The Richmond Bobcats hold the runner-up plaque after the Class D South girls regional soccer final Wednesday at Don Roux Field in Lewiston. (Joe Phelan / Kennebec Journal)

LEWISTON — In two meetings during the regular season, the Richmond High School girls soccer team were shut out by North Yarmouth Academy, falling to the Panthers by 1-0 and 5-0 scores.

The Bobcats had a third chance at the top-ranked Panthers in Wednesday’s Class D South girls regional final on Don Roux Field at Lewiston High School.

On a crisp night, NYA did it again to second-seeded Richmond, keeping the Bobcats off the scoreboard in a 2-0 victory.

The Panthers (14-2-1) earned the opportunity to defend its 2018 State Class D title and will face Class D North champ Penobscot Valley at Hampden Academy on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Richmond finished 12-4.

Richmond coach Troy Kendrick summed up his team’s season, along with the frustrations of playing a solid NYA squad.

“They play that high line, and we talked and talked and talked about how we could exploit that. But they were just pretty clever back there, just quick. We had a tough time matching up,” said Kendrick, who talked about his Bobcats. “It is a great group of kids. As a teacher and a coach, I just want to see them get better. At the beginning of summer, how we looked to now, we made some nice strides. I can live with that.”

The Panthers scored the only goal they needed with 21:03 left in the first half. NYA received three consecutive corner kicks, with the third finding its way to Michala Wallace, who drove a rising shot into the back of the cage behind Richmond goaltender Liz Johnson for a 1-0 lead.

Richmond’s Bry Shea, left, tries to get past NYA defender Marion Robbins during the Class D South regional final Wednesday at Don Roux Field in Lewiston. (Joe Phelan / Kennebec Journal)

NYA dominated the first 40 minutes, holding an 8-0 edge in shots on goal and a 7-1 advantage on corner kicks. Johnson made six saves and was helped by her crossbar on a shot by Naomi Reischmann, keeping the Bobcats within a goal at the half.

The Bobcats came out with a bit more aggression in the second half. Richmond began

NYA’s Natalie Farrell, left, winds up to shoot as Richmond’s Lindsie Irish chases her during the Class D South regional final Wednesday at Don Roux Field in Lewiston. The Panthers downed the Bobcats, 2-0. (Joe Phelan / Kennebec Journal)

winning one-on-one battles, and shots by Abby Johnson, Bry Shea and Leah Wescott were turned away by NYA keeper Carly Downey.

“We knew that we could, it was just a matter of getting opportunities,” Wescott said. “I thought we worked really hard to settle down and play our game. We created some opportunities in the second half. It was tough getting out of our own heads.”

“We changed our formation a bit because I thought we were getting exploited on the outside defensively, and it ended up that we created some opportunities,” Kendrick said. “It wasn’t like we were knocking the door down, but we were that close to being right there. If we could have tied it up, stranger things have happened.”

NYA had its chances in the second half as well. Liz Johnson dove to stop a sneaky shot by Reischmann just 15 seconds into the frame, and a pair of shots off the crossbar kept it a one-goal contest as the time ticked down.

Reischmann finally iced the game on the cool evening, scoring off a Serena Mower cross with 10:31 left on the clock.

“It helped us relax,” said Reischmann. “We had that one goal, but that second goal gave us that momentum. I hit the crossbar, but you just have to keep trying. At halftime, coach said we couldn’t have any letdowns on defense.”

“They are tough to match up with, and they are so athletic,” Kendrick said of the Panther defense led by Marion Robbins, Angel Huntsmen, Maureen Grant and Madison Argitis. “When we played them down there (at Yarmouth), they whacked us pretty good and pinned us in. We were bogged down in the midfield then and tonight.”

“They are a great team and it just didn’t happen today,” added Wescott. “We tried to keep that pressure up and give them a tough game. This year has been great. We really worked hard and we were happy to be here.”

NYA finished with a 16-4 shot advantage and an 8-1 edge in corner kicks. Liz Johnson turned away 11 shots, while Downey had four saves for the shutout.

 

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