PORTLAND – A scoreless soccer match changed on a dime Wednesday when eighth-seeded North Yarmouth Academy converted a corner kick.

Niklas Narvanmaa crashed through traffic to get his head on a ball kicked by Ryan Rousseau, scoring with 22:36 remaining.

The Panthers (10-5-1) held on to knock off third-ranked Waynflete 1-0 for the Western Class C title.

NYA will play Fort Kent for the state championship Saturday, with the site and time to be determined.

“These kids have worked so hard,” said NYA Coach Martyn Keen. “When this team’s backs are to the wall, they respond. I’m very happy for them. (Waynflete) has a great team. On another day they would have beaten us.”

Waynflete (11-2-2) dominated early with a possession game and had the game’s better chances.

“We had great chances. My kids played hard,” said Waynflete Coach Brandon Salway. “I thought we did carry the play. This game can be cruel.”

As the match went on, the Flyers were turned away 15 times by NYA goalie Jordan Haskell.

Haskell came up with the save of the game when a Flyers forward beat a defender on the left wing and lined a point-blank shot up at the far post.

Haskell threw his hands up to divert the ball with 10:40 to play.

“I came out to look big and got a hand on it,” said Haskell. “I was able to tip it over, but got lucky there, too.”

Haskell said Waynflete was relentless on offense in the early going, and he had his defense to thank for keeping the chances playable.

“It was constant,” said Haskell. “We have a very good defense that saves my butt.”

Narvanmaa was served a yellow card for excessive celebration after the goal — he removed his shirt.

It was, said Rousseau, his teammate’s first goal of the year.

“I just sent it to the near post and he finished it,” said Rousseau. “That was his first goal. Seeing how they beat us twice in the regular season, we came in knowing we couldn’t let up.”

Keen said his team has showed remarkable resilience this season, working its way into the playoffs after standing two games below .500 just two weeks ago.

“We were 3-5 the second week in October but they never gave up,” said Keen.

“This was my fourth time to the Western Maine game. I wanted one.”

Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at:

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