YARMOUTH – The word or phrase that gets shouted in unison after a pregame huddle is a little different for the North Yarmouth Academy girls’ lacrosse team.

The Panthers don’t bellow “Panthers.” They leave “Team and Intensity” to others.

“Our cheer is ‘Family,’” said NYA senior Courtney Dumont. “That’s what we want to be. We take that chant really seriously.”

After a spring that included some devastating lows, the NYA family hit a high point Wednesday. The top-seeded Panthers avenged a pair of regular-season losses, overcame a halftime deficit and beat No. 2 Yarmouth 9-5 in the Eastern Class B championship at Lewis Field.

NYA (11-3) will face Western champion Waynflete (12-2) in the state championship game for the third year in a row in a game scheduled Saturday morning at 10 at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

Waynflete, the two-time defending champ, defeated Falmouth 11-6 in the other regional final Wednesday. Both of the Flyers’ losses this season were against NYA.

The Panthers lost to Yarmouth 12-8 in April and 11-6 in May. They also played a big chunk of their season without head coach Julia Sterling, who missed three weeks because of illness and returned just in time for playoffs.

Their second loss to Yarmouth occurred two days after the death of Dumont’s mother, Delia, after a long battle with lupus. Two days later, Dumont’s teammates attended the funeral to pay their respects.

“I think that’s one of the things that really brought us together,” Dumont said. “They all showed up to the funeral and helped me get over that emotional hill.”

On Wednesday, it was Dumont who led the charge, scoring the final three goals as NYA held Yarmouth scoreless in the second half. NYA goalie Ashley Salerno and a defense anchored by Frances Leslie, Hayley Bright, Caroline Bowne and Abbie McIvor continually turned aside Yarmouth forays.

Perhaps frustrated by two goals disallowed because of crease violations — the first coming in the game’s third minute — Yarmouth drew five yellow cards, losing one of its top defenders for a second infraction.

“That’s really not like our team,” said Yarmouth senior Becca Bell, who scored three times to help the Clippers dig out from an early 3-0 hole.

“It looked like the entire towns are here, and I think all the intensity and adrenaline went to our heads. So when something went wrong, we started to go for whatever we could get, and sometimes that wasn’t the cleanest play.”

Yarmouth junior Natalie Salmon scored from free position two minutes before halftime to give the Clippers a 5-4 lead. After the break, Katie Cawley tied it with an assist from Lilly Wellenbach. A nice spin move freed sophomore Katie Millett for the go-ahead goal at 6:20 of the second half before Dumont and an effective ball-possession offense sealed the victory.

Dumont finished with four goals, Salerno with nine saves. Yarmouth goalie Carlie Woodson made five saves.

“It’s been kind of a roller-coaster season,” Salerno said. “But we started to peak at the right time.”

 

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

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