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- The Forecaster
YARMOUTH—It wasn’t a win and it wasn’t a loss, but both Waynflete and Yarmouth’s boys’ soccer teams took something valuable from their battle of unbeatens on a rainy Thursday evening.
The Clippers, who haven’t lost a game in over two years, didn’t produce their best effort of the season and as a result, got a much-needed wakeup call on the brink of the postseason.
The Flyers, meanwhile, took home some valuable Heal Points and moved into the top spot in their region with one game to go.
With just 12.5 seconds to play in the first half, Yarmouth senior standout Eric LaBrie scored to give the Clippers the lead.
Waynflete didn’t buckle and with 22:47 remaining, sophomore Ben Adey scored off a corner kick to tie the score.
The contest would go to overtime, but 10 additional minutes couldn’t produce a resolution and the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
The Clippers finished the regular season with a record of 12-0-2, while the Flyers are now 10-0-3.
“We were resilient and kept fighting and the guys played really hard,” said Waynflete coach Brandon Salway. “A result is a bonus. This is something to build on. These kinds of games are good for us.”
“I’m more frustrated with how we responded when it didn’t go our way,” said Yarmouth coach Mike Hagerty. “We were just a little bit off. We didn’t play our best, but give Waynflete credit.”
Yarmouth has been the state’s premier program the past five years. The Clippers are looking for a big-school record fifth consecutive state title and haven’t lost a game since Sept. 24, 2016 (5-3 to visiting Falmouth).
Not everything has come easily this fall for Yarmouth, but the Clippers have remained unbeaten. After a 4-1 home win over York to start, Yarmouth held off visiting Cape Elizabeth (2-1) and won at Greely (4-1). A 1-1 home tie against Freeport ended the Clippers’ 26-game win streak, but they passed every subsequent test, downing host Wells (5-2) and Fryeburg Academy (7-0), visiting Lake Region (8-1), host Poland (6-0), visiting York (3-1), host Cape Elizabeth (1-0), visiting Greely (2-1), host Freeport (2-1) and visiting Gray-New Gloucester (6-0).
Waynflete, meanwhile, had avoided defeat as well. The Flyers started by blanking visiting Traip Academy (3-0) and Sacopee Valley (3-0), then settled for a 2-2 draw at Gray-New Gloucester. Waynflete blanked visiting Greely (1-0) and St. Dom’s (2-1) and after a 1-1 draw at Cape Elizabeth, the Flyers edged host Traip Academy, 1-0, rallied for a stirring 2-1 overtime home win over North Yarmouth Academy, then blanked host Fryeburg Academy (3-0), host Sacopee Valley (2-0), visiting Wells (5-0) and host St. Dom’s (2-0).
Entering play Thursday, the teams had met six times since 2007, with Yarmouth prevailing three times, Waynflete once and two other games ending in ties (see sidebar, below).
The Flyers’ victory, on Sept. 25, 2015, was the last time the Clippers had lost to a non-Class A foe.
This time around, on a damp evening that featured on-and-off rainfall, Yarmouth, on its Senior Night, didn’t lose and didn’t win either.
LaBrie took the first good shot, sending the ball just wide in the sixth minute.
In the eighth minute, Yarmouth junior Jason Lainey had a shot denied by Waynflete junior goalkeeper Luca Antolini.
In the 11th minute, Clippers senior Jack Jones looked to put his team on top, but his left-footed bid tipped off the crossbar.
Antolini then bobbled and saved a long free kick by Lainey in the 16th minute.
Waynflete’s first chance came with 13:11 to go in the first half, when junior Ian McClure-Chute looked for junior Diraige Dahia in the box, but Yarmouth senior goalkeeper Aaron Belesca got to the ball first.
After Belesca was replaced by junior Spencer King, Flyers junior Askar Houssein got his head on a ball in the box, but King made the save.
Waynflete sophomore Joey Ansel-Mullen then fought for the ball and stole it, but he shot just high and wide.
With 43.8 seconds remaining in the half, Jones passed to LaBrie, who made a move to get around a defender, then shot with his left foot just wide of the far post.
At that point, it appeared the game would go to the break scoreless, but LaBrie got a second chance and this time, wouldn’t be denied.
On another Jones rush, he passed the ball in front to LaBrie, who one-timed a blast into the net for a 1-0 lead with just 12.5 seconds remaining in the half.
“(Yarmouth’s) so good and they’re so good at end of halves,” Salway said. “I’ve seen that movie before. You have to be careful when you’re aggressive, they can counter like nobody else.”
The Clippers had a 3-1 edge in shots on frame and a 3-0 advantage on corner kicks in the first half, but they hadn’t opened up a healthy enough lead.
Waynflete came out strong early in the second half, but senior Thorne Kieffer missed just wide.
With 31:29 left in regulation, LaBrie had a chance to double the lead after junior Aidan Carlisle, who had replaced Antolini so Antolini could play the field, bobbled the ball in front, but LaBrie couldn’t get a shot off before the ball was cleared.
After Yarmouth junior Liam Ireland missed just wide, he had two shots saved by Carlisle.
With 24:19 on the clock, Clippers junior Aidan Hickey had a great look on a corner kick, but sent the ball just high.
The Flyers then answered.
On a corner kick with 22:47 remaining, the ball got served in, bounced around and came to the opportunistic Adey, was sent it past King and into the net to tie the score, 1-1.
McClure-Chute then tried to put Waynflete on top with a promising one-timer, but King made the save.
After Hickey sent another corner kick high, McClure-Chute missed wide.
Down the stretch in regulation, Ireland missed just wide, Houssein had a header that King saved, Carlisle made a save on a blast from Yarmouth sophomore Ian LaBrie and with 2:31 left, Hickey once more got his head on a corner kick and sent it off the crossbar.
The contest then went to “sudden victory” overtime, which consists of two five-minute periods where if no one scores, it ends in a tie.
That’s how it would end, but Yarmouth had some looks in the first OT.
First, Jones sent a promising cross through the box untouched.
After Waynflete cleared a Clippers’ corner kick, sophomore Evan Van Lonkhuyzen crossed the ball to the far post right to Jones, but Jones, on the doorstep, couldn’t get any part of his body on the ball and the golden opportunity went for naught.
As time wound down in the first overtime, Lainey’s shot was bobbled by Carlisle, but he corralled it in time.
Neither team could do much in the second OT, although Yarmouth got a last-second corner kick that didn’t result in anything and the game went in the books, 1-1.
“This was a fun game to be in,” Hagerty said. “Waynflete played a great game. Brandon’s a terrific coach. They’re always well-prepared. They defended us with numbers, played long and got us in uncomfortable positions. We have to be stronger in the box. We had some great chances, more than they did.
“We’ve played a lot of one-goal games, at least half of them this year. We still haven’t played our best, but I’ll take 12-0-2 with a young team.
“I’m really proud of the effort that we put in tonight,” Salway said. “We have huge respect for Yarmouth’s program. The guys want games like these and get fired up for them. It’s a special group. They enjoy playing together and show great toughness.”
The Clippers finished with a 7-4 edge in shots in frame and a 9-2 advantage on corner kicks. King made three saves.
Antolini and Carlisle combined to make six saves for the Flyers.
Waynflete (currently first, ahead of Hall-Dale and Maranacook, in the Class C South Heal Points standings) has one big test left, Monday at home versus York.
“(Yarmouth’s) worth a ton (of Heal Points), so this is like a win over most teams,” Salway said. “This could get us close to where we want to be, but we need a win Monday. York’s a huge test. We’ll have to regroup and play our best.”
Yarmouth will be the top seed in Class B South once again and a fifth straight state title is the desired finish. It won’t be easy, however, as the likes of Cape Elizabeth, Freeport, Greely and York all pose problems.
“We have to find that next gear and I think we will,” Hagerty said. “I’m excited to have another mini-preseason and get our focus back. Last year, we were the clear favorite. This year, we’re still the favorite, but the distance is pretty close.”
Yarmouth 4 @ Waynflete 1
Yarmouth 2 @ Waynflete 0
@ Yarmouth 0 Waynflete 0 (tie)