YARMOUTH — Everyone involved with the North Yarmouth Academy girls’ soccer team knew it was time. After winning the last four Class D state championships, the Panthers – despite their enrollment of just 162 students – were ready to petition up and play in Class C this season.

“I think moving up to Class C was the best option for us. It give us a little more of a challenge, and it helps us develop our players, too,” said Hayden Wienckowski, a senior forward/midfielder.

A 3-0 win over Gray-New Gloucester on Wednesday improved NYA’s record to 4-0-1, and while it’s early in the season, the Panthers are ranked first in the Class C South Heal point standings, just ahead of defending regional champion Maranacook.

“Things are working well. The nice part is we played Class B and C schools last year anyway,” NYA Coach Ricky Doyon said. “But, we have to work a little bit harder this year.”

Last season, the Panthers were rarely tested in the regular season, outscoring opponents 63-7. Three of those goals against came in one game, a 4-3 win over Waynflete. In the playoffs, NYA’s dominance was even more pronounced. The Panthers outscored their opponents 38-1 over four games, including a 7-0 win over Richmond in the regional final and an 8-0 victory over Penobscot Valley in the state final.

The Panthers had to replace several talented players from that team, including Angel Huntsman, an all-American who scored 28 goals last season.


“We lost a lot of talent. Don’t get me wrong, we still have a lot of talent here. We’re just trying to connect those pieces now,” Doyon said. “We’re getting there. You see periods in the game where we get it. We’re trying to find the positions that suit us. We have some girls who can play anywhere on the field.”

Wednesday, all three NYA goals were scored by a freshmen. Natasha Godfrey got it started with 10:22 remaining in the first half. With 25 seconds left in the half, Caroline Matusovich scored on a breakaway.

Then, with 25:46 to go, Matusovich scored again off a corner kick.

The Panthers controlled play throughout most of the game. When Gray-New Gloucester did threaten, it was quickly stalled by a defense led by junior back Ella Giguere and senior goalie Sarah Moore.

“I think the team is really stepping up to the challenge. We’re working with a young crew this year. We’re working really well together,” said Giguere.

Doyon said he likes the way the upperclassmen have supported newcomers.


“Those upperclassmen are doing their part. It’s a team effort. They don’t need to be the goal scorers. They’ll set up all day long. We can work on our future while we’re developing and working for today,” he said.

Wienckowski said when the Panthers are on the field, whatever class you’re in is the last thing on anybody’s mind.

“It doesn’t really matter if you’re a freshman or a senior. If you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing and you’re performing well, you’re going to play,” Wienckowski said.

NYA’s schedule so far has included games against Class B opponents Freeport, Lake Region and Gray-New Gloucester, and there are games coming up against Class B South powerhouses Greely, Yarmouth and Morse.

“We’re definitely playing some difficult teams this year. We know what our challenge is going to be,” Giguere said.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.