BOX SCORE

Yarmouth 14 Falmouth 5

F- 3 2- 5
Y- 10 4- 14

First half
24:16 Y Powers (unassisted)
21:51 Y Powers (unassisted)
20:46 F Stucker (free position)
19:50 Y Carnes (free position)
19:39 Y D’Appolonia (unassisted)
18:31 F Tolley (Adams)
13:33 Y Panozzo (Carnes)
13;03 Y D’Appolonia (free position)
11:49 Y Keaney (free position)
11:15 Y Walsh (Keaney)
8:04 F Scribner (Stucker)
4:12 Y Carnes (Walsh)
37.2 Y Powers (unassisted)

Second half
20:52 F Ginevan (Stucker)
18:37 Y D’Appolonia (free position)
18:13 Y D’Appolonia (Powers)
5:33 Y Powers (D’Appolonia)
4:36 Y Keaney (D’Appolonia)
3:05 F Adams (free position)

Goals:
F- Adams, Ginevan, Scribner, Stucker, Tolley 1
Y- D’Appolonia, Powers 4, Carnes, Keaney 2, Panozzo, Walsh 1

Assists:
F- Stucker 2, Adams 1
Y- D’Appolonia 2, Carnes, Keaney, Powers, Walsh 1

Draws (Yarmouth, 12-9)
F- Stucker 6 of 14, Barry 2 of 5, Tolley 1 of 2
Y- Powers 11 of 19, Keaney 1 of 2

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Ground balls:
F- 22
Y- 34

Turnovers:
F- 17
Y- 12

Shots:
F- 14
Y- 37

Shots on cage:
F- 12
Y- 29

Saves:
F (Riley) 15
Y (Meas) 7

YARMOUTH—To say that Dorothy Holt is having herself a week to remember would be an epic understatement.

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Holt, the longtime Yarmouth girls’ lacrosse coach, got to watch her youngest daughter, Maggie, who plays for North Yarmouth Academy, advance to the state game Tuesday with an upset win at Freeport.

Wednesday, some 24 hours later, it was Mom’s turn, as Holt’s Clippers put on a display of dominance against Falmouth in the Class A North Final, which resulted in a landmark victory.

In the first-ever postseason meeting between the squads, top-ranked Yarmouth got two quick goals from sophomore Aine Powers to set the tone and raced to a shockingly decisive 10-3 halftime lead.

With Powers and senior standout Katelyn D’Appolonia sparking the offense and the defense and senior goalie Juliet Meas holding the second-seeded Navigators at bay, the Clippers were never seriously threatened and went on to a 14-5 triumph.

D’Appolonia and Powers both scored four goals as Yarmouth won its 10th game in a row, improved to 12-3, gave Holt her milestone victory at the most optimal time, ended Falmouth’s fine season at 11-4 and in the process, advanced to take on reigning state champion Kennebunk (15-0) in the Class A state final, Saturday at a time to be announced at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

“Our game plan was to capitalize when we went to goal and we did,” Holt said. “It took all 12 players on the field and the eight players on the bench to help us win and that’s what I’m really proud of.”

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Worth the wait

While Falmouth and Yarmouth have both been championship game regulars in recent seasons, the teams had never crossed paths before in the postseason.

This spring, however, the Clippers and Navigators have been on a collision course after Yarmouth, Class B champions a year ago, moved up and joined Falmouth in Class A North.

The teams met in the season opener back on April 22, a 10-8 win for the host Navigators.

Both squads were able to overcome challenges during the regular season (see sidebar for links to previous stories), with Falmouth starting fast, then losing junior standout Sloane Ginevan for the season with a knee injury. The Navigators stumbled in back-to-back games, but returned to form for the postseason, handling No. 7 Bangor (15-0) in the quarterfinals and holding off No. 3 Windham (12-7) in Saturday’s semifinal round.

Yarmouth, meanwhile, won just two of its first five outings, as D’Appolonia returned to full health from a shoulder injury suffered during basketball season. Once she hit 100 percent, the Clippers have been unstoppable, winning their final seven regular season games to leapfrog Falmouth in the standings, then rolling past No. 9 Portland (15-3) in the quarterfinals and No. 5 Cheverus (20-10) in the semifinals, behind D’Appolonia’s career-high/program-best 10 goals.

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Falmouth was seeking its fourth straight Class A North title, while Yarmouth was hoping to get back to states for the ninth consecutive season.

Wednesday, on a terrific late-Spring afternoon (76 degrees at the start), in front of a large and vocal crowd, it was the Clippers who fulfilled their wish.

Powers won the draw to start the game and 44 seconds in, she scored unassisted to give Yarmouth a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

The Clippers were then momentarily stymied in a quest for a second goal, as junior Sadie Carnes hit the post and both sophomore Brooke Boone and Carnes had shots saved by Navigators junior goalie Patty Riley.

But with 21:51 left in the first half, Powers scored again, unassisted, on a high shot.

“We all really wanted to come out strong,” Powers said. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates.”

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“It was huge to start fast,” said D’Appolonia. “Aine came out on fire and that gave us momentum for the whole game.”

Falmouth then got its first settled possession and cut the deficit in half, as after senior Whitney Adams missed just wide, sophomore Peaches Stucker converted a free position shot with 20:46 remaining, beating Clippers senior goalie Juliet Meas.

Yarmouth answered right 56 seconds later, as Carnes scored on a free position and with 19:39 to go, D’Appolonia got the ball off of Powers’ draw win, raced in, forced a defender to stumble with a great move, then switched hands and finished to extend the lead to 4-1, forcing Navigators coach Ashley Pullen to call timeout.

It helped, as after Riley denied a free position shot from Carnes, Adams set up junior Adelaide Tolley for a goal with 18:31 remaining to cut the deficit to 4-2.

With Riley continuing to come up big, saving free position shots from senior Clancy Walsh and Carnes, Falmouth had a chance to get right back in it, but couldn’t generate any chances and the Clippers then pulled away with four goals in just over two minutes.

First, off a turnover, Carnes set up sophomore Neena Panozzo for a goal with 13:33 on the clock.

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A mere 30 seconds later, D’Appolonia converted a free position.

With 11:49 left, sophomore Lauren Keaney scored on a free position and 34 seconds after that, Keaney set up Walsh for an 8-2 advantage.

After Riley prevented Powers from making things worse and Meas saved a free position shot from senior Molly Scribner, Scribner was able to score (from Stucker) with 8:04 remaining.

Freshman Maeve Ginevan had a chance to draw Falmouth closer, but her free position was saved by Meas.

After Riley robbed Powers, then saved a Panozzo shot, Yarmouth closed the first half strong, as Walsh set up Carnes for a goal with 4:12 showing and after Meas saved an Adams free position look, Powers scored unassisted with 37.2 seconds to play in the half.

Adams had a chance to give the Navigators a little momentum when she took a free position with 3 seconds left, but Meas saved it and the Clippers had a comfortable 10-3 halftime lead.

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In the first half, Powers won nine of 14 draws and Yarmouth enjoyed a 23-9 shots advantage. Only nine saves from Riley kept the game from being a complete runaway.

Falmouth came out strong in the second half, but never made a serious run.

After Meas twice denied Stucker, Stucker set up Ginevan for a goal with 20:52 left, but it would be over 17 minutes before the Navigators would score again.

With 18:37 to play, D’Appolonia scored on a free position and 24 seconds later, Powers set up D’Apppolonia for her fourth goal, as she beat Riley up high to make it 12-4.

Stucker tried to answer, but her shot hit the crossbar and with 5:33 on the clock, D’Appolonia set up Powers for her final goal and 57 seconds later, D’Appolonia found Keaney to induce a 10-goal, mercy rule running clock.

It didn’t run for long, as Adams converted a free position with 3:05 to go, but that only delayed the inevitable and the Clippers ran out the clock and at 5:55 p.m., celebrated their 14-5 victory and their first regional title in Class A.

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“It was a huge team win,” D’Appolonia said. “Last game, I stepped my game up, but I knew against such a good team like Falmouth, we’d need to play all together and everybody stepped up today. I think what really worked for us was settling the ball and taking our time on attack and talking a lot on defense and not letting them use the strengths they used against us last time.”

“It feels really good,” Powers said. “Especially because we lost to Falmouth at the beginning of the season. Falmouth’s a really good team. I think we just brought our ‘A’ game. We’ve worked really hard in practice and we’ve become a tighter team. We all believed in ourselves and connected on and off the field. We really became closer.”

“The girls have surpassed my wildest dreams,” Holt added. “We’re so young, but you’re only as good as your senior leadership and our eight seniors scooped up the underclassmen and said, ‘We can do this.’ We didn’t talk about getting to a state championship. What we talked about is getting through the next game. We had to do that because we’re so young. If we talked about a state championship at the beginning of the season, we’d have been deflated at 2-3. We talked about making each game better.”

While Yarmouth’s top scoring threats did their damage with D’Appolonia and Powers scoring four goals apiece, the Clippers showed their depth and balance, as Carnes and Keaney added two goals and Panozzo and Walsh tickled the twine once each.

D’Appolonia also had a pair of assists, while Carnes, Keaney, Powers and Walsh all finished with one.

“Yes, we have Katelyn, who actually leads the team in assists, but we have other goal scorers,” Holt said. “We play a balanced game and today was our best balanced game. It took everybody to make that work.”

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Meas made seven timely saves and never let the Navigators string together consecutive goals.

Yarmouth won 12 of 21 draws, had a 34-22 advantage in ground balls (D’Appolonia was a machine, scooping up 16 of them), out-shot Falmouth, 37-14 (29-12 on cage) and only committed a dozen turnovers in 50 high-pressure minutes.

A perfect night for a milestone

Yarmouth coach Dorothy Holt celebrates with her players after her 200th career victory Wednesday. Hoffer photo.

Holt succeeded Julia Littlefield as Yarmouth’s coach in 2005 and elevated what was already one of the state’s top programs into a premier power. She won state titles in her second and third years and led the Clippers to 29 consecutive victories in one stretch. Yarmouth has made it to at least the regional final in each of her seasons (see sidebar) and won Class B again in 2011, 2014, 2015 and after a series of painful state game losses, returned to the pinnacle last spring.

Holt’s first victory came April 26, 2005, coincidentally, over visiting Falmouth (13-2). Number 100 came May 5, 2014 at Freeport (14-3). An impressive 40 of them have now come in the playoffs.

Following the win, Holt was presented with signs and balloons from her players and family.

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“We talked about it before the game and it was a motivation for us because we wanted to get (200) for her,” said D’Appolonia. “It’s a huge milestone and a great honor to have. To be part of the team when she got it is just awesome.”

Holt downplayed the significance of the victory to her personally and chose to instead highlight her team’s growth.

“I had no idea about 200,” Holt said. “It’s not really about me. I don’t even care about 200 wins. What I care about is what my team did today. What my team did today was show 200 percent effort, 200 percent getting ground balls and gritting it out and knowing they would score goals and keep the intensity up 200 percent until the end. My team showed stuff today we hadn’t shown in a long time.”

Ups and downs

Falmouth got one goal apiece from Adams, Ginevan, Scribner, Stucker and Tolley.

Stucker also had two assists, while Adams had one.

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Riley did her best to keep the Navigators in the game, making 15 impressive saves.

“A lot of credit to Patty for making a lot of amazing saves today,” Pullen said.

Stucker finished with a team-high five ground balls.

Falmouth turned the ball over 17 times.

“We knew (Yarmouth) would be a different team from last time,” Pullen said. “We know Dorothy’s a great coach. Hats off to her for the work she did with them over the season to get them to where they are today. The executed so well on all fronts and had too many threats for us to contain. Our game plan coming in was to try to force them to spread things out on attack and force them to turn to some players who maybe they hadn’t been relying on, but all their attackers showed up and came through. We just couldn’t get that spark to really ignite more of a fire, unfortunately.”

Despite the disappointment of the setback, the Navigators have much to be proud of.

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“We absolutely did a lot of good things,” Pullen said. “It was a season that had its ups and downs, but at the end of the day, I’m super-proud of them for getting to this point and achieving all that we did. We lost Sloane in the ninth game of the regular season, then had back-to-back losses. She is a very talented player and touched the ball on offense, in the midfield and on defense. We had an adjustment period of having different people in different positions. It was a physical and a tactical shift to go from the team were before she got injured to what we were after.”

Falmouth graduates six, but also returns several players who saw a lot of key time during the course of the season.

That likely spells another successful campaign in 2023 and quite possibly a return to the regional final, or beyond.

“We do have a lot of talent coming back, so we’re looking forward to next season,” Pullen said.

Can Kennebunk be beaten?

That’s the $64,000 question heading into Saturday’s state final, as the Rams haven’t lost in 31 outings and will be favored to repeat as Class A champions, especially after handling Massabesic, arguably the state’s second-best team, 14-4, in their regional final Wednesday.

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On April 29, Yarmouth lost at home to Kennebunk, 11-3, in a game was closer than the final score indicated. In that one, the Clippers had an equal number of shots to the Rams, but Kennebunk junior goalie Lizzie Hayes made 14 critical saves.

Yarmouth and Kennebunk are well-acquainted in the month of June, having met seven previous times, including in the state game on five occasions. The Rams took the last encounter, upsetting the previously unbeaten Clippers, 5-4, in the 2017 Class B state game.

The Clippers will be the underdog Saturday, but that’s OK with them.

“I’m glad we’ve gotten to the final game in our first year in Class A,” D’Appolonia said. “We were champions last year and we’re really hoping to be state champs again this year. I think we can compete with them. They have a lot of talented players. They come out strong and they’re fast. We have to come out in practice tomorrow and Friday and be ready to win on Saturday.”

“I’m really excited to see what we can do Saturday,” Powers said. “I think we just need to play how we played here and pay attention to our shots because they have a talented goalie. We have to step up on defense and play our very best. It’s our last game. We can go 110 percent, all out.”

“These kids believe in each other,” Holt added. “It’s a fun, special group. They count on each other. When one’s down, someone else brings them up. There wasn’t pressure on them to get here. We know what we’re up against. We’ll have to change our game plan a little bit. I love being the underdog and we love being the underdog. Everyone is beatable. We just have to bring our ‘A’ game.”

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

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