YARMOUTH – The Yarmouth boys’ lacrosse team beat cross-town rival North Yarmouth Academy for the third time this season Saturday afternoon to earn its first trip to the Eastern Class B final in three seasons.
The third-seeded Clippers took advantage of a fluke goal late in the fourth quarter to pull out an 8-7 win and end the second-seeded Panthers’ two-year hold on the regional title.
Yarmouth (11-3) will travel north Wednesday to play top-seeded Gardiner (14-0) for the regional championship.
The decisive goal came with less than four minutes left when NYA goalie DJ Nicholas accidentally put the ball in his own cage while preparing to send a clearing pass downfield.
“It’s a game of bounces,” Yarmouth Coach David Pearl said. “When teams are playing as aggressively and with so much on the line and guys are trying so hard, you’re bound to get your breaks and you’re bound to make your mistakes.”
It was an unfortunate end to an extremely close game.
“We were dead even,” NYA Coach Peter Gerrity said. “It’s too bad that happened, but DJ bailed us out on so many door-step shots. Karma (came) back for all those saves.”
Nicholas, a sophomore in his first season as a goalie, made seven saves, mostly on shots from point-blank range.
The Panthers (9-5) held a 4-1 lead after the first 15 minutes, but Yarmouth rallied to forge a 4-4 tie three minutes into the second half.
After that, the lead changed hands or the score was tied seven times.
Elliot Wellenbach, a senior midfielder, helped keep NYA close by winning 11 of 15 face-offs.
“In lacrosse, faceoff is a game-changing position,” Pearl said. “He changed the game and made it much harder for us.”
The Panthers had a 24-23 edge in shots, but Yarmouth held a 16-15 advantage in ground balls and committed two fewer turnovers.
Ian Edgecomb led Yarmouth with two goals and an assist. Christian Henry scored two goals, Joseph Oliva had a goal and two assists, and Isaac Dearden contributed a goal and an assist. Nicholas Ronan scored a goal, and Walter Conrad had an assist.
For NYA, Jacob Scammon and Matt Hawkins each scored two goals. Jeremy Sylvain, T.J. Daigler and Max Bueche also scored.
Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: