BOX SCORE

Kennebunk 11 Yarmouth 8

Y- 2 6- 8
K- 7 4- 11

First half
23:00 Y Walsh (Powers)
22:29 K Archer (Sliwkowski)
21:03 K Archer (Muse)
13:57 K Armentrout (Sliwkowski)
12:49 K Sliwkowski (unassisted)
10:21 K Muse (Sliwkowski)
4:45 Y Keaney (free position)
2:20 K Sliwkowski (free position)
1:09 K Battagliese (Armentrout)

Second half
23:18 Y Panozzo (Powers)
21:08 K Sliwkowski (unassisted)
18:05 Y Carnes (D’Appolonia)
13:26 K Sliwkowski (unassisted)
12:50 Y Carnes (Powers)
11:38 K Sliwkowski (unassisted)
8:25 Y D’Appolonia (Boone)
5:43 K Sliwkowski (unassisted)
4:59 Y Panozzo (Powers)
4:35 Y Panozzo (D’Appolonia)

Goals:
Y- Panozzo 3, Carnes 2, D’Appolonia, Keaney, Walsh 1
K- Sliwkowski 6, Archer 2, Armentrout, Battagliese, Muse 1

Assists:
Y- Powers 4, D’Appolonia 2, Boone 1
K- Sliwkowski 3, Armentrout, Muse 1

Draws (Yarmouth, 13-8)
Y- Powers 13 of 21
K- Highbarger 8 of 21

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Ground balls:
Y- 29
K- 22

Turnovers:
Y- 13
K- 12

Shots:
Y- 24
K- 18

Shots on cage:
Y- 16
K- 14

Saves:
Y (Meas) 3
K (Hayes) 6 (Hansen) 2

PORTLAND—There’s no question that Yarmouth’s girls’ lacrosse team belongs in Class A.

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The Clippers just don’t have an answer quite yet for the best team.

The Kennebunk Rams.

Saturday afternoon at Fitzpatrick Stadium, Yarmouth, the reigning Class B state champion which moved up this spring, discovered the hard way that you might be able to hold the Rams and their junior standout Ruby Sliwkowski at bay for stretches, but over 50 minutes, they’re simply unbeatable.

The Clippers, on the heels of a stirring regional tournament run, took an early lead on a goal from senior Clancy Walsh, but Kennebunk got the next five, as Sliwkowski scored once and added a pair of assists.

Sophomore Lauren Keaney got a goal back for Yarmouth, but the Clippers couldn’t get any closer as for the second time this spring, Rams junior goalie Lizzie Hayes stood tall, and Kennebunk took a 7-2 advantage to halftime.

Sliwkowski scored just twice in the first half and she’d add four more in the second half, but even down by five goals, Yarmouth refused to quit and even got as close as three on sophomore Neena Panozzo’s third goal, but the Rams were able to run out the clock and prevail, 11-8.

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The Clippers had their 10-game win streak snapped and their fine season ended at 12-4, as Kennebunk finished 16-0, made it 32 straight victories and consecutive state championships.

“We would have loved to have beaten them, but I couldn’t be prouder,” said longtime Yarmouth coach Dorothy Holt. “We came in the underdog and we came up just a little bit short.”

The two best

Kennebunk has clearly been the state’s top team all year, winning its 12 regular season games by an average of 11 goals, with its lowest margin of victory being five (on two occasions). The Rams then ousted No. 9 Gorham (16-3) in the quarterfinals, sent No. 5 Cape Elizabeth packing in the semifinals (15-4), then handled No. 2 Massabesic (14-4) in Wednesday’s regional final.

Yarmouth, meanwhile, won just two of its first five outings (see sidebar for links to previous stories), as D’Appolonia returned to full health from a shoulder injury suffered during basketball season. Once she hit 100 percent, the Clippers had 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 senior standout Katelyn D’Appolonia’s career-high/program-best 10 goals. In Wednesday’s regional final, Yarmouth ousted No. 2 Falmouth with surprising ease, 14-5.

The Clippers and Rams had played seven previous times in the playoffs, with five of those meetings coming in the state final (see sidebar). Kennebunk won the most recent, a 5-4 upset victory over previously undefeated Yarmouth in the 2017 Class B Final.

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The Clippers were 8-10 all-time in the state game, while the Rams entered with a mark of 3-6 (see sidebar)

In the teams’ regular season meeting April 29, senior Sydney Dumas scored four times and Sliwkowski added three goals for Kennebunk, which got 14 saves from Hayes.

Saturday, on a chilly (64 degrees) and blustery mid-June afternoon, Yarmouth came in hoping to spring the upset, but the reigning champions refused to surrender their crown.

The Clippers learned immediately that they’d have to win it without D’Appolonia playing a major role on offense, as Rams sophomore Calia Keenan face-guarded her and would be her shadow throughout the afternoon.

“I wasn’t really surprised because I’ve been face-guarded all the playoff games so far,” D’Appolonia said. “(Keenan) was right on me and face-guarded me really well. I tried to keep moving to get open, but it only happened once in awhile. I think it was a smart move to shut me down, but it gave other players opportunities to step up and they did which was huge for us.”

“We knew we needed to do it,” said longtime Kennebunk coach Annie Barker. “We don’t do it that often, but we knew how dangerous she is.”

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Just two minutes in, sophomore star Aine Powers set up Walsh to put Yarmouth on top, but that would be the Clippers’ highwater mark.

A mere 31 seconds later, Sliwkowski set up junior Grace Archer, who performed a rousing version of the national anthem before the game, for a goal to tie the score.

Archer then scored again with 21:03 left in the half, this time from sophomore Mara Muse, and the Rams had the lead for good.

After Hayes made her first save, on a shot from Keaney, Sliwkowski had a chance to extend the lead, but her free position shot hit the post.

Clippers junior Sadie Carnes then had a shot saved by Hayes at one end and at the other, Yarmouth senior goalie Juliet Meas robbed Sliwkowki.

With 13:57 to go before halftime, Kennebunk got a little breathing room, as Sliwkowski found sophomore Ivy Armentrout for a 3-1 lead.

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After Hayes robbed Keaney, Sliwkowski scored for the first time, finishing unassisted after a slick stop-and-start move with 12:49 on the clock.

Holt called timeout, but it didn’t help, as after Hayes stopped a free position bid from Carnes, Sliwkowski found Muse for a 5-1 lead with 10:21 remaining.

After Hayes stopped yet another free position shot from Carnes, Keaney finally snapped the Clippers’ 18 minute, 15 second scoring drought and Kennebunk’s 5-0 run, finishing a free position with 4:45 on the clock.

Yarmouth wasn’t able to build on that goal, however, as Sliwkowki scored on a free position with 2:20 left, then with 1:09 to go before the break, in transition, Armentrout found sophomore Keara Battagliese for a goal and a 7-2 halftime advantage.

Powers won six of 10 first half draws and ground balls and shots were even, but Hayes’ six saves allowed the Rams to hold a comfortable lead.

“It was the same thing that happened last game,” D’Appolonia said. “We had the same number of shots, but we couldn’t put them in the net. In the second half, we were able to change that.”

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Senior Lily Hansen came in to play goalie when the second half commenced and while the Clippers would have more luck against her, they weren’t able to pull off a miracle comeback.

With 23:18 left in the game, Powers set up Panozzo for her first goal, but two minutes later, Sliwkowki faked out a defender and beat Meas unassisted for an 8-3 lead.

“I will say, I was a little nervous at the beginning,” Sliwkowski said. “I was taking shots I don’t normally take. I was a little off-balance. At halftime, I decided to get back to what I did all season.”

D’Appolonia finally got involved in the offense with 18:05 to go, setting up Carnes for a goal, but again, Sliwkowki stemmed any momentum Yarmouth hoped to have, scoring unassisted with 13:26 remaining to make it 9-4.

The Clippers refused to buckle and again drew within four when Powers set up Carnes for a goal 36 seconds later, but again, Sliwkowski countered with an unassisted goal with 11:39 left.

D’Appolonia scored her lone goal with 8:25 to play, off a feed from sophomore Brooke Boone, but after Kennebunk got possession on the ensuing draw and ran a couple minutes off the clock, Sliwkowski scored her sixth and final goal, unassisted, with 5:43 remaining.

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Yarmouth had one final push, as Powers set up Panozzo for a goal with 4:59 on the clock and 24 seconds later, D’Appolonia fed Panozzo to make it 11-8, but the Clippers wouldn’t score again.

After sophomore Ella Highbarger won the ensuing draw for the Rams with Sliwkowki pouncing on the ground ball, they ran nearly three minutes off the clock.

Yarmouth then threatened to draw within two, but Hansen saved bids from Keaney and Carnes and Powers missed wide.

Kennebunk then ran out the clock and celebrated its 11-8 victory and repeat crown.

“The best part about this team is even if it’s tough, we don’t let it get to us,” Sliwkowski said. “If they scored, we decided to go get another one. That mentality made us a championship team. It was a huge team effort. Calia stepped up and face-guarded (D’Appolonia). It took everybody today. It came down to the small things.”

Sliwkowski, who scored six goals in last year’s state game win over Falmouth, tickled the twine a half-dozen times again, giving her an otherworldly 85 goals for the season. She also had three assists, meaning she had a part in nine of the Rams’ 11 goals.

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“I haven’t seen a player like Ruby, a complete package,” Barker said. “She’s just smart. She could coach this team. She’s that knowledgeable.”

Archer added two goals, while Armentrout, Battagliese and Muse all had one.

Armentrout and Muse also had an assist.

Hayes made six saves and Hansen stopped two shots.

“We felt like both goalies have given us everything and we’ve alternated them all season,” Barker said. “We felt they both needed to play. Our goalie wasn’t going to lose us the game. We knew Lily had the experience of finishing a state game.”

Dumas had a team-high five ground balls, while Sliwkowski collected four.

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Kennebunk only turned the ball over 12 times.

“We just needed to be patient,” Barker said. “We could pull the ball out, hang out and just wait because we knew eventually it would open up for us.

“We just took it one game at a time all season and treated every game like it was 0-0. Our focus from the beginning of the year was to climb a mountain and that’s how we operate.”

The Rams lose Dumas, Hansen and Willa-Maya Dowling, but return everyone else.

Kennebunk is now just four wins shy of Waynflete’s state-record win streak, which was set between 2004-06.

Slikowski, who has verbally committed to play at Brown University, figures to make a run at the 200 career goal mark next spring.

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The Rams will be the favorites again and they’ll welcome the bulls-eye.

“We plan to do it again next year,” said Sliwkowski. “Our season starts tomorrow. We’re only losing three. It’s going to look really similar and that’s really exciting.”

“They’re all sophomores and juniors and we have our goalie back too,” Barker said. “I think we’ll be able to step right back in there next year. We have a lot to look forward too.”

Pride in defeat

Yarmouth’s offense was paced by Panozzo, who scored three times. Carnes added two goals and D’Appolonia, Keaney and Walsh all scored once.

Powers didn’t score a goal, but had four assists. D’Appolonia added two and Boone finished with one.

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Meas made three saves.

Powers won 13 of 21 draws, the Clippers had a 29-22 edge in ground balls (D’Appolonia had a game-high 10 and Powers finished with six), Yarmouth out-shot Kennebunk, 24-18 (16-14 on cage) and only committed 13 turnovers.

“I honestly couldn’t be happier,” D’Appolonia said. “As a senior, it was a great way to go out. No one expected us to be in the state championship game at the start of the season.  The younger players are growing into the players they’re going to become. I’m just excited to see how they keep growing.”

“If a couple free positions in the first half found the net, it might have been different,” Holt said. “We had some turnovers and that was a difference. In the first half, we got a little rattled, then we settled down.”

The Clippers lose eight players to graduation, with D’Appolonia the most seismic departure. She will play at the University of Colorado next year.

“I’m really excited to get (to Colorado) and show them what Maine’s got,” D’Appolonia said.

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“We are blessed with Katelyn,” Holt said. “I’ve never coached a better athlete or team player, but she’s also a true giver. Not many teams have that. They have standouts who do one thing, but she makes everyone around her better.”

Yarmouth is used to being in the state final every season and even though this year ended just short of the big prize, the Clippers will do all they can to return to the big stage next year.

Yarmouth’s young nucleus received trial by fire this spring and will be poised for greatness in 2023.

“The next couple years will show what this team can do,” Holt said. “We’ll miss our seniors, but this program belongs in Class A. We want to play with the best.”

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

Previous state game results

Yarmouth

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2021
Class B
Yarmouth 13 Greely 8 

2019
Class B
Cape Elizabeth 12 Yarmouth 11 (3 OT)

2018
Class B
Cape Elizabeth 12 Yarmouth 11 (OT)

2017
Class B
Kennebunk 5 Yarmouth 4

2016
Class B
Kennebunk 9 Yarmouth 7

2015
Class B

Yarmouth 11 Kennebunk 10 (OT) 

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2014
Class B

Yarmouth 13 Cape Elizabeth 10 

2013
Class B

Waynflete 7 Yarmouth 4

2011
Class B 

Yarmouth 9 Waynflete 8

2007
Class B

Yarmouth 7 Kennebunk 5

2006
Class B

Yarmouth 12 Waynflete 5

2002
Yarmouth 13 Kennebunk 8

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1999
Waynflete 5 Yarmouth 3

1998
Waynflete 13 Yarmouth 8

1996
Yarmouth 5 Waynflete 4

1995
Waynflete 6 Yarmouth 5

1994
Waynflete 7 Yarmouth 6

1993
Gould 11 Yarmouth 8

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Kennebunk

2021
Class A
Kennebunk 9 Falmouth 8

2019
Class A
Falmouth 5 Kennebunk 3

2017
Class B
Kennebunk 5 Yarmouth 4

2016
Class B
Kennebunk 9 Yarmouth 7

2015
Class B

Yarmouth 11 Kennebunk 10 (OT) 

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2009
Class A

Brunswick 13 Kennebunk 9

2008
Class A

Brunswick 15 Kennebunk 11

2007
Class B

Yarmouth 7 Kennebunk 5

2002
Yarmouth 13 Kennebunk 8

Previous Yarmouth-Kennebunk postseason results

2017
Class B state final
Kennebunk 5 Yarmouth 4

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2016
Class B state final
Kennebunk 9 Yarmouth 7

2015
Class B state final

Yarmouth 11 Kennebunk 10 (OT) 

2007
Class B state final

Yarmouth 7 Kennebunk 5

2002 state final
Yarmouth 13 Kennebunk 8

1999 state semifinal
Yarmouth 8 Kennebunk 4

1998 state quarterfinal
Yarmouth 9 Kennebunk 7

 

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