YARMOUTH—To say the North Yarmouth Academy/Waynflete co-op field hockey team is happy to be back in action this fall would be a major understatement.

After not fielding a competitive team in 2020, NYA/Waynflete is back this season and is suddenly hitting its stride.

Which is bad news for the opposition.

Friday afternoon at Lewis Field, NYA/Waynflete welcomed Traip Academy but wasn’t exactly a gracious host, scoring four times before the game was 13 minutes old.

First period goals from senior Emily Kalinich, sophomore Tilsley Kelly and a pair from senior captain Emilia McKenney produced an insurmountable 4-0 lead.

After not scoring in the second period, NYA/Waynflete struck again in the third period, as Kalinich scored for the second time.

NYA/Waynflete didn’t allow a shot for the entire game and went on to a 5-0 victory.

NYA/Waynflete is now 3-2 on the season and in the process, dropped the Rangers to 0-5.

“It feels so good to be back,” said McKenney. “It’s awesome. We did practice four days a week last year. It was better than nothing but not like this. We spent a lot of time in preseason just building back our skills. (The co-op’s) actually going awesome. The girls all love each other.”

On the rise

North Yarmouth Academy was a dominant stand-alone program for years, but numbers were long been an issue for the Panthers. The schools first teamed up a year ago, but opted not to play competitive games, instead practicing and scrimmaging among themselves.

NYA/Waynflete dropped its first two outings this fall, 3-1 to visiting St. Dom’s and 2-1 to visiting Greely, before downing host Wells and Sacopee Valley by 3-1 scores earlier this week.

Traip Academy dropped its first four outings.

NYA won both meetings in 2019, 8-0 and 5-0.

Friday, on a cloudy but otherwise pleasant 68-degree afternoon, NYA/Waynflete made quick work of the Rangers.

McKenney threatened to break the ice in the first minute, but Rangers freshman goalie Charlotte Masse made the save.

NYA/Waynflete then broke through with 13:31 to go in the 15-minute opening stanza, as senior Joely Kassel set up Kalinich for a shot that Masse couldn’t stop.

“Emily does a great job on the forward line,” said NYA/Waynflete coach Annika King. “She sees positioning well and is ball-hungry always.”

The second goal came with 9:20 left in the frame, as Kelly took a pass from Kalinich, then scored out of a scrum to make it 2-0.

McKenney got in on the fun with 3:17 remaining, scoring in traffic.

She added a second goal, and her team’s fourth, 51 seconds later, firing a shot just inside the far post for a commanding 4-0 advantage.

“A fast start was really important,” McKenney said. “It set the tone. We had a great game from then on.”

“Emilia brings great energy,” King said. “She’s sees the field really nicely and sees the best opportunities.”

NYA/Waynflete senior Libby Dakers battles Traip Academy sophomore Isabell Satenstein for possession during Friday’s 5-0 victory. Hoffer photo.

NYA/Waynflete wasn’t able to add to its lead in the second period, but just over a minute into the third quarter, Kalinich scored for the second time, unassisted, after a failed clear, to make it 5-0.

NYA/Waynflete didn’t score again, but its defense didn’t allow Traip Academy to get the ball into the circle, not to mention fire a shot, and it wasn’t long before the squad was able to celebrate its 5-0 win.

“We found the energy we needed to keep things going,” McKenney said. “When we’re not really excited, we don’t play that well, but today, we were excited to be here and it kept our energy up.”

“It is great to be back this year,” King said. “It’s been awhile since we were competitive. We’re still a new co-op, so we’re working through the components of bringing two schools together. Having all these Waynflete kids helps with numbers. It’s the biggest group I’ve had in my time. Things are going great. We have a nice group offensively and defensively. We have a great mix.”

NYA/Waynflete finished with a 14-0 shots advantage and an 8-0 edge in penalty corners. Goalie Jane Livingston didn’t see a shot.

Traip Academy got nine saves from Masse.

Continued improvement

NYA/Waynflete is idle until Thursday of next week when it goes to St. Dom’s.

“We just want to make it to playoffs and see what happens from there,” said McKenney. “We just need to work on talking more. Our spacing is getting better. We still need bigger, stronger hits.”

“I think our goal is to make sure we have proper positioning on the field and to keep having fun,” King said.

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

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