WINDHAM—Considering they’re a team with only two seniors, the Yarmouth Clippers couldn’t have asked for a more encouraging start to their season Friday morning in a girls’ lacrosse opener at Windham.

Not surprisingly, the Clippers started slowly and trailed, 3-2 with under nine minutes to go in the first half, but junior standout Aine Powers took over in the draw circle and that sparked a run that put Yarmouth ahead, 7-5, at the break.

The Clippers then dominated the second half behind Powers’ dominance in the draw circle, her passing and goal scoring and the offensive contributions of a junior secret weapon who will be a secret no longer, Neena Panozzo, as they pulled away and went on to a convincing 16-6 victory.

Panozzo had a career high six goals and three goals, Powers added five goals and four assists and Yarmouth started 1-0 for the sixth consecutive season and hinted that big things are in store once again.

“I was pleasantly surprised,” said longtime Clippers coach Dorothy Holt, who now has 201 victories with the program. “I thought it would be closer. I’m proud we pulled it together and came out with a win.”

Starting over


Yarmouth took part in the Class A state final for the first time last spring and dropped a hard-fought 11-8 decision to repeat champion Kennebunk, but it was the Clippers’ ninth straight state game appearance (the others came in Class B), something most schools can only imagine in their wildest dreams.

This spring, Yarmouth has a mere two seniors, Sadie Carnes and Sara Wentzell, but still boasts a lot of talent and should be one of the last teams standing yet again.

Windham, meanwhile, has emerged as a top-tier contender in recent seasons. Last spring, the Eagles were ousted by Falmouth, 12-7, in the Class A North semifinals.

Windham and Yarmouth met last year in the season opener and the host Clippers prevailed, 13-4.

Friday, on an unimaginably perfect mid-April morning (76 degrees at the start, rising to as high as 78 degrees in the second half), the Eagles hung tough for a long while before Yarmouth hit its stride in the second half.

Yarmouth juniors Brooke Boone, left, and Lauren Keaney sandwich Windham senior Morgan Hammond during the Clippers’ 16-6 season-opening victory Friday. Hoffer photos.

The first goal of the season was fittingly scored 81 seconds in on a free position by Panozzo, who was also part of a championship soccer team in the fall and was an all-star in basketball this winter.


Windham answered with 16:08 to go in the first half, when junior Mallory Muse beat Clippers junior goalie Regan Sullivan on a free position, but with 14:31 left, Panozzo answered with a second free position goal, beating junior Riley Small.

The Eagles tied the score again with 12:11 on the clock, when promising freshman Abby Trainor scored her first varsity goal in unorthodox fashion, batting home a loose ball from the turf, hockey-style, to make it 2-2.

Muse then added a free position goal with 9:35 remaining and Windham was on top for the first time, but the lead wouldn’t last and when Holt replaced junior Lauren Keaney in the draw circle with Powers, momentum turned for good.

After Powers won the ensuing draw, junior Brooke Boone rolled the crease, then beat Small to tie the game for the third and final time with 8:36 remaining.

After Powers won the next draw, Yarmouth went on top to stay with 7:10 left, as Powers threw a pretty high pass to Panozzo, who caught the ball and fired a shot into the net.

The next goal needed just 15 seconds, as Powers won the draw and again passed to Panozzo, who scored for the fourth time to make it 5-3.


“It was a little bit of a momentum change,” said Powers. “Personally, I thought I had to wake up a little bit. It’s really good having Lauren and Sadie and sometimes Neena on the circle. It makes me more confident in my draw. I can either push it to them or put it up to myself.”

“We haven’t had a lot of time to work on draws,” Holt said. “We thought we’d mix it up. We just had to settle down and take care of the ball.”

After Powers was robbed by Small, Powers set up Carnes for a goal with 4:18 on the clock, capping a four-goals-in-a-4-minutes-18-seconds span to stretch the lead to three.

The Eagles got off the deck 18 seconds later, when Trainor scored again on a rebound, this time on a shot from junior Marlie Ennis.

With 3:08 to go, Trainor took a pass from sophomore Grace Joly, turned and scored and Windham was only down one, but after Boone hit the post, Powers scored for the first time, from Panozzo with 1:03 remaining, and the Clippers took a 7-5 advantage to the half.

Yarmouth senior Sadie Carnes shadows Windham senior Ashley Clark in a footrace up the field.

With Windham senior Morgan Hammond sidelined by a yellow card to start the second half, Yarmouth capitalized 56 seconds in, as Panozzo set up Powers for another goal.


Sullivan then began to make her presence felt by denying freshman Neve Ledbetter.

With 18:51 to play, Powers scored for the third straight time, again from Panozzo, and with 17:29 remaining, Powers did it again, this time on a free position, and just like that, the Clippers were up by a 10-5 margin.

The Eagles answered with 16:15 to go, as Muse set up Trainor for a goal, but Sullivan wouldn’t be beaten again.

A mere 38 seconds later, Boone got the goal back on a free position.

Sullivan then ended any lingering Windham hopes by denying shots from Joly on a free position, Joly, Trainor and Trainor again.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in a net,” said Sullivan, who is also a goalie in soccer. “This one’s a lot smaller than soccer. Being in there, I’ve learned to read people and watch them. I’ve learned a lot from practicing against players like Neena and Aine. That’s made me a lot better.”


Panozzo returned to her goal-scoring ways with 10:53 left, finishing a pass from Keaney.

After Trainor hit the post, Powers scored her final goal, from sophomore Bryn Cain, with 8:05 on the clock.

After Sullivan robbed Joly, Keaney set up Panozzo for her final goal with 6:37 to go.

Keaney then got in on the goal scoring fun 45 seconds later, finishing unassisted.

After Sullivan made one more big stop, on a shot from junior Emma Ammons, Powers set up Boone for one final goal just as time expired and Yarmouth was able to celebrate a 16-6 victory.

“This is great,” said Powers. “I’m so excited to get back out here. We’ve been working so hard in practice. We started off a little slowly, but at the end, it shows how hard we worked. Regan had amazing saves, our defense didn’t let anything through and our attack really connected on passes. ”


“We’ve really become a team,” said Panozzo. “We always fill the shoes of the last graduating class and we always step up.”

“I think today was amazing,” Holt added. “How they persevered. Everyone played a role in that win. We’re so young. The first six or eight minutes showed that when we couldn’t pick up a ground ball on grass. I don’t have people in their regular position yet because we’re still trying things out.”

Panozzo produced a career high in goals with six and added three assists.

“Connecting with Aine helped today,” Panozzo said. “I’m confident she’ll get me the ball. Most teams will be watching Aine, so a lot of us know we have to help fill the scoring role.”

Powers, who is closing in on 100 career goals in just two seasons plus one game, scored five times and added four assists. Powers also won 13 of 19 draw opportunities, helping the Clippers control that important category, 14-9.

Boone finished with three goals and Carnes and Keaney each produced one. Keaney also had a pair of assists and Cain added one.


Sullivan made 11 saves, many of the clutch variety when the game was still hanging in the balance.

Sullivan suffered a serious concussion at the soccer state game in November and saw only limited time during the basketball season this winter. While she says she’s still not 100 percent, she is happy to be back contributing in a big way.

“I still have symptoms, but I’m honestly happy to be walking around right now,” Sullivan said. “It could have been worse. It was really scary. I’m super-happy to be back playing.”

“It’s been a long road for (Regan), but she stood in there tough today,” Holt said. “She saved a lot of free positions and that’s big. We’ve worked really hard one-on-one with the goalies and I think it’s showing.”

Yarmouth had a two-to-one edge in ground balls, 35-17, as Powers collected a game-high nine and Carnes and Keaney each scooped up four.

The Clippers overcame a dozen turnovers and enjoyed a 28-22 shots advantage (22-17 on frame).


Windham was paced by Trainor, who debuted with four goals. Muse added two goals and one assists.

Ennis and Joly also had an assist.

Small made five saves.

Trainor had a team-high four ground balls and Ledbetter collected three.

The Eagles turned the ball over 12 times.

Next up


Windham is back in action Tuesday at Oxford Hills.

Yarmouth will spend several days in Florida during vacation week, then opens the home portion of its schedule Monday, April 24 when Massabesic pays a visit. Games against Cape Elizabeth and Kennebunk follow.

“You should never underestimate us, ever,” said Sullivan. “Playing against the best teams will only make us better. I know I’ll get scored on and that’s alright, but I’m excited.”

“We have a gritty, athletic team,” Powers said. “We’ll get better and better as the season goes on. We have so many amazing athletes. We just need to keep our composure and work on our confidence. Our younger players are really good, but they haven’t played at this level. If they keep capitalizing on their skills, we can get a lot better.”

“It’s going to be awesome to be in Florida,” Holt added. “Then, we’ll get right in it. Those tough games will help us grow. We still have a lot to clean up.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at

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