Waynflete senior Abby Shumway plays the ball while NYA junior Jazzy Huntsman defends. Shumway would score the Flyers’ lone goal, but Huntsman’s tally, with 3:58 left, gave the Panthers a 2-1 victory. More photos below. Hoffer photos

YARMOUTH—North Yarmouth Academy’s girls’ soccer team is the two-time defending Class D state champion and with that comes an abundance of pride.

While the Panthers won’t get a chance to go for a third consecutive title this fall, due to the shortening of the season and cancellation of the postseason due to COVID-19, they still have a lot to play for and they relied on their championship heart Friday afternoon at Lewis Field to rally and shock longtime rival Waynflete.

Under beautiful, sunny skies, the first countable game played in Maine High School sports in over seven months proved to be memorable and for NYA, victorious, thanks to some second half heroics from sisters Angel and Jasmine “Jazzy” Huntsman.

After an even, scoreless first half, the Flyers struck first, less than five minutes into the second half, when senior Abby Shumway finished a beautiful cross from sophomore Lucy Sarno.

But that goal awakened the Panthers and with 25:40 to play, after a foul in the box, the hosts earned a penalty kick and Angel Huntsman, a sophomore, delivered, tying the score.

NYA had the better of play the rest of the way and with just 3:58 left, Angel Huntsman sent the ball into the box where Jazzy Huntsman, a junior, got her foot on to it and fired it into the net.

The Panthers held on from there and opened their season with a 2-1 victory.

“We picked it up in the second half,” said Jazzy Huntsman. “We’ve worked on conditioning and we needed it. Waynflete’s a good team. We’re here to play for the NYA name. We have a lot of pride. We want to show everyone what we’ve got.”

A return to normalcy

After multiple fits and starts, the Flyers and Panthers took part in a countable game some three weeks later than originally scheduled.

NYA won its second straight Class D state title a year ago, beating Penobscot Valley, 1-0, in the final to wind up 16-2.

Waynflete, meanwhile, one year removed from missing the playoffs for the first time since 1991, got back to the postseason last fall and even won a preliminary round contest, 1-0, over Oak Hill, before a 1-0 loss to Maranacook in the Class C South quarterfinals left the Flyers 3-10-3.

The teams have played a lot of close games over the years (see sidebar, below) and split two meetings a year ago, each prevailing at home. Waynflete eked out a 1-0 decision, while NYA prevailed, 3-2.

Friday, under gorgeous late-September skies (66 degrees at kickoff), the Flyers sought their first win in Yarmouth since 2015, but despite doing some solid things, couldn’t hold the lead as the Panthers wouldn’t be denied.

After a Senior Day ceremony (NYA’s seniors’ parents were the only spectators allowed at the game), scoring chances were few in the first half.

NYA had a good look to go up in the 11th minute, but sophomore Vy Tran’s shot was saved by diving Waynflete junior goalkeeper Jesse Connors.

Later in the half, after a hydration/sanitation break, the Flyers went on the offensive, but sophomore Iris Stutzman missed just high and Sarno and senior Kilee Sherry each had shots saved by Panthers’ senior goalkeeper Hannah Kenney.

With 4:59 left in the half, NYA senior Natalie Farrell had a good bid, but it sailed just high and wide and the game went to the break still scoreless.

Waynflete had a 3-2 edge in shots in frame in the first half, while the Panthers took two corner kicks to the Flyers’ one.

Each team’s offense showed up in the second half.

After Kenney denied Sherry’s low shot, the visitors struck with 35:32 remaining.

Sarno set up the goal with a run up the right side. She crossed the ball in front, right to Shumway and Shumway one-touched it past Kenney and into the goal for a 1-0 lead.

That goal awakened NYA, which answered like champions.

After junior Rylie McIntyre just missed on a couple bids, Connors swatted away sophomore Erin Reed’s shot, then made a save in front off the foot of freshman Hayden Wienckowski.

Then, with 25:40 left in regulation, NYA drew even after a foul was called in the box.

Panthers coach Ricky Doyon called on Angel Huntsman to do the honors and she struck the ball hard into the left corner of the goal, past Connors, who guessed correctly to her right, but couldn’t reach the ball.

NYA 1 Waynflete 1

“I’m not the best shooter, but Coach knew I was confident,” Huntsman said. “I was thinking left corner and that’s where I put it. I hit it the way I wanted to.”

“Angel had a great shot and I knew momentum was our side,” Doyon said. “Once we get one (goal), we look for more.”

NYA sophomore Angel Huntsman beats Waynflete junior goalkeeper Jesse Connors with a penalty kick to tie the score in the second half.

Energized, the Panthers kept the pressure on and eventually were rewarded.

After Sherry had to leave the game with a leg injury, the Flyers’ offense was bottled up, allowing NYA to control possession.

After Connors denied both Wienckowski and Angel Huntsman, the hosts remained on the attack and with 3:58 to play, Angel Huntsman’s cross into the box came to her sister and Jazzy Huntsman booted the ball home for a 2-1 lead.

“I saw (the ball) coming across and I just thought, ‘Get it in the net,'” said Jazzy Huntsman. “I thought Rylie would get it, but it got past her knee and I just focused on hitting it into the net. I just wanted to get my foot on it. It felt great.”

“Once we tied it, I knew a second goal would come. I just didn’t know it would come from my sister,” Angel Huntsman said.

Waynflete made one final attempt at an offensive foray, but promising freshman Morgan Earls’ rush was broken up by NYA junior Eliza Chace and the Panthers ran out the clock on their 2-1 victory.

NYA senior goalkeeper Hannah Kenney is congratulated by junior Maggie Holt, left, junior Marion Robbins and sophomore Michala Wallace at the final horn.

“It was awesome to play a game,” said Angel Huntsman. “I didn’t think we’d have a season. It was a great day to play.”

“It’s amazing to be out here,” said Doyon. “I feel badly for teams in York and Oxford Counties who don’t have the opportunity we do to come out and play. You could see in both teams’ faces, they wanted to be out here and have some normalcy. This is always a battle. Waynflete moved the ball really well compared to the past couple years. They’re more finesse and did a good job. They took our normal pressure and used that against us. We needed a few adjustments.”

NYA finished with a 9-5 shots advantage, a 7-1 edge in corners and got four saves from Kenney.

Waynflete, which got seven saves from Connors, showed a lot of promise, even in defeat.

“We’ve been one of the lucky teams who have been able to hold social distance sessions since June, footwork-only, and we were pumped to be out here today,” said Carrie Earls, who co-coaches the Flyers along with George Sherry. “We’re definitely a young team. Holding on to a lead is something we have to work on. When we gave up that PK, it felt like the wind came out of our sails. (The winning goal) was a beautiful cross and a beautiful finish. Great composure to put that in the back of the net.”

Next time out

Waynflete returns to action Saturday, Oct. 3 at home versus Deering.

“We’ll get there,” Carrie Earls said. “We have to play the early ball, take a touch less, and find our speedy forwards. We’re playing for growth. This is preparation for next year for our younger kids, but we have seniors who want to win games. They’re all athletes and they want to be out here competing.”

NYA stays home to meet Morse Wednesday of next week.

“We have a lot of pride,” said Doyon. “It’s just my job to help them get to where they want to be. It’s a great group. We’re having fun. Every game, we play like it’s our last, because we don’t know what might happen.”

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

Recent NYA-Waynflete results

2019
@ Waynflete 1 NYA 0
@ NYA 3 Waynflete 2

2018
@ NYA 2 Waynflete 1
@ Waynflete 1 NYA 0

2017
@ Waynflete 9 NYA 0

2015
@ Waynflete 7 NYA 0
Waynflete 2 @ NYA 0

2014
Waynflete 3 @ NYA 0
@ Waynflete 3 NYA 0

2013
@ NYA 1 Waynflete 1 (tie)
@ Waynflete 6 NYA 1

2012
@ Waynflete 2 NYA 0
Waynflete 3 @ NYA 0

2011
@ Waynflete 8 NYA 0
Waynflete 6 @ NYA 0

2010
@ Waynflete 4 NYA 1
@ NYA 0 Waynflete 0 (tie)

2009
@ Waynflete 1 NYA 0 (2 OT)
@ NYA 4 Waynflete 0
Western C quarterfinals
@ Waynflete 2 NYA 1

2008
Waynflete 4 @ NYA 0
Western C Final
@ Waynflete 2 NYA 0

2007
@ Waynflete 3 NYA 1
Western C Final
NYA 1 @ Waynflete 0 (OT)

2006
NYA 4 @ Waynflete 0
@ NYA 5 Waynflete 2
Western C Final
@ NYA 1 Waynflete 0

2005
Waynflete 2 @ NYA 1
NYA 2 @ Waynflete 1
Western C semifinals
NYA 3 @ Waynflete 1

2004
@ Waynflete 1 NYA 1 (tie)
@ NYA 2 Waynflete 0

2003
@ NYA 2 Waynflete 1
NYA 2 @ Waynflete 0

2002
Waynflete 5 @ NYA 2
@ Waynflete 0 NYA 0 (tie)

2001
Waynflete 2 @ NYA 0

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