YARMOUTH—While it didn’t come easily, North Yarmouth Academy’s girls’ soccer team put a punctuation mark on a 24-hours to remember.

Friday afternoon at Lewis Field, the Panthers, the three-time reigning Class D state champion, welcomed rival Waynflete and one day after beating crosstown rival and longtime nemesis Yarmouth for the first time, they did just enough to remain unbeaten.

The unheralded Flyers announced that they had come to play when junior standout Lucy Hart buried a free kick in the 10th minute, but NYA came right back two minutes later and tied it up when sophomore Emily Robbins scored on a rebound off a corner kick.

With 24 minutes left in the first half, Panthers junior Sarah Moore, who was the winning goalie Thursday against the Clippers, scored on a header and NYA took a 2-1 advantage to halftime.

When the Panthers got two early second half goals from senior Anna Belleau, it appeared to be lights out for Waynflete, but the Flyers refused to go quietly, first getting a goal from senior Lucy Sarno with 28:53 on the clock and one more goal from senior Iris Stutzman with seconds remaining.

Waynflete never got a chance to complete an improbable comeback, however, as NYA closed out a 4-3 victory.

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The Panthers extended their three-year unbeaten streak to 26 games, improved to 6-0 on the season and dropped the Flyers to 4-2 in the process.

“We did what we needed to do,” said NYA coach Ricky Doyon. “We played a little tired today. We didn’t press like we can, but it doesn’t always have to look pretty.”

Focused

NYA beat host Old Orchard Beach in its opener, 4-1, then blanked visiting Richmond (8-0) and won at St. Dom’s (5-1) and Traip Academy (2-0). Thursday, the Panthers beat visiting Yarmouth for the first time in program history, with relative ease, 4-1.

Waynflete, meanwhile, started off by beating visiting St. Dom’s (5-0), host Sacopee Valley (7-0), visiting Richmond (5-0) and visiting Traip Academy (3-0), but Tuesday, the Flyers were no match for visiting Cape Elizabeth, the three-time defending Class B champions (7-0).

Last year, NYA won both meetings by 5-0 scores.

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Friday, Waynflete looked to beat the Panthers for the first time since Oct. 3, 2019 (1-0 in Portland), but instead, NYA did just enough to make it six straight victories over the Flyers.

North Yarmouth Academy sophomore Ella Giguere boots the ball away from Waynflete senior Lucy Sarno during Friday’s 4-3 Panthers’ victory. Hoffer photos.

Waynflete shocked the home team early, as after a foul just outside the box, Hart lined up a shot and delivered a blast to the right of diving NYA senior goalkeeper Charlotte Harper-Cunningham and into the net for a 1-0 lead with 30:28 to play in the first half.

But the Panthers quickly awakened and with 28:30 on the clock, tied it up.

Robbins served in a corner kick that was knocked back out and she got to the ball and launched a low shot just inside the far post that Flyers junior goalkeeper Leah Noone couldn’t stop to make it 1-1.

“Give Waynflete credit,” Doyon said. “They came here and wanted it and that was obvious. We were surprised and then it was time to play.”

Then, with 24:01 remaining in the half, Robbins served a long free kick into the box where Moore got her head on the ball and steered it past Noone for a 2-1 advantage.

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“Sarah’s just one of those players you love to have,” Doyon said. “You can put her anywhere, anytime. She’ll be an impact player the rest of the season. She’s so fast. I have four fast strikers I can keep on the field all day long.”

The Panthers looked to extend their lead before the half, but senior Leah Dube missed just wide after a turnover, Noone robbed senior standout Angel Huntsman on a shot off a corner kick, Huntsman missed just wide after a turnover and Huntsman missed again off a serve from sophomore Ella Giguere on a corner.

 Waynflete sophomore Fallon Culley shields NYA junior Kailyn McIntyre from the ball.

NYA quickly got some breathing room in the second half, as with 37:09 to play, Belleau had an initial shot saved by Noone, but she pounced on the rebound and fired it home to make it 3-1.

Then, with 32:10 left, Giguere served in a corner kick and Belleau again was in the right place at the right time, sending it into the net for a seemingly commanding 4-1 advantage.

“I figured we’d get a couple in the second half and we did,” Doyon said.

But Waynflete, which didn’t respond well in its loss to Cape Elizabeth Tuesday, roared back.

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With 28:53 left, after a drop ball following the ball hitting an official during a Flyers’ fastbreak, Stutzman set up Sarno for a goal to cut the deficit to two,

After Noone kept her team in it by denying Robbins and sophomore Delia Fontana, Waynflete went back on the attack.

Harper-Cunningham stood tall, however, saving a low shot from Hart, then tipping out a long blast from Hart.

After junior Morgan Earls just missed a shot, Hart had a great look with 4 minutes left, but one-timed it high.

The Flyers then finished strong, as with just 3 seconds left, Hart crossed the ball to Stutzman, who sent the ball in off the far post.

There wasn’t time for Waynflete to complete a dramatic comeback, however, and NYA held on to prevail, 4-3.

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“That was good for us,” Doyon said. “It wasn’t good for the heart, but it was good for the girls to see they have to work every game. We got pushed around a little, which was good too.”

The Panthers had a 13-7 shots advantage, got four saves from Harper-Cunningham and had an 8-3 edge in corner kicks.

Noone made nine saves for the Flyers, who fought to the end.

“We talked after the Cape game about it’s how we respond and we did not respond the way we wanted to in that game, so I’m thrilled with how we played today,” said Carrie Earls, who co-coaches Waynflete with George Sherry. “We learned some good lessons. We’re still without our starting keeper, so I’m happy walking out of here having played 80 minutes of solid soccer. The set pieces killed us today. Three of their four goals were off set pieces. It felt like the bounces didn’t really go our way. We just wanted to play our game and possess. I think we really did that. Our combos were nice. We told the girls to keep grinding and to not give up.”

Bigger games to come

Waynflete looks to bounce back Wednesday, when it hosts Old Orchard Beach.

“That’s a big one for us,” Carrie Earls said. “We can’t wait to see them. I like the direction we’re going. The girls are having fun and that’s all you can ask for.”

The Panthers hope to extend their unbeaten streak to 27 and stay undefeated Wednesday when they go to Richmond.

“We have to step it up,” Doyon said. “The girls need the weekend off after playing two physical games in 24 hours. We’ll build from this. We want to keep improving.”

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

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