FREEPORT — With a first-year coach and a lot of new players, it took the North Yarmouth Academy girls’ lacrosse team some time to hit its stride. The third-seeded Panthers have come to life at just the right time and are headed to their first state final in 12 years.

NYA fell behind by three goals in the Class C semifinals against No. 2 Freeport on Tuesday evening at Joan Benoit Samuelson Track and Field, but rallied late and took the lead for good on a goal by Vy Tran with 1:01 left. The Panthers then forced a late turnover and ran out the clock to beat the Falcons, 10-9.

The Panthers improved to 10-5 and set up a state final showdown versus No. 4 Wells (12-3) on Friday at Fitzpatrick Stadium at a time to be announced.

“We knew it would be a battle,” said NYA Coach Molly Moss-Stokes. “We’ve had to come from behind before and we chipped away.”

The Panthers led 4-2 early, as Maggie Holt scored twice, but the Falcons (10-4) ended the first half on a 5-0 run.

NYA rallied to tie it, 8-8, on a goal from Emilia McKenney, then went on top on Holt’s fourth goal. Savannah Tracy scored her fourth goal for Freeport with 2:55 remaining to even things up again.

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That set the stage for Tran to play the hero, scoring unassisted.

“I just saw a little space and I just took a risk. It was very exciting,” said Tran (two goals, four assists).

Freeport won the ensuing draw, but the Panthers forced a turnover and ran out the clock.

Kate Tracy added two goals for the Falcons, who managed just two shots in the second half.

“It was just mistakes and nerves,” said Freeport Coach Marcia Wood. “It’s very disappointing to lose this game, but it’s sports and hopefully, we’ll learn from it.”


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