PORTLAND—Waynflete’s girls’ soccer team has arrived.

Perhaps ahead of schedule and the Flyers aren’t finished yet.

Friday afternoon at Fore River Fields, fifth-ranked Waynflete hosted No. 8 Traip Academy in a Class C South semifinal and the Flyers rode a smothering defense and an opportunistic offense to their biggest win in six seasons.

Waynflete took the lead for good midway through the first half when junior Morgan Earls served in a corner kick that somehow found its way into the goal.

Two minutes later, the Flyers doubled their lead on a more traditional goal, as senior Iris Stutzman buried a blast from 30-yards out.

With Waynflete’s defense, featuring promising freshmen Grace Alexander and Liza Lawson, was busy holding the Rangers at bay, senior standout Lucy Hart ended all doubt with 27 minutes to go, converting a penalty kick, and the Flyers went on to a 3-0 victory.


Waynflete improved to 12-4, ended Traip Academy’s season at 8-8 and in the process, advanced to take on either No. 2 Maranacook (15-0-1) or No. 6 Old Orchard Beach (11-5) in the Class C South Final, its first regional final in six years, Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham.

“I’m a little speechless,” said Carrie Earls, who co-coaches the Flyers along with George Sherry. “These girls have worked so hard all season. We hit a little rut midway through, but they pulled themselves out of it and put on a fantastic display today.”

Party like it’s 2016

Last fall, Waynflete’s season ended with a 1-0 loss at Traip Academy in the regional semifinals.

This season, the Flyers have been resurgent (see sidebar for links to previous stories), enjoying a couple different four-game win streaks en route to 10 regular season victories (the program’s best mark since 2015). Despite having to go on the road in Tuesday’s quarterfinal round, Waynflete easily dispatched No. 4 Monmouth Academy, 6-0.

Traip Academy, meanwhile, went 6-8 in the regular season, but had no trouble with No. 9 Madison in its prelim, prevailing, 8-0, before shocking top-ranked Hall-Dale, 1-0, in Tuesday’s quarterfinal round.


The teams split two regular season meetings, each winning at home. On Sept. 19, in Portland, the Flyers won, 3-0, as Hart, Stutzman and Lucy Olson all scored. Traip Academy then edged Waynflete, 1-0, in Kittery Oct. 12 behind a goal from sophomore Keira Alessi and 10 saves from sophomore goalkeeper Lily Stuart.

Last year’s playoff meeting was the only prior postseason encounter between the Flyers and Rangers.

Friday, on a sunny but chilly afternoon (51 degrees at kickoff), Waynflete rode the energy of its partisan crowd to victory.

The Flyers were stymied early, as a Hart rush was broken up by Rangers sophomore back Frances Burke and a Hart shot was denied by Stuart.

After Waynflete freshman keeper Ayla Stutzman denied a shot from sophomore Siobhan Reeve, freshman Avery Bouffard and sophomore Keira Alessi both missed just wide.

Then, with 20:37 on the clock, off a corner kick, Morgan Earls sent the ball into the box where it snuck through several feet and other sundry body parts before it rolled into the goal just inside the far post where a diving Stuart came up empty and the Flyers were up, 1-0.


“I’m not sure what happened,” said Morgan Earls. “I was a little surprised it went in. I just served it in and it went in. It’s the third time we’ve played Traip and we know they’re good. We knew we couldn’t let them have (a goal), because they’d get momentum and it would be a whole different game, so we had to get the lead.”

“That first goal made me feel better,” Carrie Earls said. “The longer the game remained scoreless, it could go either way. We had to get the first one and we did, then we got a beautiful strike right after that.”

Sure enough, with 18:40 remaining, Iris Stutzman got the ball with some room in the middle of the field and from 30 yards out, lofted a shot that Stuart couldn’t save and just like that, the score was 2-0.

“I had some space and I just decided to take (the shot),” Stutzman said. “I didn’t think I hit it that well at first. I kind of chipped it, then I saw it go in. That goal was relieving.”

Late in the half, Stuart denied a Hart one-timer, saved a shot from Morgan Earls, then denied Hart again to keep the score 2-0 at the half.

Two minutes into the second half, freshman Lucy Olson threatened to extend the Waynflete lead, but Stuart made a sprawling save.


The Rangers then tried to rally, but Ayla Stutzman saved a couple shots from Alessi.

Then, with 27:53 to go, Hart beat a defender into the box, but before she could shoot, she was tripped up and a penalty kick was awarded.

Initially, it appeared Alexander was going to come up and take the shot, but Hart wanted it herself and she went to the line and calmly fired a high shot past Stuart into the upper left corner to make it 3-0.

“I was about to take a shot and I got tripped up and slid for a couple feet,” Hart said. “That was my first PK, so I didn’t know what to do. I tried to stay calm. I just hit it in a general area.”

“Lucy did exactly what we tell her to do, when she beats a defender, take a touch, get the defender on your back and she’s going to foul you and that’s exactly what happened,” Carrie Earls said. “I was sending Grace up to take (the PK), but Lucy wanted it and I was all for that.”

Down the stretch, Stuart saved shots from Hart and Earls and Ayla Stutzman came out to break up a rush by Traip Academy junior Santana Sawicki and that slammed the door on the 3-0 victory.


“It’s been a dream,” said Morgan Earls. “We’ve worked so hard. When we play as a team, I think we’re pretty much unstoppable. We have so much love and support for each other and when we put our minds toward something, we think we can do it.”

Waynflete finished with a 14-3 advantage in shots on frame, got three saves from Ayla Stutzman and took five corner kicks to the Rangers’ two.

The Flyers’ defensive effort will fly under the radar, but it shouldn’t.

“Our defense has really held us together,” Iris Stutzman said. “They win every ball.”

Stuart made 11 saves for the Rangers.

It’s been awhile


Between 2006 (when it moved up from Class D to Class C) through 2016, Waynflete got to the regional final nine times, but the Flyers haven’t been back since.

Until now.

They twice beat Old Orchard Beach this fall by 2-1 margins, Sept. 28 at home and Oct. 18 on the road. Waynflete and Old Orchard Beach have played just once previously in the playoffs, a 1-0 win for the Flyers in the 2011 Western C semifinals.

Waynflete and Maranacook didn’t meet during the regular season. The Flyers lost the only prior playoff encounter, 1-0, in the 2019 Class C South quarterfinals.

Waynflete has an opportunity to punch its ticket to the state final for the first time since 2016 and is eyeing the program’s first Gold Ball since 2013.

“We really want it,” Iris Stutzman said.

“This feels great,” said Hart. “We are so ready for Wednesday. We’re excited.”

“It doesn’t matter who we play,” Carrie Earls added. “We’ll put 80 minutes together.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports

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