Yarmouth’s girls’ lacrosse team celebrates following its 13-2 win at North Yarmouth Academy Saturday morning.

More photos below.


Yarmouth 13 NYA 2

Y- 12 1- 13
NYA- 2 0- 2

First half
23:00 NYA Holt (free position)
21:50 Y Lowenstein (Teare)
21:05 Y Lowenstein (unassisted)
20:24 Y Lowenstein (Anna Thornton)
17:52 NYA Reid (Sharp)
16:59 Y Abi Thornton (unassisted)
14:38 Y Groothoff (free position)
14:16 Y Anna Thornton (Groothoff)
10:22 Y Anna Thornton (unassisted)
9:18 Y Grondin (unassisted)
8:43 Y Abi Thornton (Anna Thornton)
3:57 Y Abi Thornton (unassisted)
2:56 Y Grondin (Anna Thornton)
1:22 Y Teare (unassisted)

Second half
9:49 Y Teare (unassisted)

Y- Lowenstein, Abi Thornton 3, Grondin, Teare, Anna Thornton 2, Groothoff 1
NYA- Holt, Reid 1

Y- Anna Thornton 3, Groothoff, Teare 1
NYA- Sharp 1

Draws (Yarmouth, 11-6)
Y- Groothoff 9 of 13, Grondin 1 of 3, Teare 1 of 1
NYA- Reid 0 of 8, Hamblett 3 of 3, Holt 2 of 3, Farrell 0 of 2, Sharp 1 of 1

Ground balls:
Y- 37
NYA- 27

Y- 19
NYA- 21 

Y- 22
NYA- 11 

Shots on cage:
Y- 18
NYA- 7 

Y (Serrano) 5 
NYA (White) 5

YARMOUTH—Yarmouth’s girls’ lacrosse team might have been able to enter the season considering itself an underdog, but the Clippers’ play over the first half of the season has cast them right back in a familiar role.

As a favorite and worthy championship contender.

Coming off key victories over Class A powerhouse Kennebunk and defending Class B state champion Cape Elizabeth, Yarmouth made the shortest road trip possible Saturday morning, when it went to Lewis Field to battle longtime rival North Yarmouth Academy and after a slow start, the Clippers put it all together again for another impressive win.

After Panthers freshman Maggie Holt scored the game’s first goal, Yarmouth sophomore Annie Lowenstein scored three times in 86 seconds to help the Clippers take control.

NYA got a goal back from senior Catherine Reid, but the final nine goals of the half would go to Yarmouth, as senior Abi Thornton scored three times and senior Kyaira Grondin and sophomore Anna Thornton added two apiece, to open up a 12-2 advantage.

The Clippers were content to work on their passing/stall game in the second half and only scored once, a tally from sophomore Natalie Teare, which finished off a 13-2 victory.

Lowenstein and Abi Thornton led the way with three goals apiece as Yarmouth won its third game in a row, improved to 4-1 on the season and in the process, dropped the Panthers to 4-3.

“We’ve played some really strong teams and that’s made us stronger,” said Abi Thornton. “Each week, I see improvement in us. It’s a new team and we’ve come together and we’re working hard to earn our wins.”

All Clippers

The Yarmouth-NYA rivalry once burned with an unmatched intensity, as the teams, separated by less than a mile, annually battled with a trip to the state final at stake.

The last memorable encounter came in the 2014 Eastern B semifinals, when the underdog Panthers led at halftime before the championship-bound Clippers rallied for a 9-7 victory.

Last year, Yarmouth beat NYA, 13-1, at home, to make it 12 straight victories in the series and 13 in a row in the regular season (see sidebar, below).

The Clippers went on to the Class B state final for the sixth year in a row, but dropped an overtime heartbreaker to Cape Elizabeth, 12-11. So far this spring, Yarmouth, despite having some big holes to fill, is up to its usual excellence.

The Clippers started with a 14-7 home win over Freeport and after losing late to visiting Massabesic, 10-9, Yarmouth eked out a pivotal 7-6 victory at Kennebunk, then Wednesday, got a measure of revenge from last year with a 14-11 home win over Cape Elizabeth.

As for NYA, it opened with a 14-7 loss to Greely, then won four in a row: 12-10 over visiting Lake Region, the defending Class C state champion, in a playoff rematch, 13-3 over visiting Mt. Ararat, 13-8 at Sanford and 12-4 at Camden Hills. The Panthers then lost, 13-8, at Freeport Wednesday.

This game was scheduled for Friday afternoon, but was delayed due to bad weather. That proved to be a good move, as Saturday morning dawned sunny with a game-time temperature of 57 degrees.

NYA was seeking its first win over Yarmouth since the 2010 Eastern B Final (9-5), but the Clippers carried play most of the day.

Mother’s Day came a day early for Dorothy Holt, who got to hug her daughter, NYA’s Maggie Holt, in pregame introductions, but the younger Holt made her presence felt on the field immediately, as two minutes in, she earned a free position, then shot the ball past Yarmouth senior goalie Izzy Serrano for a 1-0 lead.

“Coincidentally, (my older daughter) Ellie scored the first goal against us (playing for Greely her freshman year) and Maggie scored the first goal against us today,” Dorothy Holt said. “They both came in with fire in their bellies.

“I won’t lie. It’s not easy for me, but I want the best for my kids. (Yarmouth lacrosse) is my other family and they cheer for (Maggie). My kids feel part-Clipper, but when they play against me, they’re full-on.”

Yarmouth needed 3 minutes, 10 seconds to get on the board, but once the first goal came, it turned into an avalanche.

Lowenstein drew the Clippers even, finishing a feed from Teare in transition.

Forty-five seconds later, Lowenstein scored again, unassisted, and Yarmouth had the lead for good.

With 20:24 to go in the half, after an NYA turnover, Anna Thornton passed to Lowenstein, who scored again, her third goal in 86 seconds.

The Panthers would respond, as after sophomore Natalie Farrell hit the post, Reid took a pass from freshman Emma Sharp and finished to cut the deficit to 3-2 with 17:52 to go.

That would prove to be NYA’s highwater mark, however, as the Clippers dominated the rest of the half.

Abi Thornton scored for the first time, beating Panthers sophomore goalie Ally White with an unassisted goal with 16:59 to play in the half.

Junior Ehryn Groothoff (free position) and Anna Thornton (from Groothoff) then scored in a 22-second span to stretch the lead to 6-2.

With 10:22 left in the half, Anna Thornton’s unassisted goal forced NYA coach Molly Climo to call timeout, but it didn’t stem the tide.

With 9:18 to play before halftime, Grondin scored unassisted.

Abi Thornton (from Anna Thornton) added a goal 35 seconds later and with 3:57 on the clock, Abi Thornton’s unassisted tally made it 10-2.

A minute later, Anna Thornton set up Grondin for a goal and with 1:22 remaining, Teare’s unassisted goal put Yarmouth ahead, 12-2, and induced a mercy rule, running clock for the second half.

There wasn’t much action in the second half, as the Panthers tried unsuccessfully to get back in the game when they had the ball, while the Clippers were content to drain the clock when they were on offense.

With 9:49 to play, Teare scored unassisted and that proved to be the final goal as Yarmouth went on to a 13-2 victory.

“At the start of the game, we were a little excited.” Abi Thornton said. “Getting our nerves settled was a big thing. There’s so much talent with our underclassmen. There’s new energy and it’s really fun this year.”

“NYA is getting better and better,” Dorothy Holt said. “They have amazing coaches. We were nervous at the start. Sometimes we get in our heads a little bit. We’re still kind of young. We lost eight starters. The girls are working really hard. Our motto is to take it game by game. We’re working on the whole team contributing game by game.”

Six different Clippers scored goals, as Lowenstein and Abi Thornton each had three, Grondin, Teare and Anna Thornton added two apiece and Groothoff finished with one.

Anna Thornton wound up with three assists, while Groothoff and Teare each had one.

Serrano made five saves.

Yarmouth won 11 of 17 draws, had a 37-27 edge in ground balls (Groothoff, Abi Thornton and Anna Thornton all had a team-high seven), enjoyed a 22-11 shots advantage (18-7 on cage) and overcame 19 turnovers.

NYA got a goal apiece from Maggie Holt and Reid.

Sharp had an assist.

White made five saves.

Senior Helen Hamblett had a game-high eight ground balls.

The Panthers committed 21 turnovers.

“We held our own,” Climo said. “I think we played with them. What got us was our fitness level. We kind of got tired. I was impressed with our girls. Everyone came out and was hungry. I’m pretty proud of that.”

Opportunities to climb

NYA will look to bounce back Wednesday when York pays a visit. The Panthers are at Deering Friday, then play host to Cape Elizabeth and close with games at Wells and Fryeburg Academy.

“The girls are meshing well and are playing well together,” said Climo. “I’m excited for how it’s going and excited for how the rest of the season shakes out. It’s anyone’s game. We’ve got the talent. It’s about showing up ready to play. We have the skills and the focus. We just have to get on the field and show up.”

Yarmouth returns home Tuesday to face St. Dom’s. After traveling to Marshwood, Lake Region and York, the Clippers host Messalonskee, go to Greely, then close with a home game versus Waynflete.

“We’ve got to keep working hard and bring it in practice,” Abi Thornton said. “We have to challenge each other and work as a team. It’s kind of fun this year to be the underdog and prove how good we are to everyone.”

“I would say I’m still playing around with some positions a little bit,” Dorothy Holt said. “I think you’re only as good as your senior leadership and that’s our philosophy here. Our seniors are stepping up on and off the field. I’m really proud of them.

“I don’t like to predict the future. I just want to take it game by game. The end goal is to get to the state final, but we don’t even talk about it.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

NYA freshman Maggie Holt hugs her mother, Yarmouth coach Dorothy Holt, during pregame introductions. Maggie Holt scored the game’s first goal.

Yarmouth sophomore Bela Solari makes a move on NYA freshman Mary Parker.

Recent Yarmouth-NYA results

@ Yarmouth 13 NYA 1

Yarmouth 17 @ NYA 4

Yarmouth 13 @ NYA 3

Yarmouth 15 @ NYA 3 

@ Yarmouth 17 NYA 8
Eastern B semifinals
@ Yarmouth 9 NYA 7 

@ Yarmouth 16 NYA 4

@ Yarmouth 12 NYA 5
Yarmouth 18 @ NYA 9

Yarmouth 16 @ NYA 9
Yarmouth 8 NYA 5
Eastern Class B Final
@ Yarmouth 6 NYA 5

@ Yarmouth 12 NYA 8
Yarmouth 11 @ NYA 6
Eastern Class B Final
@ NYA 9 Yarmouth 5

@ Yarmouth 12 NYA 11 (3 OT)
Eastern Class B Final
NYA 10 @ Yarmouth 7

Yarmouth 9 @ NYA 6
NYA 15 @ Yarmouth 9
Eastern Class B Final
@ NYA 10 Yarmouth 9

@ Yarmouth 7 NYA 3
Yarmouth 10 @ NYA 5
Eastern Class B Final
@ Yarmouth 10 NYA 7

@ Yarmouth 14 NYA 4
Eastern Class B Final
@ Yarmouth 10 NYA 6

@ NYA 21 Yarmouth 15
NYA 11 @ Yarmouth 9
East Region Final
@ NYA 9 Yarmouth 8 (3 OT)

NYA 15 @ Yarmouth 7
@ NYA 8 Yarmouth 5
East Region Final
@ NYA 13 Yarmouth 7

NYA 12 @ Yarmouth 11

@ Yarmouth 12 NYA 5
Yarmouth 14 @ NYA 9