PORTLAND—With the temperature in the mid-80s and nothing working on offense, Yarmouth’s girls’ lacrosse team faced a crossroads at Waynflete Tuesday afternoon.
The Clippers could have folded up their tent, or they could have rallied for a character-building victory.
They produced the latter.
Yarmouth’s four-game win streak was in jeopardy when it went over 21 minutes without a goal in the first half and the Flyers built a 4-1 advantage.
But the Clippers finally rediscovered their scoring touch late in the half, as sophomores Eliza Lunt and Katie Waeldner tickled the twine to restore order.
Waynflete scored the first goal of the second half, but Yarmouth drew even as senior Emma Torres and Lunt both scored unassisted.
The Flyers took the lead again, 6-5, when sophomore Isabel Canning scored with 12:14 to play, but the Clippers’ defense and sophomore goalie Mary Kate Gunville didn’t allow another goal from there and a free position tally from senior Lane Simsarian tied the score with 5:57 to go.
Lunt then gave Yarmouth the lead for good with 3:13 remaining and after stalling for three minutes, Torres iced it with seven seconds to play and the Clippers went on to an 8-6 victory.
Lunt scored three times, Simsarian and Torres added two goals apiece and Gunville made 10 saves as Yarmouth made it five victories in a row, improved to 6-3 and dropped Waynflete to 6-4 in the process.
“It was a good, emotional win for us,”said Clippers coach Dorothy Holt. “Waynflete is a good team. We get nervous for Waynflete because we know they’re so good. We needed to jell as a team and just play our game. We didn’t need to rush or worry, just take care of the ball.”
Waynflete has long been the state’s premier girls’ lacrosse program with Yarmouth in the second spot. One or the other has won a championship in every season but one (2010) dating back to 2000.
Last year, it was the Clippers’ turn, as Yarmouth beat Waynflete twice during the regular season, in easy fashion at home (11-4), then in an overtime classic in Portland (7-6).
This spring, both teams are reloading and both had stumbled three times apiece, but each squad had also shown that they are capable of beating anyone on a given day.
Yarmouth got off to a 1-3 start. After losing at home to Falmouth in the opener, 14-9, then after a two-week break, falling at York, 8-6, the Clippers righted the ship with an emphatic 16-3 win at Freeport, but a 10-7 home loss to Kennebunk followed. Yarmouth began its win streak with a 14-2 romp at Fryeburg Academy, then turned the corner with home victories over contenders Scarborough (15-12) and Lake Region (19-8) before coming from behind to down visiting Greely Thursday (11-10).
Waynflete began with a 13-4 victory at North Yarmouth Academy, then held off visiting Cheverus, 9-6, and lost at home to Kennebunk, 8-4. The Flyers bounced back with wins at Greely (10-7) and Fryeburg Academy (10-1) and at home over Gould Academy, 13-6, then lost at Scarborough, 7-4, and was dominated at home, 13-6, by Falmouth. Last Monday, Waynflete returned to form with a 10-4 victory at Cape Elizabeth.
Yarmouth sweep last year cut Waynflete’s lead in the series (dating to 2002) to 16-9 (see sidebar, below).
Tuesday, despite the 80-plus-degree temperature, the Clippers managed to win in Portland for the second year in a row, something which hadn’t happened since at least the start of the century.
Yarmouth struck first when Simsarian took a precision pass from senior Shannon Fallon and beat Flyers junior goalie Charlotte Majercik for a 1-0 lead with 22:26 to play in the first half.
The Clippers wouldn’t score again until it was almost halftime and Waynflete’s offense soon came to life.
A mere 41 seconds after Yarmouth took the lead, sophomore Beata Vest scored unassisted after a Clippers’ turnover to tie the score.
After Gunville denied Vest, Canning set up senior Haley Johnson for the go-ahead goal with 17:36 left in the half.
With 16:42 to play, freshman Izzy Burdick converted a free position, as Gunville got her stick on the ball, but couldn’t keep it out.
Then, after Holt called timeout, Waynflete made it 4-1 with 15:42 remaining, as junior Christian Rowe scored unassisted.
After Flyers senior standout Helen Gray-Bauer hit the post, Gunville denied junior Nina Moore after a coast-to-coast rush.
Majercik denied Fallon twice, then Vest, Burdick and Canning were robbed by Gunville.
Finally, with 1:15 left in the half, Lunt snaped the 21 minute, 11 second drought with an unassisted tally.
As time wound down in the half, Clippers sophomore Cory Langenbach had a shot turned aside by Majercik, but with 19 seconds to go, Waeldner took a pass from junior Lilly Watson and finished to pull Yarmouth within 4-3 and give the visitors momentum.
Vest almost answered with 4 seconds remaining in the half, but Gunville again made a key save.
“That last goal in the first half gave us momentum going into the second,” Torres said.
“Mary Kate kept us in the game in the first half,” Holt said. “She had an outstanding game. The defense was great. They’re starting to communicate well. They did their job and just let Mary Kate make saves from the outside. She’s great at reading angles. (Sophomore) Gretchen Barbera was phenomenal on defense today.”
Waynflete had a statisical edge in draws, ground balls and shots in the first half, but Gunville’s seven saves kept things close.
Things remained tight throughout the second half.
After Gunville denied Moore early, Torres was denied by Majercik on a free position.
Then, with 16:33 left in regulation, Vest set up Rowe for a 5-3 lead, ending a 24 minute, 9 second Flyers’ drought.
Waynflete wasn’t able to build on that momentum, however, as Torres eluded a defender and finished with 15:10 showing and 29 seconds later, Lunt weaved through the defense and beat Majerick to tie the score, 5-5.
Yarmouth wasn’t able to grab the lead, however, as Canning scored unassisted with 12:14 to go, but after Gunville turned aside shots from Rowe and freshman Lydia Giguere, Simsarian retied the game, 6-6, on a free position shot with 5:57 left.
With memories of last year’s overtime running through the minds of many on hand, the Clippers took the lead for the first time since it was 1-0 when Fallon threaded a gorgeous pass around a defender right to Lunt, who finished with 3:13 to play, making it 7-6 Yarmouth.
“It was just a beautiful pass and I was just in front of the goal and I just finished it off,” Lunt said.
The ensuing draw would be pivotal and the Clippers were given possession when Waynflete was called for a false start.
That gave Yarmouth the ball and the Clippers skillfully milked three minutes off the clock.
The only anxious moment came when Langenbach pounced on a loose ball to retain possession.
With 30 seconds to go, Torres had an open lane to the goal, but she instead pulled the ball out to run the clock.
Then, with time winding down, Torres got another look and this time, she raced in and shot past Majercik to ice it with 7 seconds showing.
“We practice stalling a lot,” Torres said. “We haven’t had to use it in a game that’s this intense. We were careful with the ball and pulled it off. I didn’t want to lose the ball just in case, but with seven seconds left, I went for it when I had a one-on-one.”
Yarmouth then ran out the clock and celebrated its 8-6 triumph, its third in a row over Waynflete, something which last happened in 2006-07.
“We were a bit nervous coming in, but we pushed hard,” Torres said. “We had heart and we really wanted it. Our tactic against Waynflete’s zone was to move the ball rapidly. We had trouble doing that in the first half, but in the second half it clicked more. We had to draw the defender and cut behind.”
“We know Waynflete’s always a challenge,” said Lunt. “Last year we went into overtime with them. We really wanted it and that won us the game. We’re meshing more as a team. It was hard at the beginning because of our senior losses.”
“I told the team at halftime to take care of the ball and not worry about the fastbreak because they took that away from us anyway,” Holt added. “We’re learning how to play with pressure. Every game is so close this year. All the teams we play are so good.”
The Clippers had a balanced offense, as Lunt had three goals, Simsarian and Torres two and Waeldner one. Fallon and Watson both had two assists.
“Emma and Eliza stepped up,” said Holt. “Lilly and Shannon got everyone to settle down on offense.”
Gunville again made the key saves when it mattered, stopping 10 shots in all. Torres had a team-high five ground balls. Sophomore Ella Antolini won 5 of 9 draws.
Yarmouth committed 22 turnovers.
Waynflete got two goals from Rowe and one apiece from Burdick, Canning, Johnson and Vest. Canning and Vest each had an assist. Majercik made four saves.
The Flyers had a 37-34 edge in ground balls, as Burdick, Canning, Gray-Bauer and Johnson each collected five. Gray-Bauer won 7 of 12 draws (the teams wound up 8-8).
Waynflete outshot Yarmouth, 19-14 (16-12 on cage) and committed 16 turnovers.
“They held us without a goal for 24 minutes,” said Flyers coach Cathie Connors. “That can’t happen to us against a team like that. The heat was an adjustment. We only have a few subs and Yarmouth had more depth. We played a great first half and Yarmouth played a great second half. It’s always fun to play them.”
Both teams are hoping to reach Fitzpatrick Stadium for the Class B state final June 20, but both will be tested, not just at the end of the regular season, but in the playoffs as well.
Waynflete (now fifth in the ultra-competitive Western Class B Heal Points standings) hopes to bounce back when it hosts York Friday and closes at Freeport June 4.
“We look forward to playing York,” Connors said. “There are things I have to tweak. The girls will work hard to get ready.”
Yarmouth (now second to Oceanside in the Eastern Class B Heals) hosts Cape Elizabeth in a rematch of last year’s state final Friday. After going to Brunswick Monday, the Clippers close the regular season at rival NYA June 4.
“We really need to work on transitioning and team defense,” said Lunt. “I think we’re going uphill.”
“We have momentum and we’ll keep going to where we want to be at the end,” Torres said.
“I’d like to be at home (for the playoffs), but I just want us to keep progressing,” Holt added. “It’s fun to see this group grow. Last year, we rode the key leaders to victory, but this year, they’re all growing together. It’s been fun to watch and fun to coach.”
Yarmouth sophomore Ella Antolini corrals a loose ball.
Waynflete sophomore Isabel Canning attacks the goal.
Yarmouth senior Shannon Fallon controls the ball as Waynflete junior goalie Charlotte Majercik looks on.
Waynflete senior Helen Gray-Bauer brings the ball up the field as Yarmouth sophomore Eliza Lunt keeps pace.
Yarmouth senior Mary Coyne chases Waynflete junior Nina Moore.
Waynflete junior Christian Rowe shoots on Yarmouth sophomore Mary Kate Gunville.
Yarmouth senior Lane Simsarian fires a shot.
Waynflete junior Meddy Smith defends Yarmouth senior Shannon Fallon.
Waynflete senior Dana Peirce defends Yarmouth junior Lilly Watson.
Waynflete 13 @ Yarmouth 7
@ Waynflete 13 Yarmouth 5
Yarmouth 7 @ Waynflete 5
@ Yarmouth 12 Waynflete 5
Waynflete 8 @ Yarmouth 7
Class B State Final
Yarmouth 12 Waynflete 5
Waynflete 11 @ Yarmouth 6
@ Waynflete 9 Yarmouth 8
Waynflete 7 @ Yarmouth 6
@ Waynflete 10 Yarmouth 7
@ Yarmouth 8 Waynflete 6
Yarmouth 8 @ Waynflete 3
Yarmouth’s girls’ lacrosse team mobs sophomore goalie Mary Kate Gunville after the Clippers hold off Waynflete, 8-6, Tuesday afternoon.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.
Y- 3 5- 8
W- 4 2- 6
22:26 Y Simsarian (Fallon)
21:45 W Vest (unassisted)
17:36 W Johnson (Canning)
16;42 W Burdick (free position)
15:42 W Rowe (unassisted)
1:15 Y Lunt (unassisted)
:19 Y Waeldner (Watson)
16;33 W Rowe (Vest)
15:10 Y Torres (unassisted)
14:41 Y Lunt (unassisted)
12:14 W Canning (unassisted)
5:57 Y Simsarian (free position)
3:13 Y Lunt (Fallon)
:07 Y Torres (Watson)
Y- Lunt 3, Simarian, Torres 2, Waeldner 1
W- Rowe 2, Burdick, Canning, Johnson, Vest 1
Y- Fallon, Watson 2
W- Canning, Vest 1
Y- Antolini 5 of 9, Torres 2 of 6, Simsarian 1 of 1
W- Gray-Bauer 7 of 12, Moore 1 of 3, Burdick 0 of 1
Ground balls (Waynflete, 37-34)
Y- Torres 5, Bartlett, Simsarian, Watson 4, Fallon 3, Antolini, Barbera, Dorsett, Langenbach, Waeldner 2, Coyne, Harrison, Lunt, Wilson 1
W- Burdick, Canning, Gray-Bauer, Johnson 5, Moore, Pope, Vest 4, Smith 3, Rowe 2
Shots on cage:
Y (Gunville) 10
W (Majercik) 4