YARMOUTH—It was just what the doctor ordered.
Two days removed from a physically and emotionally draining overtime victory, the Yarmouth girls’ lacrosse team returned to action Monday night, needing an easy win.
And as has been the case virtually all spring, the Clippers got what they wanted.
Hosting Brunswick in the first game between the schools in a decade, Yarmouth shot to a 5-0 lead before the game was even nine minutes old as senior standout Grace O’Donnell scored three times and juniors Shannon Fallon and Lane Simsarian also got in on the fun.
By halftime, the Clippers were in command, 8-0, and coach Dorothy Holt went to her bench for the second half, which quickly demonstrated that while Yarmouth’s present is glorious, the future is very bright as well.
In the second half, sophomore Sophia Harrison scored her first two varsity goals and freshman Cory Langenbach added her first as the Clippers went on to a 14-2 victory, their 10th in a row this spring.
O’Donnell led all scorers with four goals, Fallon had three, to go with four assists, and Yarmouth improved to 10-1, ending the Dragons’ regular season at 5-7 in the process.
“This is what we needed today after such an emotional game Saturday,” Holt said. “I was a little worried about these guys, but they came out like I needed them to. They’re exhausted. They have graduation coming, but the starting lineup showed what they can do. I’m so impressed with the level of play. We played as well as we have as a team.”
The last time Brunswick and Yarmouth squared off, the date was May 25, 2004. The Red Sox were looking for their first World Series championship since 1918, George W. Bush was still in his first term in the White House and the top song on the Billboard Top 100 was Usher’s “Yeah!”
In fact, back at the beginning of the millennium, the Clippers and Dragons played some memorable games.
In the 2001 East Region semifinals, Brunswick rallied for a 14-13 overtime win. The next year, en route to a championship, Yarmouth had to pull off a miracle comeback to force overtime at Brunswick before prevailing, 9-8, in the regional final. The Dragons avenged that loss with a 14-10 victory in the 2003 semifinals and in the most recent meeting, the Clippers rolled, 16-8.
While Brunswick has been up-and-down this spring,Yarmouth overcame a season-opening loss at Scarborough to top every foe, capped by Saturday’s overtime classic, a 7-6 victory at two-time defending Class B champion Waynflete.
Monday night, on one of the most pleasant evenings of the season, the Clippers made sure that no more than 50 minutes would be necessary.
It took only 76 seconds for Yarmouth to take the lead for good and it would be Simsarian doing the honors, taking a feed from Fallon before beating Dragons junior goalie Emaleigh Aschbrenner.
O’Donnell scored for the first time with 21:38 remaining in the first half as Fallon had the assist.
“In warmups, I wasn’t shooting very well, so I thought I’d look for assists,” Fallon said. “Dorothy’s focused on us passing through the double team.”
Fallon set up O’Donnell again at the 20:35 mark and 98 seconds later, O’Donnell finished Simsarian’s feed to make it 4-0.
Fallon’s first goal, from Simsarian, with 16:10 left, pushed the lead to 5-0.
Fallon, like her teammates, was coming off a tough game Saturday.
“Saturday was frustrating,” Fallon said. “We’re not used to playing such an aggressive zone. We transitioned quickly, but we hit a wall. The defense did a great job holding them, so we could pull it together on offense.”
O’Donnell’s final tally was one for the highlight reel, as she raced in to score with Aschbrenner out of the goal.
“Grace is such an amazing player and is so unselfish too,” Fallon said. “Having someone like her makes it so much easier.”
Fallon fed Simsarian for a goal at 11:22 and with 8:47 to go, Fallon finished junior Caitlin Teare’s assist to make it 8-0, forcing Brunswick coach Stephanie Fisher to call timeout.
At that point, Holt began pulling starters, beginning with O’Donnell, and the score remained 8-0 at the break.
In the first 25 minutes, Yarmouth won six of nine draws and outshot the Dragons, 18-7.
Early in the second half, Brunswick had its best sustained offense, but Clippers freshman goalie sensation Mary Kate Gunville held the Dragons at bay.
First, Gunville denied junior Savannah Smith on a free position. After junior Anna McMillan shot wide on a free position, Gunville stopped a shot from sophomore Angelica Boyle.
With 21:02 left in regulation, a Fallon unassisted tally ended Yarmouth’s 12 minute, 45 second drought and when Harrison scored unassisted with 19:36 to go, the Clippers had a 10-0 lead, forcing a “mercy rule” running clock.
More importantly, it was Harrison’s first goal at the varsity level.
“Being a part of this team has been great,” Harrison said. “I think individually, we started with a lot of talent. The challenge was working together and learning how each other plays. We’ve done that.”
“It’s awesome having (Sophia) play alongside us,” Fallon said. “We have tons of great freshmen and sophomores who will really help us out.”
“Sophia is amazing,” Holt added. “We’re really pushing her in practice. She looks up to these girls and wants to be like them.”
Brunswick finally broke through with 15:55 to play, when junior Shanna Duffy set up junior Sydney Anderson for a shot Gunville couldn’t stop.
With 14:32 left, Langenbach scored her first varsity goal to get the clock running again.
Harrison added a second goal (unassisted) and after Anderson hit the post, senior Caley Nicholson shot wide on a free position and Gunville saved a senior Grace Rabinowitz free position, Harrison set up sophomore Lilly Watson for a goal and a 13-1 advantage.
Gunville made one final save with 6:14 to play, on a Rabinowitz free position, but with 2:03 showing, the Dragons pulled within 11 on a free position shot from McMillan.
In the final minute, Yarmouth got possession again and brought down the curtain on its 14-2 victory when senior Grace Mallett scored unassisted.
“We hadn’t heard much about Brunswick,” Fallon said. “Dorothy told us to come out and focus on playing our game. We knew they were a man-to-man defense, so we could use our plays.”
“To have a season like we’ve had, it takes a village,” Holt said. “From the coaching staff down to every single player and I think it showed today. It’s so cute to see my seniors take a mentoring role with the young ones. They cheer for them. To me, that’s what Yarmouth lacrosse is all about.”
The Clippers featured a balanced offensive attack, which included veteran players and newcomers doing their share.
O’Donnell had four goals in limited minutes, while Fallon added three. Harrison and Simsarian both scored twice, while Langenbach, Mallett and Watson had one goal apiece.
Eight of the 14 goals were assisted, as Fallon led the way with four. Simsarian had two, while Harrison and Teare each added one.
Gunville made 13 saves.
“Mary Kate is understanding the position and the defense is understanding her,” Holt said. “She’s showing maturity that’s really hard for a freshman. Without (last year’s goalie) Jordan Brown, I was nervous, but I saw Mary Kate play in middle school and Jill Thomas is her coach. I couldn’t ask for more.”
The Clippers outshot the Dragons, 28-20 (24-15 on cage).
Brunswick got goals from Anderson and McMillan and an assist from Duffy. Aschbrenner stopped 10 shots.
Brunswick is hoping Portland beats Deering Tuesday so it will hold on to the eighth and final playoff seed in Eastern Class A. If so, the Dragons will open the playoffs Wednesday of next week at Cheverus, Messalonskee or Cony in the quarterfinal round.
As for Yarmouth, which has the top seed in Eastern B locked up, it will get a great playoff tuneup Wednesday when Kennebunk pays a visit. The Rams need a victory to stay ahead of Waynflete and finish first in Western B. Back on May 14, the Clippers won at Kennebunk, 9-6.
The game will be preceded by a ceremony to honor Yarmouth’s seniors, so you can bet that the Clippers will be fired up to keep their good times rolling.
“Being a part of the team has been great,” Harrison said. “I think individually, we started with a lot of talent. The challenge was working together and learning how each other plays. We’ve done that. We’re all ready for playoffs. It should be fun.”
“It’s nervewracking because teams are out for blood,” Fallon said. “Kennebunk’s really good and wants to beat us. It will be interesting.”
“It’s going to be a great game,” Holt added. “We’re all psyched for it. It’s just the way you want your regular season to end. We’ll see what we can do.”
Yarmouth’s Katie Waeldner possesses the ball in the second half.
Yarmouth’s Ella Antolini and Brunswick sophomore Angelica Boyle fight for possession.
Yarmouth freshman goalie Mary Kate Gunville defends a free position shot from Brunswick senior Grace Rabinowitz. Gunville made 13 saves as she continues to dazzle.
Yarmouth freshman Eliza Lunt keeps pace with Brunswick junior Sarah Judd.
Yarmouth senior Grace Mallett plays defense on Brunswick junior Shanna Duffy.
Yarmouth junior Lane Simsarian tries to block a shot from Brunswick senior Grace Rabinowitz.
Yarmouth junior Ellie Teare collects a ground ball.
Yarmouth junior Shannon Fallon defends Brunswick senior Natalie Grant during the Clippers’ 14-2 victory Monday night. Fallon had three goals and four assists as Yarmouth improved to 10-1.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.
B- 0 2- 2
Y- 8 6- 14
23:44 Y Simsarian (Fallon)
21:38 Y O’Donnell (Fallon)
20:35 Y O’Donnell (Fallon)
18:57 Y O’Donnell (Simsarian)
16:10 Y Fallon (Simsarian)
12:32 Y O’Donnell (unassisted)
11:22 Y Simsarian (Fallon)
8:47 Y Fallon (C. Teare)
21:02 Y Fallon (unassisted)
19:36 Y Harrison (unassisted)
15:55 B Anderson (Duffy)
14:32 Y Langenbach (unassisted)
13:01 Y Harrison (unassisted)
9:57 Y Watson (Harrison)
2:03 B McMillan (free position)
:35 Y Mallett (unassisted)
B- Anderson, McMillan 1
Y- O’Donnell 4, Fallon 3, Harrison, Simsarian 2, Langenbach, Mallett, Watson 1
B- Duffy 1
Y- Fallon 4, Simsarian 2, Harrison, C. Teare 1
Shots on cage:
B (Aschbrenner) 10
Y (Gunville) 13