WATERVILLE – Yarmouth advanced to the Class B state title game in boys’ lacrosse Wednesday with a 15-3 win over Gardiner in the Eastern Maine final.
The Clippers (13-3) picked apart the Tigers’ defense and jumped to a 10-goal lead.
Yarmouth advances to Saturday’s state title game against Western winner Cape Elizabeth.
The talent gap between northern and southern Maine teams has narrowed — Gardiner knocked Yarmouth from the playoffs two years ago — but is still significant.
“We’re not used to competition like that,” Gardiner senior Tyler Jamison said. “Day in and day out, they play better teams. They’re more used to moving the ball fast, and they find that open person faster.”
After going scoreless for the first five minutes, the Clippers scored six times over the next six minutes.
Quinn Hathcock and Ethan Cyr each scored twice in that span, and Ian Edgecomb and Nick Ronan notched a goal apiece.
“We set this goal at the beginning of the season,” Yarmouth midfielder Christian Henry said. “We knew we wanted to play this game and eventually get to Fitzpatrick Stadium for the finals. I was here watching on the sidelines when I was a sophomore …. watching them lose that game (to Gardiner) in overtime and it was a heartbreaker.”
Hathcock added a pair of goals in the second quarter, as did sophomore Brendan Dioli. Henry also chipped in with a goal.
Jamison broke the shutout with a goal for the Tigers (14-1).
Yarmouth Coach David Pearl cautioned his team about overconfidence at the half, and they responded with a strong third quarter. Henry scored twice to get his hat trick, and Dioli also picked up his third goal and Edgecomb added his second.
“(We) were an underrated team this year,” Pearl said. “They’ve worked really hard. They practice like they play.
“Out of all the teams I’ve coached, I’ve never seen a team practice with more intensity.”
Pearl got some of his reserves into the game in the fourth quarter, helping swing some of the momentum to the Tigers.
Seniors Dalton Sargent and Seth Wing each scored unassisted for Gardiner, and it could have been more if not for four saves by Yarmouth goalie Sam Landry, who finished with nine saves. JD Crocker had 11 for Gardiner.
“We battled adversity all season long and we were able to pressure teams really well,” Gardiner Coach KC Johnson said. “Today, we were pressured. We didn’t handle that adversity very well.”
“We’re proud of (our season),” Jamison said. “Our goal at the beginning of the season was to make it back to (the playoffs), win KVACs and attempt to go undefeated, which we did until the end.”