Yarmouth senior Abi Thornton shoots and scores one of her four goals past Biddeford senior goalie Ella Mckenzie during the Clippers’ 11-6 win in Tuesday’s Class B girls’ lacrosse state semifinal. Yarmouth will meet Cape Elizabeth in a state game rematch Friday night.

Photos courtesy Maureen Grandmaison Photography.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Class B state semifinal

Yarmouth 11 Biddeford 6

B- 5 1- 6
Y- 6 5- 11

First half
23:36 Y D’Appolonia (Grant)
22:56 B Allen (free position)
19:05 B Reissfelder (Laverriere)
16:43 Y Grant (free position)
16:13 Y Abi Thornton (unassisted)
14:33 B Mourmouras (unassisted)
5:46 Y D’Appolonia (Grant)
4:52 B Allen (free position)
3:48 Y Anna Thornton (unassisted)
1:16 Y Groothoff (Martson)
41.5 B Mourmouras (Laverriere)

Second half
21:20 Y Groothoff (Grondin)
18:53 Y Anna Thornton (Groothoff)
12:47 Y Abi Thornton (Grondin)
12:11 Y Abi Thornton (unassisted)
10:18 B Allen (unassisted)
2:27 Y Abi Thornton (unassisted)

Goals:
B- Allen 3, Mourmouras 2, Reissfelder 1
Y- Abi Thornton 4, D’Appolonia, Groothoff, Anna Thornton 2, Grant 1

Assists:
B- Laverriere 2
Y- Grant, Grondin 2, Groothoff, Marston

Draws (Biddeford, 11-8)
B- Allen 6 of 9, Laverriere 5 of 8, Mourmouras 0 of 2
Y-Groothoff 5 of 11, Grondin 3 of 8

Ground balls:
B- 20
Y- 40

Turnovers:
B- 13
Y- 9

Shots:
B- 18
Y- 28

Shots on cage:
B- 11
Y- 21

Saves:
B (Mckenzie) 10
Y (Serrano) 5

YARMOUTH—Yarmouth’s girls’ lacrosse team received its first serious test in weeks when unheralded Biddeford paid the Clippers a visit Tuesday afternoon in a Class B state semifinal, but with an opportunity to play for an elusive state title hanging in the balance, Yarmouth carried play in the second half and advanced.

The top-ranked Clippers found out quickly that the fourth-seeded Tigers were legit, as Biddeford gave them everything they could handle in a back-and-forth first half which featured four ties, two lead changes and ended with Yarmouth clinging to a 6-5 lead.

But once the second half began, the Clippers controlled possession and thanks to three goals from senior Abi Thornton, finally got some breathing room and went on to an 11-6 victory. 

Thornton led the way with four goals and Yarmouth won its 12th game in a row, improved to 13-1, ended Biddeford’s best-ever season at 11-3 and advanced to the Class B state final for the seventh straight year where it will battle defending champion Cape Elizabeth (12-2) Friday at 7:40 p.m., at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

“I knew (Biddeford would) be tough,” said longtime Clippers coach Dorothy Holt. “What you don’t know can be scary. This was so good for us. We needed a good game and this took us to the next level. I credit (Biddeford). They played really well.” 

Getting closer

Yarmouth’s last three seasons have ended with state game setbacks, including last year’s agonizing 12-11 overtime setback to Cape Elizabeth.

The 2019 Clippers were expected to take some time to hit their stride, but other than a one-goal home loss to Massabesic, Yarmouth was dominant, winning its other 11 games to lock up the top seed in Class B (see sidebar, below, for links to previous game stories).

The Clippers made quick work of No. 9 Mt. Ararat in Friday’s quarterfinal round, winning, 12-1.

Biddeford entered in the midst of the finest season in its nine-year varsity history. The Tigers were 10-2 in the regular year, losing only at home to defending Class A champion Falmouth (10-2) and at home by a goal to rival Thornton Academy (10-9). As the No. 4 seed in Class B, Biddeford hosted No. 5 Gardiner/Hall-Dale in the quarterfinals and rolled, 18-2, behind senior standout Paige Laverriere’s eight goals.

The teams didn’t meet this season and had no playoff history.

Tuesday, Yarmouth got pushed, but pushed back and found a way to advance.

The Tigers served notice right out the gate that they belonged, as Laverriere won the opening draw and junior Megan Mourmouras got the ball in front, but her shot was denied by senior goalie Izzy Serrano.

The Clippers then went on the attack and broke the ice with 23:36 left in the first half, as freshman Katelyn D’Appolonia finished a feed from senior Hannah Grant and beat Biddeford senior goalie Ella Mckenzie for a 1-0 lead.

Biddeford drew even on a free position goal from sophomore Abby Allen 40 seconds later and after Mckenzie denied Abi Thornton, the Tigers went on top for the only time with 19:05 on the clock, as Laverriere passed to senior Brooke Reissfelder, who finished.

Mckenzie then denied Yarmouth sophomore Annie Lowenstein, but Grant tied the score with a free position with 16:43 left in the half.

The Clippers retook the lead 30 seconds later, as Abi Thornton scored for the first time, unassisted.

Undaunted, Biddeford answered with 14:33 remaining before halftime, as Mourmouras scored unassisted, the 100th point of her career.

“Megan is a leader and I’m glad she’s a junior so we get her back,” said Tigers coach Caitlin Albert. “She rose to the occasion.”

After Mckenzie preserved the tie with a save on a shot by senior Kyaira Grondin and junior Ehryn Groothoff missed wide, the Tigers had a chance to retake the lead when Allen earned a free position, but Serrano made the save.

With 5:46 to go in the half, in transition, Grant fired a perfect pass to D’Appolonia in front, who made a nice catch before firing past Mckenzie to put Yarmouth back in the lead.

Fifty-four seconds later, Biddeford tied the game again, as Allen scored on a free position, but with 3:48 remaining, sophomore Anna Thornton’s unassisted tally put the Clippers ahead for good.

After Serrano denied Mourmouras twice, Groothoff (from sophomore Maddie Marston) scored for a two-goal advantage with 1:16 left in the half, but with 41.5 seconds to go, Laverriere set up Mourmouras for a goal which made it 6-5 Yarmouth at halftime.

In the first half, the Tigers had an 8-4 edge in draws and a 12-11 advantage in shots.

The Clippers would then put it all together in the second half.

Early on, Mckenzie robbed Groothoff and D’Appolonia and Mourmouras hit the post, but with 20:20 left, Grondin set up Groothoff for a goal and Yarmouth had a 7-5 lead.

After Abi Thornton hit the post, Anna Thornton scored off a feed from Groothoff for a three-goal advantage with 18:53 to play.

Albert called timeout in an attempt to turn the tide, but it didn’t work, as Abi Thornton took a pass from Grondin and scored with 12:47 remaining and 36 seconds later, Abi Thornton scored again, unassisted, to end all doubt.

The Tigers scored one final goal with 10:18 on the clock, as Allen scored unassisted, bu with 2:27 to go, Abi Thornton’s final goal, unassisted, brought the curtain down on Yarmouth’s 11-6 victory.

“We saw the competition in the first half and we wanted to match it, so we went hard and worked together and got it clicking in the second half,” Abi Thornton said. “We had more possession, so we had more time to settle in. I was able to see holes to go through. Everyone saw the cutters and the cage better. It was nice to see us click and get into the mindset to go to goal.”

“(Biddeford) came out ready and we came out a little flat,” Holt said. “Ehryn and Kyaira did a nice job on the draw. Izzy made some big saves. Our attack stepped up. Defensively, (junior) Avery (May), (senior) Isabel (Brennan), Maddie and (junior) Jane (Fulton) came up with caused turnovers left and right and gave the attack confidence to go to goal and take care of business. In the end, our conditioning paid off. My girls can run all day long. We were rushing too much in the first half and turning the ball over. We just needed to take care of the ball and that’s what we did in the second half.”

Five different Clippers tickled the twine, as Abi Thornton had four goals, D’Appolonia, Groothoff and Anna Thornton added two apiece and Grant had one.

Grant and Grondin each had two assists, while Groothoff and Marston finished with one each.

Serrano made five saves.

The Clippers won the ground ball battle, 40-20 (Groothoff and Anna Thornton each had a game-high seven and D’Appolonia collected six), had a 28-18 edge in shots (21-11 on cage) and only committed nine turnovers.

Something to build on

Biddeford’s offense was paced by Allen, who had three goals. Mourmouras added two goals and Reissfelder had one.

Laverriere had a pair of assists.

McKenzie made 10 saves.

Allen and Mourmouras led the team with five ground balls apiece.

The Tigers won 11 of 19 draws and only committed 13 turnovers.

“I told the girls they should be very proud,” Albert said. “We tried our best. We tried to be smart with the ball. We knew to have a chance against Yarmouth, we couldn’t be risky. They got a couple goals on us and we started second-guessing what we were doing. It was hard for us to keep composure. We stayed with them to the end. They’re a great team.”

Biddeford set a new program benchmark this year and set the stage for future success.

“We’ve accomplished a lot because of our seniors,” Albert said. “They were such good leaders. They’ve come ready to work hard. As coaches, we’re grateful and lucky. My goal is always to be better than the year before and it’s getting harder. I think we’re going back to Class A next year and hopefully, we’ll play a different schedule. Hopefully the girls remember what it’s like to be here and will want to put in the hard work.”

State Championship Friday

Yarmouth’s previous state game appearances occurred on a Saturday, which the exception of 2002, when the Clippers beat Kennebunk on a Monday, due to a weather delay.

This spring, Yarmouth will go to Fitzpatrick Stadium on a Friday, where the Clippers will look forward to avenging last year’s setback.

Yarmouth beat the visiting Capers, 14-11, May 8 and are 2-1 all-time in the postseason versus Cape Elizabeth.

“This will help us,” Abi Thornton said. “In previous years, we hadn’t seen this kind of competition in a semifinal game. This was really good for us. We have to push hard in practice and not lose sight of what we want. It’s anyone’s game.”

“To flip the script we have play Yarmouth lacrosse,” Holt said. “We have to take care of the ball, stay calm and patient, get ground balls and communicate on offense and defense. If we do, it will go our way. Our coaching is done. Now, the girls have to take it over. They know what to do, but we’ll be going up against a great team.”

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

Yarmouth senior Hannah Grant is chased by Biddeford sophomore Ashjan Abdulsalam.

Despite the defensive efforts of Yarmouth sophomore Natalie Teare (4), junior Avery May (20) and senior goalie Izzy Serrano, Biddeford junior Megan Mourmouras scores a first half goal.

Yarmouth junior Ehryn Groothoff races up the field as Biddeford senior Paige Laverriere gives chase.

Yarmouth senior Abi Thornton gets past Biddeford senior Grace Boisvert.

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