The North Yarmouth Academy girls’ lacrosse team scored in bunches in the first half of the Class C state championship game Friday night at Fitzpatrick Stadium, at times collecting goals faster than the public address announcer could announce them.

That quick-strike attack was a key for the Panthers, and enough to hold off a furious second-half rally by Wells, giving NYA a 12-11 win over the Warriors to win their first state championship since it captured the Class B title in 2010.

NYA, the No. 3 seed, ends the season at 11-5. No. 4 Wells, playing in a state final for the first time, ends at 12-4. It was just the second winning season in program history for Wells, dating back to 2004.

“We had a hard road to get here. With a bunch of new players we came together,” said NYA senior Maggie Holt, who scored four goals and added three assists.

Trailing 11-4 early in the second half, the Warriors began to chip away at NYA’s lead. Wells rallied to within 11-8 with 9:21 to play on a goal by Ruby McMinis. Maggie Holt’s free position goal snapped the Warriors four-goal streak and gave the Panthers a four-goal cushion before Wells cut its deficit to 12-9 just 37 seconds later on Anna Woodward’s goal.

“We just wanted to win the draw and take it down and score. We did not want to leave here with any play that we regretted. We were down by quite a bit, and we said, we’re here to play,” said Wells Coach Jodie Lawlor. “Nobody expected us to be here. Let’s make this a game. Let’s make it difficult. Let’s run them into the ground and do as much as we can to get control.”

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Summer Sullivan’s goal with 1:08 left pulled the Warriors within two goals, and with 30 seconds left, McMinis cut NYA’s lead to one, 12-11.

The Panthers won the ensuring draw and killed off the remaining time to escape with the state title.

“Winning the draw, that was a big piece of today. That last one, I got it to V (Vy Tran), and that was a great feeling. That finished it off,” said Holt.

Ahead 3-1 early in the first half, NYA scored three goals in just 37 seconds. First, Alev Yilmaz scored with an assist from Tran, who made a nifty pass from behind the net, for a 4-1 lead with 17:45 left in the half. Nineteen seconds later, Lila Jackson’s goal gave the Panthers a 5-1 lead.

Eighteen seconds after Jackson scored, Holt’s goal pushed NYA’s lead to 6-1.

After Wells snapped NYA’s streak with a goal from Grace Ramsdell, the Panthers notched three goals in 1:01. This time, Emma Sharp, Tran and then Sharp again, scored in short order to give NYA a 9-2 lead. Holt assisted on all three goals, as the Panthers continued to dominate control of the ball.

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Holt added a goal of her own to make it 10-2 before Wells got the final two goals of the first half, by Calista Leighton and Woodward.

“We were really composed. We were feeding each other well, looking for open people,” Holt said.

The Panthers found too many seams in Wells’ zone defense in the first half, Lawlor said.

“They just kept penetrating and penetrating. We weren’t marking those cutters,” Lawlor said. “(Holt) kind of had her way the first 10, 15 minutes. Then we finally got our feet under us. We just never gave up. We just wanted this to be a competitive game.”

NYA goalie Acadia Gee made eight saves. Kayla Bolton and Isabella Smith combined to make three saves for Wells.


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