BOX SCORE

Yarmouth 13 Marshwood 10

Y- 2 5 2 4- 13
M- 1 4 2 3- 10

First quarter
11:26 Y Psyhogeos (unassisted)
8:23 Y Fulton (Yeo)
6.4 M Fitzgerald (unassisted)

Second quarter
11:38 Y Senger (unassisted)
10:09 M Fitzgerald (unassisted)
8:21 Y Yeo (unassisted)
5:45 M Fitzgerald (Degrappo) (MAN-UP)
4:48 M Degrappo (K. Cougler)
4:33 Y Psyhogeos (Fulton)
2:24 M T. Cougler (unassisted) (MAN-DOWN)
2:12 Y Marsh (Senger)
1:29 Y Then (unassisted)

Third quarter
11:32 M Maguire (unassisted)
10:04 M K. Cougler (T. Cougler)
4:53 Y Psyhogeos (unassisted)
24.3 Y Fulton (unassisted)

Fourth quarter
11:17 Y Then (Psyhogeos)
7:53 Y Yeo (unassisted)
6:56 Y Psyhogeos (Senger)
6:14 M Maguire (unassisted)
5:07 M Fitzgerald (unassisted)
4:22 Y Psyhogeos (Fulton)
3:19 M Maguire (unassisted)

Goals:
Y- Psyhogeos 5, Fulton, Then, Yeo 2, Marsh, Senger 1
M- Fitzgerald 4, Maguire 3, K. Cougler, T. Cougler, Degrappo 1

Assists:
Y- Fulton, Senger 2, Psyhogeos, Yeo 1
M- K. Cougler, T. Cougler, Degrappo 1

Faceoffs (Yarmouth, 20-7)
Y- Sullivan 20 of 27
M- Goodwin 7 of 27

Ground balls:
Y- 45
M- 27

Turnovers:
Y- 14
M- 23

Shots:
Y- 42
M- 25

Shots on cage:
Y- 30
M- 15

Saves:
Y (Algara) 5
M (Hamblett) 17

PORTLAND—A lot can happen in three weeks.

Make that, a lot of good things can happen.

Yarmouth’s boys’ lacrosse team was mired in a three-game losing streak and had a record of 4-6 heading into the final week of the regular season and the prospect of the Clippers celebrating a state championship seemed dim and distant.

But a mere three weeks later, Yarmouth did that very thing, as it saved its best for last and returned to the pinnacle.

The sixth-ranked Clippers met state game novice Marshwood, the No. 4 seed, in the Class B state final Saturday afternoon at Fitzpatrick Stadium and while it didn’t come easily, in a microcosm of its season, Yarmouth completed its resurgence with strong play down the stretch and wound up the last team standing.

Junior sharpshooter Peter Psyhogeos gave the Clippers an early lead and classmate Steve Fulton added another goal, but just before the horn, the Hawks got a goal from sophomore Declan Fitzgerald to cut the deficit to 2-1 after one period.

Both teams got their offenses going in the second quarter, but Marshwood never could take the lead.

After Yarmouth senior Colin Senger and Fitzgerald traded goals early in the frame, sophomore Aksel Yeo put the Clippers up by two before Fitzgerald scored for the third time and sophomore Sam Degrappo followed with another goal to tie up, 4-4.

Psyhogeos put Yarmouth back in the lead, but sophomore Ty Cougler drew the Hawks even again.

Late in the half, sophomore Killian Marsh and senior Max Then scored and the Clippers took a 7-5 lead to the break.

Marshwood then started fast in the second half, getting goals from senior Sean Maguire and sophomore Kevin Cougler to tie it up again, but with 4:53 to play in the third quarter, Psyhogeos gave Yarmouth the lead for good and Fulton added a goal for a 9-7 advantage heading to the fourth period.

There, Then, Yeo and Psyhogeos scored in succession for some breathing room and while Maguire and Fitzgerald scored to give the Hawks faint hope, Psyhogeos’ final goal put it away and while Maguire scored once more, the Clippers closed it out and prevailed, 13-10.

Psyhogeos led the way with five goals, senior Wyatt Sullivan was sensational in the faceoff circle and Yarmouth finished the year on a six-game surge, wound up 10-6, ended Marshwood’s best-ever season at 12-4 and captured its second Class B title in a row and the program’s sixth all time.

“This feels amazing,” said Senger. “We’ve had this goal the whole year. We wanted to win back-to-back after last year got canceled. We were reigning champs and wanted to keep it that way.”

A long and winding road

Yarmouth won its first title in a decade in 2019 and would have contended again last spring, had there been a season.

The Clippers then experienced a little of everything this season, their first under coach/former standout player Jon Miller, who his assisted by his brother, Sam Miller, another former program standout.

Yarmouth started with an 8-5 win at Greely in a rematch of the 2019 state final, then was humbled at eventual undefeated Class A champion Cape Elizabeth, 18-3. After narrow home wins over North Yarmouth Academy (8-7) and Brunswick (11-9), the Clippers lost at home to Greely (7-5) and eventual Class C champion Waynflete (6-5). Yarmouth rebounded with an 11-2 victory at Freeport, then lost at home to Cape Elizabeth (15-1), at Kennebunk (4-3) and at home to two-time reigning Class A champion Thornton Academy (10-7). The Clippers then hit their stride at the most ideal time, closing with victories at Falmouth (11-9) and at home over York (15-10) to wind up sixth in Class B.

“Shooting turned it around for us,” Miller said. “Simply put, our offensive guys were struggling. We changed our formation and our man-up. That (Falmouth) win was huge for our confidence. The way we were going, it looked like we should lose to them, but picking up that win changed the mentality of our entire team.”

The Clippers dominated No. 11 Brewer in the state preliminary round, 20-0, then rolled at No. 3 Mt. Blue, 16-2, in the quarterfinals before racing to a big early lead and beating No. 10 Greely in Wednesday’s state semifinals, 9-4.

“We just worked hard in practice and the further we got in the season, the more we clicked,” Psyhogeos said. “The defense was good the entire year. It was really on the offense to pick it up. We got hot at the right time and kept it going through the playoffs. We switched a few things around in practice. It was really just getting reps and gaining confidence and trusting our teammates.”

Marshwood, meanwhile, lost twice to Class A power Berwick Academy and once to York, but won its other nine games to earn the No. 4 seed for the Class B playoffs.

The Hawks then eliminated No. 13 Cony, 21-7, in the state preliminary round, ousted No. 5 Kennebunk, 10-5, in the quarterfinals and downed No. 1 Messalonskee, 12-4, in Wednesday’s semifinal round.

Yarmouth beat Marshwood in the teams’ lone prior playoff meeting, 12-8, in the 2000 state quarterfinals.

While the Hawks were appearing the state final for the first time, the Clippers were playing in their 14th (see sidebar for previous results).

Saturday, on a sizzling afternoon (79 degrees at the start) Yarmouth won another title, but Marshwood didn’t make it easy.

Just 34 seconds in, Psyhogeos got the Clippers started with an unassisted goal.

After Marsh had a shot saved by Hawks sophomore goalie Silas Hamblett and Yarmouth junior goalie Simon Algara denied Kevin Cougler, Fulton finished a feed from Yeo for a 2-0 advantage with 8:23 to play in the first quarter.

Despite some great chances, the Clippers wouldn’t score again in the quarter.

After Algara denied junior Andrew Goodwin, Psyhogeos had a shot saved by Hamblett, Marsh hit the post and senior Cole Adams-Beyea was robbed by Hamblett.

Marshwood finally got its offense going with 6.4 seconds remaining, as Fitzgerald scored unassisted to make it a 2-1 game heading to the second period.

As it did in the first quarter, Yarmouth started fast in the second as well, as just 22 seconds in, after forcing a turnover, Senger got the ball, raced in and scored for a 3-1 lead.

Fitzgerald scored for a second time with 10:09 left, but Yeo answered unassisted with 8:21 remaining for a 4-2 advantage.

The Hawks went man-up with 6:17 to go in the half and took advantage 32 seconds later, as Degrappo set up Fitzgerald for the goal.

Degrappo then tied it with 4:48 left, as Kevin Cougler set him up in transition.

The tie lasted only 15 seconds, as Sullivan won the faceoff, got the ball to Fulton and Fulton set up Psyhogeos for a 5-4 lead.

After Hamblett denied Psyhogeos, sophomore Ben Moll and Marsh, Marshwood tied the score again, as Ty Cougler finished man-down.

The Clippers closed strong, however, as Senger set up Marsh for the go-ahead goal with 2:12 on the clock and 43 seconds later, Then scored his first goal, unassisted, for a 7-5 halftime advantage.

In the first half, Sullivan won 12 of 14 faceoffs, Yarmouth had a big edge in ground balls and enjoyed a 27-16 shots advantage, but Hamblett’s 10 saves helped keep the game close.

And it would remain close in the second half.

It would be the Hawks starting fast in the third period, as just 28 seconds in, Maguire scored unassisted.

After Hamblett denied Fulton, Marshwood took off in transition and Ty Cougler found Kevin Cougler for the goal that tied it one final time, 7-7.

Then, it would be Psyhogeos putting the Clippers ahead to stay, weaving through the defense and finishing unassisted with 4:53 remaining in the third.

After Hamblett robbed Psyhogeos, Fulton scored unassisted with 24.3 seconds left and Yarmouth took a 9-7 advantage to the final stanza.

There, the Clippers salted away another championship.

Yarmouth got some breathing room just 43 seconds in, as Psyhogeos set up Then.

After Kevin Cougler missed wide for Marshwood, Yeo bounced home a shot with 7:33 remaining.

Thirty-seven seconds later, in transition, Senger fed Psyhogeos for the apparent dagger.

But the Hawks weren’t quite done yet, pulling within four on a Maguire unassisted goal with 6:14 to play (ending a 15-minute, 50-second scoring drought in the process), then making it 12-9 when Fitzgerald scored unassisted with 5:07 to go.

But 45 seconds later, Fulton set up Psyhogeos for a backbreaking goal.

Maguire scored one final goal, unassisted, with 3:19 left, but Marshwood never got another look and at 2:19 p.m., the horn sounded and the Clippers got to celebrate their 13-10 victory.

“We didn’t know much about (Marshwood), so we just wanted to play our game,” said Psyhogeos. “We stuck to our game plan. We knew if we worked hard and played our best, we could win. Lacrosse is a game of runs. We had to battle through their runs and come back with our own and I think we did a good job of that. We felt like we were still defending champs and we wanted to win it again.”

“We know what it’s like to win at Fitzy, so we kept grinding,” Senger said. “We had ups and downs, but we started clicking at the end of the year which is what you want. We didn’t know much about (Marshwood), but we knew if we played our game we’d be fine. Our defense stayed strong. We held them when we needed to. Our goal is to keep them under 10 and score more than 10. The offense executed and we won.”

“We’ve grown as a team as the year progressed,” said Sullivan. “We played more as a team and not individuals. That helped us get to where we are today. Most teams don’t even get to come (to states), so to get the opportunity to come and win twice is just amazing.”

“We had some rough patches, but I’m extremely proud of the boys,” Miller added. “They deserve credit for figuring out what was wrong in the middle of the season and getting better every single day. They earned this one today. The guys were confident. We had good vibes. That’s important for a championship game.

“I expected a game like this. We scouted them and we knew they’d bring it. We had consistency throughout the whole game. It was a battle. We were able to prevent them from taking the momentum. They’d get a couple goals and we rebounded.

“This means a lot for the boys. It’s good for our youth to see. It’s huge for the program. I got guys texting me who live across the country. Guys I didn’t think cared any more. That was pretty cool.”

Psyhogeos capped his prolific scoring season with five goals and an assist.

“My teammates did a really good job looking up and finding me,” Psyhogeos said. “They had their heads up on cuts and got me the ball in good places where I could finish.”

Fulton, Then and Yeo all added two goals, while Marsh and Senger each finished with one.

Fulton and Senger also had two assists, while Yeo added one.

Algara made five saves.

Sullivan dazzled, winning 20 of 27 faceoffs.

“I feel this year we started to click with our wings, playing as a unit and that helped win faceoffs,” Sullivan said. “I can’t win it forward every time. If I can’t, I have two guys on the wing who can get the ball, get it down to the offense and we’re in business.”

“Wyatt’s great,” Senger said. “He knows exactly where to put the ball. It was huge for us to keep getting possession.”

“Wyatt was amazing,” Miller added. “Winning faceoffs is so important in lacrosse. He faced off in big games as a freshman, he faced off here two years ago. He’s just a ground ball machine.”

The Clippers had a commanding 45-27 edge in ground balls (Sullivan had a game-high 10, Senger collected eight and Fulton finished with seven), out-shot the Hawks, 42-25 (30-15 on cage) and only turned the ball over 14 times.

They’ll be back

Marshwood’s offense was led by Fitzgerald, who scored four times. Maguire added three goals, while Kevin Cougler, Ty Cougler and Degrappo all scored once.

Kevin Cougler, Ty Cougler and Degrappo each had one assist.

Hamblett was impressive with 17 saves.

Goodwin had a team-high five ground balls.

The Hawks turned the ball over 23 times.

“I think since we’re not in the Portland area, everyone looks at us as this little lacrosse program that doesn’t really do too much, but we went through some great teams (in the playoffs),” Maguire said.

“The kids gave it everything they had and unfortunately we didn’t have the horses to compete with these guys all the way through for the whole game,” said Marshwood coach Ralph Ruocco, who is retiring from coaching. “They have some great players on that side and we just tired out.”

Going for three

Yarmouth, which is expected to move up to Class A in 2022, hopes to keep the good times rolling, but it certainly won’t be easy.

The Clippers have to say goodbye to several standout seniors who got the program back to the pinnacle.

“My freshman year, some of the older guys taught me what it’s like to work hard in practice and that helped me a lot,” said Psyhogeos.

Yarmouth will return plenty of talent and now that it’s accustomed to celebrations at Fitzpatrick Stadium, will be tough to deny.

“We have some good underclassmen and I think we can make another good run next year,” Psyhogeos said.

“We should be in good shape next year,” Miller said. “We have guys we relied on today who will be here next year.”

Press Herald staff writer Steve Craig contributed to this story.

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

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