BOX SCORE

Yarmouth 20 Cheverus 10

C- 4 6- 10
Y- 8 12- 20

First half
21:40 Y D’Appolonia (Powers)
21:26 Y D’Appolonia (unassisted)
21:07 C Ackerly (O’Mara)
19:14 Y Powers (Carnes)
18:19 Y Panozzo (free position)
16:41 Y Panozzo (D’Appolonia)
15:44 Y Carnes (Keaney)
13:05 C St. John (free position)
7:14 Y D’Appolonia (Powers)
7:04 C O’Mara (unassisted)
4:10 C Johnson (unassisted)
1:27 Y D’Appolonia (free position)

Second half
24:45 C O’Mara (unassisted)
24:33 Y Carnes (unassisted)
23:53 Y Powers (free position)
23:13 Y Powers (unassisted)
22:22 C Belanger (unassisted)
20:33 Y Powers (free position)
20:19 Y D’Appolonia (unassisted)
19:45 Y Keaney (free position)
18:15 Y D’Appolonia (free position)
17:09 C Belanger (O’Mara)
16:18 C Cash (free position)
14:13 Y D’Appolonia (unassisted)
11:51 Y D’Appolonia (Powers)
10:37 Y Powers (unassisted)
9:31 C O’Mara (St. John)
6:40 Y D’Appolonia (Powers)
5:22 Y D’Appolonia (unassisted)
3:40 C Johnson (unassisted)

Goals:
C- O’Mara 3, Belanger, Johnson 2, Ackerly, Cash, St. John 1
Y- D’Appolonia 10, Powers 5, Carnes, Panozzo 2, Keaney 1

Assists:
C- O’Mara 2, St. John 1
Y- Powers 4, Carnes, D’Appolonia, Keaney 1

Draws (Cheverus, 18-14)
C- O’Mara 18 of 29, Belanger 0 of 3
Y- Keaney 9 of 17, Powers 5 of 15

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Ground balls:
C- 30
Y- 35

Turnovers:
C- 23
Y- 11

Shots:
C- 17
Y- 32

Shots on cage:
C- 16
Y- 29

Saves:
C (Cooney) 9
Y (Meas) 6

YARMOUTH—Katelyn D’Appolonia keeps raising the bar.

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Which is pretty hard to fathom, considering how stratospherically sensational she’s been during her senior season.

Saturday evening, D’Appolonia’s Yarmouth Clippers, the No. 1 seed in Class A North girls’ lacrosse, hosted dangerous No. 5 Cheverus in an intriguing semifinal round showdown and D’Appolonia, who earlier this season eclipsed the 100-goal mark for her career, produced her biggest highlight in a season chock full of them.

D’Appolonia scored the game’s first two goals and had four in the first half, as the Clippers raced to a 6-1 lead and were up, 8-4, at halftime.

But the Stags have a pretty special player of their own, senior Riley O’Mara, who scored just 15 seconds into the second half to allow her team to entertain upset dreams.

Those were quickly dashed, however, as Yarmouth scored seven of the next eight goals to break it open and D’Appolonia scored six times in second half, helping the Clippers go on to a 20-10 victory.

D’Appolonia scored a career-high 10 goals, which is likely an all-time high for one of the state’s most storied programs, and Yarmouth won its ninth game in a row, improved to 11-3, ended Cheverus’ fine season at 9-5 and advanced to set up a scintillating Class A North Final showdown against No. 2 Falmouth (11-3) Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

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“I think just knowing every game can be my last at this point really pushes me to play as hard as I can for the whole game,” said D’Appolonia, who will play lacrosse next year at the University of Colorado.

Just getting better

Yarmouth, which won the Class B state title, then was hit hard by graduation a year ago before moving up in class this spring, was just 2-3 after back-to-back home losses to Kennebunk and Greely, but the Clippers haven’t lost since and their seven-game win streak to end the regular season allowed them to leapfrog Falmouth and finish first in Class A North. Yarmouth then eliminated No. 9 Portland, 15-3, in Thursday’s quarterfinal round.

Cheverus made great strides this season, improving from two wins last spring to eight. The Stags advanced by virtue of a 14-10 victory at No. 4 Oxford Hills in their quarterfinal Friday.

Cheverus and Yarmouth didn’t meet this season and had no playoff history.

Saturday, the Stags proved they were one of the best teams in Class A North, but by game’s end, the Clippers, with their standout leading the way, demonstrated that there might not be a hotter team in the state.

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Yarmouth senior standout Katelyn D”Appolonia races up the field en route to one of her career-high 10 goals in the Clippers’ 20-10 win over Cheverus Saturday. Hoffer photos.

After sophomore Lauren Keaney had an initial bid to put the home ahead denied by Cheverus junior goalie Elle Cooney, Yarmouth went ahead to stay with 21:40 to go in the first half, as D’Appolonia finished a feed from sophomore Aine Powers, a star in her own right.

Keaney won the ensuing draw to D’Appolonia and she raced in and beat Cooney 14 seconds later for a 2-0 advantage.

The Stags answered a mere 19 seconds later, as O’Mara won possession, then set up sophomore EmaRae Ackerly for a shot which Clippers senior goalie Juliet Meas couldn’t stop.

After Cooney stopped a free position shot from Powers, Powers got in the scoring column with 19:14 on the clock, finishing a feed from junior Sadie Carnes in transition.

Sophomore Neena Panozzo added a free position goal 55 seconds later and after Cooney robbed D’Appolonia, Panozzo took a pass from D’Appolonia and scored to make it 5-1 with 16:41 to play in the first half.

Cheverus coach Sarah Varney called timeout, but it didn’t help, as Keaney found Carnes 57 seconds later.

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Yarmouth junior Sadie Carnes keeps the ball away from Cheverus sophomore Georgia Nolan.

The Stags then ended Yarmouth’s four-goal surge, as freshman Sophia St. John scored on a free position shot with 13:05 remaining.

After Meas stopped a St. John bid, Powers set up D’Appolonia for a 7-2 lead with 7:14 left, but 10 seconds later, off a draw win, O’Mara raced in and finished.

With 4:10 to go, freshman Lucy Johnson scored unassisted for the visitors, but with 1:27 left, D’Appolonia converted a free position for her fourth goal of the half and at the break, the Clippers enjoyed an 8-4 lead.

Cheverus won 10 of 13 first half draws, but Yarmouth forced 18 turnovers and had a 15-8 shots advantage.

The Clippers would pull away in the second half, but early on, the Stags threatened to make things very interesting.

Cheverus senior Riley O’Mara scoops up a ground ball in front of Yarmouth sophomore Aine Powers.

O’Mara won the draw to start the half, then scored unassisted just 15 seconds in and Yarmouth’s lead was down to three.

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And then, the Clippers flipped the switch.

Keaney won the ensuing draw, her first of eight straight victories in the circle and after having an initial shot saved by Cooney, Carnes buried the rebound for a 9-5 lead.

“Riley came out blazing and it rattled us a little bit, but we settled down,” D’Appolonia said. “It’s the first time I played against her in high school, but I know she’s a super-strong player and she’s fun to play against. Riley had the upper hand on the draws in the first half, then we put Lauren on the draw and she was consistent and strong and that gave us momentum.”

“We just had to switch it up a little bit,” said Yarmouth coach Dorothy Holt. “Lauren did it and with Aine and Katelyn on the circle, she had what she needed.”

Powers then scored twice in 40 seconds, the first goal on a free position and the second unassisted, to make it 11-5.

Sophomore Reese Belanger momentarily stemmed the tide with an unassisted goal with 22:22 remaining, but Powers scored on another free position, then off the draw, D’Appolonia raced in and scored unassisted for a 13-6 advantage.

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Out of a Cheverus timeout, Keaney scored on a free position, then D’Appolonia scored unassisted with 18:15 to go to stretch the lead to nine.

Keaney’s win streak in the draw circle then came to an end and O’Mara set up Belanger for a goal with 17:09 left and 51 seconds later, sophomore Mackenzie Cash scored on a free position to cut the deficit to 15-8.

The Stags would get no closer, as D’Appolonia answered, weaving through the defense before tickling the twine with 14:13 remaining.

After Powers hit the post, Powers set up D’Appolonia for a 17-8 lead with 11:57 on the clock.

Powers then scored unassisted with 10:37 left to induce a 10-goal, mercy rule running clock.

It didn’t run for long, however, as O’Mara answered (from St. John).

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D’Appolonia then put the finishing touches on her tour de force, scoring from Powers with 6:40 to play to eclipse her previous career high of eight goals, then hitting the magic 10-goal mark, finishing after a spin move, with 5:22 on the clock.

Johnson scored unassisted with 3:40 to go, but it was far too little, too late and Yarmouth closed out its 20-10 victory.

Yarmouth celebrates its ninth straight victory.

“We worked on transition and got the ball up fast,” said D’Appolonia. “We found gaps and found each other on cuts. Cheverus was a good team. They had an awesome regular season. I think they were ready for this game. I feel badly because they had a game yesterday and that was sort of disadvantage to them. They came out strong, but we played our hardest the whole time.”

“When you get up, you let your guard down a little and that’s what happens when you play a good team, so we just had to settle down a little bit,” Holt said. “It’s a team win. We’ve been working really hard. We’re playing with all the big schools in Class A and I’m super-proud of this group. Everyone counted us out, but the girls give 100 percent in practice and 110 percent in the games. Just to get to the regional final is a privilege and an honor. Probably 80 percent of this team hadn’t played varsity before this year. They’re just playing with confidence and belief. The seniors are guiding the team, whether they’re on or off the field.”

D’Appolonia not only had as many goals as the opposition, 10, she also had an assist and grabbed a team-high 11 ground balls.

“Katelyn’s just a gifted athlete, but she doesn’t want to be the standout,” Holt said. “She has a great supporting cast. She can come up with the loose balls. It’s just great to have her.”

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Powers had a terrific game as well, scoring five times and adding a game-high four assists.

Carnes and Panozzo both scored twice and Keaney added one goal.

Carnes and Keaney also had assists.

Meas made six saves.

The Clippers had a 35-30 advantage on ground balls, a 32-17 edge in shots (29-16 on cage) and only committed 11 turnovers.

Season of growth

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O’Mara bowed out with three goals and two assists. O’Mara also helped Cheverus win 18 of 32 draws and collected a game-high 13 ground balls.

Belanger and Johnson added two goals apiece, while Ackerly, Cash and St. John finished with one each.

St. John also had an assist.

Cooney made nine saves.

The Stags committed 23 turnovers.

“We have a completely different team from last year,” Varney said. “Riley did a phenomenal job raising the level of play and expectations for our team. We have really hard workers. It’s a team that trusts the coaching and coaches that trust the players. We have built upon that trust to create a very cohesive team that is driven and wants to see success. I’m super-proud of the turnaround we had this year.

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“Historically, we’re a second half team, but it didn’t play out that way today. Yarmouth’s very fast. They’re fantastic. We’ll learn from this and move on to next year.”

O’Mara and Mary Kate Murphy are the lone seniors on Cheverus’ roster, so it stands to reason the Stags will be primed for even more success in 2023.

“We’ll miss (Riley) so much, but the beauty of this team and what we built this year is we have most of these girls back,” Varney said. “We have a lot to look forward to.”

The two best

Falmouth and Yarmouth have been on a regional final collision course all season.

The Navigators advanced Saturday with a 12-7 home win over No. 3 Windham.

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The Clippers dropped a hard-fought 10-8 decision way back on April 22 in the opener in Falmouth.

The teams have never met in the postseason, but are about to make some history with a berth in the state final at stake.

“We have come a long way,” D’Appolonia said. “I think we were underdogs coming to Class A as a young team, but we’ve shown what we’ve got and we’re ready for the next game. It was early in the season when we played (Falmouth before). They’re a new team now and we’re a new team now and it’s a whole new matchup. We’re excited. I don’t think any us will settle for anything short of making it back to states.”

“It should be a great game,” Holt said. “You can’t ask for anything better than that. Falmouth’s a great team. We just have to keep playing the way we have been and if we do that, we’ll be fine.”

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

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