and junior Eva Then, while senior goalie Mary Kate Gunville was doing what she always does in big spots, making key saves to keep Yarmouth on top.
Kennebunk did get on the board, but it took nearly 19 minutes before junior Hallie Schwartzman tickled the twine.
With 28.6 seconds remaining, a goal from senior Eliza Lunt gave the Clippers a 3-1 halftime lead.
Yarmouth’s defense never let the Rams make a serious run in the second half and its offense began to find holes in the Kennebunk defense.
Just 1 minute, 26 seconds in, Then extended the lead.
After a Gunville save held the Rams at bay, Lunt set up junior Meredith Lane for a transition goal and a 5-1 lead.
Senior Gabby Fogg got a goal back for the hosts, but Lunt set up Lane for another goal and with 9:55 left, senior Ella Antolini scored on a free position and that was all she wrote.
Kennebunk got one final tally, from junior Erin Gorton, but it was far too little, too late and Yarmouth went on to a 7-3 victory.
The Clippers got two goals each from Lane and Then, nine saves from Gunville and won their 10th game in a row this season, snapping the Rams’ seven-game win streak and dropping them to 8-2 in the process.
“We want to show our stuff every single game, no matter what team we play,” Gunville said. “We want to play Yarmouth lacrosse every time. There’s a really special connection with this group. We play for each other. We have such a strong bench. Everyone pushes each other in practice to be the best we can be.”
Kennebunk and Yarmouth battled for Class B supremacy each of the past two years and if they do so again June 17 at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland, few would be surprised.
After the Clippers upset the Rams in the 2015 state game to go back-to-back, Kennebunk got a measure of revenge last season, beating visiting Yarmouth in the regular season (9-5), then holding off the Clippers (9-7) to win the program’s elusive first state championship.
Coming into the 2017 campaign, Yarmouth was expected to get back to the state final, and hasn’t disappointed, while the Rams had a lot of holes to fill and were expected to come back to the pack, but haven’t exactly done so.
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), host Brunswick (14-2) and visiting Greely (9-3).
Kennebunk started with a 17-1 home win over Fryeburg Academy. After falling, 8-5, at York, the Rams beat host Greely (10-6), visiting Lake Region (15-7) and visiting Freeport (15-7), won at defending Class A champion Messalonskee (13-6), beat host Wells (14-0) and visiting Marshwood (8-7), a decision which gave longtime coach Annie Barker her 200th career win, and Monday, made a statement with a win at Falmouth (9-5).
Entering play Thursday, Kennebunk had won three straight regular season meetings against Yarmouth, cutting the Clippers’ lead in the series to 8-7, dating back to 2002 (see sidebar, below).
This time around, with the wind howling and a steady rain falling, Yarmouth controlled play much of the way and posted another impressive victory.
Gunville set the tone just 62 seconds, in when she denied Schwartzman on a free position.
The Clippers then got a free position chance and Langenbach converted, beating Rams senior goalie Mallory Burchill for a 1-0 lead with 22:18 to go in the first half.
After Gunville preserved the lead by stopping a free position shot off the stick of Gorton, Yarmouth doubled its lead, when Then scored on a free position with 16:36 remaining.
Neither team then scored for 10 minutes, as the conditions took their toll and both defenses stood tall.
Gunville stopped a free position shot from freshman Mia Bangimaier and also robbed senior Leah Dumas.
Burchill made a key save too, on a Langenbach free position.
Finally, with 6:35 left before the half, Schwartzman beat a defender on a crease roll before shooting past Gunville to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Just 52 seconds later, Dumas had a great look to tie the score, but Gunville ripped the ball out of midair to keep her team on top.
After Burchill twice denied Clippers junior Greta Elder, then made a save on a Lane shot, the Rams again had a look to tie the score with just over a minute to go, but freshman Abby Lamontagne was denied by Gunville.
“Mary came up with some key saves at the right time and our defense worked hard,” said Yarmouth coach Dorothy Holt. “(Mary Kate’s) one of those kids I’m blessed to coach. She has a zen that you can’t teach. She really brought it today. She works really hard. She has 21 players who work hard with her.”
Yarmouth then got some momentum with just 28.6 seconds on the clock, as Then passed to Lunt, who fired a shot past Burchill to make it 3-1.
A last-second free position from senior Marran Oakman went high and the Clippers took a two-goal advantage to the break.
In the first 25 minutes, Yarmouth had a 16-7 advantage in ground balls and an 11-9 edge in shots. Gunville made seven key saves to help the Clippers hold the lead.
Conditions only got worse in the second half and Yarmouth gradually pulled away.
The Clippers made it 4-1 with 23:34 remaining, as senior Katie Waeldner set up Then for a goal.
After Gunville denied Gorton, Yarmouth transitioned to offense and Lunt set up Lane to make it 5-1.
After Schwartzman hit the post, the Rams kept possession and with 16:29 to go, Gorton fed Fogg for a goal, but the Clippers put it away behind goals from Lane (set up by Lunt with 12:46 left) and Antolini (on a free position with 9:55 on the clock).
Kennebunk scored one final goal with 2:25 to play, as senior Katherine Koch passed to Gorton, who finished.
Langenbach won the ensuing draw and Yarmouth was able to run out the clock and prevail, 7-3.
“It’s tough weather, but we love working through everything,” Gunville said. “(Kennebunk’s) still an amazing team. They play great lacrosse.”
“We had a game in the rain Monday against Greely,” Lunt said. “That challenged us. It made it easier for us to adjust tonight. Being on the grass added a little extra challenge. We knew we had to pass the ball quickly. We tried to find the open player. We’ve been in the state game with them the past two years, so it was great to beat them.”
“We played in this the other day and we were mentally ready,” Holt added. “We turned the ball over, but not a lot in this weather. The girls worked so hard and really wanted it. It was very low scoring and I think the conditions had a lot to do with that. The girls handled the weather. That shows our toughness. I’m proud of them. It was a good game. It’s a good group. Seven seniors have played together for awhile and they have underclassmen pushing them.”
The Clippers featured their typical balanced attack, as Lane and Then both scored twice and Antolini, Langenbach and Lunt had one goal apiece. Lunt assisted on two goals and Then and Waeldner both set up a goal.
Gunville made nine saves, all of them critical.
“It’s amazing to be surrounded by great girls,” Gunville said. “It’s them who I work for every day. They inspire me in any kind of weather. I try to get into my zone and I take every shot as a new beginning. I just do my best to try and stop the ball. That’s my job.”
“We really count on Mary,” Lunt said. “She’s amazing. She’s been amazing since freshman year.”
Yarmouth enjoyed a commanding 37-17 edge in ground balls (Waeldner led all players with nine and Elder and Then each collected five), outshot Kennebunk, 19-14 (14-12 on cage), and only committed 13 turnovers.
The Rams got one goal apiece from Fogg, Gorton and Schwartzman. Gorton and Koch both had an assist. Gorton had a team-high five assists. Burchill made seven saves.
Kennebunk had an 8-4 advantage in draws and turned the ball over 15 times.
“Our attack wasn’t shooting well today,” Barker said. “They rattled us. Our composure wasn’t there and they capitalized on our mistakes. They’re a veteran team.”
Kennebunk (now second to Falmouth in the hotly contested Class B South Heal Points standings) still has a shot at finishing in the top two and earning a bye into the semifinals. The Rams play at red-hot Cape Elizabeth Tuesday and Thursday of next week, host Waynflete in a Senior Night contest that will be held on the turf field at the University of New England.
“We’ve got big games next week, so we’ll keep going,” Barker said. “We’d like to do this again June 17. That’s the goal. We know (Yarmouth will) be there.”
Yarmouth will likely be the top seed in Class B North. First, the Clippers host York Tuesday, then close at Falmouth Thursday of next week (game time has been changed to 3:30 p.m.).
“We can always improve,” Gunville said. “We’ll work tomorrow to improve on things that didn’t go so well today. We’re looking great, but we’ll take the opportunity to get better. This is family to me. This is where I want to be. I want to keep playing lacrosse as long as I can.”
“It would be so awesome to go undefeated, but we have bigger goals,” Lunt said. “We’re working really cohesively as a team and we’re growing together. We make each other look good. We hope that continues.”
“It doesn’t get any easier,” Holt added. “We’re playing great teams. We haven’t had a schedule like this in a long time. I hope it pays off down the road.”
Yarmouth senior goalie Mary Kate Gunville makes one of her nine saves.
Yarmouth junior Greta Elder shoots past Kennebunk senior goalie Mallory Burchill, but the ball goes just wide of the cage.
Yarmouth senior Cory Langenbach collides with Kennebunk sophomore Sophie Thompson.
Yarmouth senior Katie Waeldner looks to pass.
Kennebunk 8 @ Yarmouth 7
Kennebunk 9 @ Yarmouth 5
Yarmouth 12 @ Kennebunk 11 (OT)
Class B State Final
Yarmouth 7 Kennebunk 5
@ Kennebunk 13 Yarmouth 8
@ Yarmouth 9 Kennebunk 8 (OT)
@ Yarmouth 10 Kennebunk 5
Yarmouth 7 @ Kennebunk 6
Yarmouth 13 Kennebunk 8