PORTLAND—This one was personal.

After losing in consecutive postseasons to its rival, including an agonizing double-overtime setback a year ago, Waynflete’s girls’ lacrosse team wasn’t about to stumble again when North Yarmouth Academy paid a visit to Fore River Fields for a Class C state quarterfinal Saturday morning.

Where the second-seeded Flyers produced an utterly dominant first half and went on to a decisive and therapeutic victory.

And even more important than getting a taste of revenge, Waynflete is now just two victories from a state championship.

The seventh-ranked Panthers opened the scoring, but the next 10 goals went to the Flyers, who held a commanding 12-3 halftime lead, thanks in part to the brilliance of senior standout Tilsley Kelly in the draw circle and an unstoppable, balanced attack.

Waynflete induced a mercy rule running clock in the third quarter and scored six more times before going on to an 18-5 victory.


Junior Lydia Birknes scored five goals, senior Chloe Marblestone and junior Skylar Harris added four apiece and Kelly added three goals, to go with 18 draw wins, as the Flyers improved to 11-4, earned their first playoff win over NYA since 2009, ended the Panthers’ season at 6-9 and advanced to the state semifinals where they will take on No. 6 Traip Academy (10-5) Wednesday at Lewiston High School, at a time to be announced.

“I’m really excited,” said longtime Waynflete coach Cathie Connors, after her 331st career victory. “We weren’t going to lose to them again in the playoffs. It wasn’t an option.”

A rite of spring

Waynflete has been the state’s most storied girls’ program since lacrosse first fell under the auspices of the Maine Principals’ Association a quarter-century ago. NYA has been a perennial powerhouse as well and that means that the teams have often crossed paths in the month of June, often with a championship at stake (see sidebar for previous playoff results).

Last year’s state quarterfinal was among the most memorable of Flyers-Panthers battles, as Waynflete rallied late to force overtime before NYA survived in the second OT on a goal from Leah Dube.

This spring, the Flyers emerged early as the team to beat, not losing a game against a Class C foe en route to a 10-4 regular season record, while the Panthers overcame a slow start, came of age and while their 6-8 record wasn’t formidable, a near upset of Freeport to end the campaign got everyone’s attention (see sidebar for links to previous stories).


In the teams’ regular season meeting May 2 in Yarmouth, Waynflete rolled to a 14-5 victory, as Birknes scored six goals, Marblestone added four and Kelly had eight assists, negating three goals from NYA junior Lyla Casey.

Saturday, on a day which started sunny with clouds (68 degrees at the start) before the skies turned ominous at the end, the Flyers made sure there would be no drama this time around, thanks to a masterful performance.

Waynflete senior Tilsley Kelly looks to get around NYA junior Nell Rohde early in the Flyers’ 18-5 victory in Saturday’s Class C state quarterfinal. Photos courtesy Brian Beard.

Kelly won the draw to start the game, but Waynflete turned the ball over.

NYA then got the jump with 10:38 to go in the first period, as sophomore Ava Wilkinson fought through the defense, then fired a shot past Flyers freshman goalie Mya Clark.

But that would be the high point of the Panthers’ day.

A mere 46 seconds later, the Flyers drew even, as Harris scored on a free position.


With 8:11 on the clock, Kelly’s free position goal gave Waynflete the lead for good.

With 7:09 left, Marblestone beat NYA junior goalie Salin Bachor with a free position shot and 16 seconds later, Kelly fed Birknes for her first goal and a 4-1 lead, forcing Panthers coach Molly Moss-Stokes to call timeout.

It didn’t turn the tide, as Kelly won the ensuing draw and while she was robbed point blank by Sachor, the Flyers kept possession and with 5:50 remaining, Birknes’ free position goal extended the advantage.

Late in the quarter, Lyla Casey had a look to pull NYA closer, but it sailed wide and Waynflete took a 5-1 lead to the second period.

Where it completely pulled away.

NYA junior Lyla Casey pressures Waynflete junior Lydia Birknes, who had a game-high five goals.

Just 57 seconds in, Birknes scored on a free position.


Kelly then won the ensuing draw and scored unassisted to make it 7-1 with 10:51 still to go in the first half.

“The draw is so important because possession is so important,” Kelly said. “Sometimes, I try to get it to myself because I trust I can get it, but if the ball goes to the side, I know Chloe or Lydia or (junior) Fallon (Culley) will get it.”

“Tilsley was great on the draw today,” Connors said. “That was a difference-maker.”

With 9:05 remaining, Kelly fed Marblestone for a goal and Moss-Stokes had to use her final timeout.

Again, it didn’t have the desired effect, as Kelly scored on a free position with 8:25 to go, then Harris buried a free position 45 seconds later for a stunning 10-1 advantage.

NYA was able to avoid a running clock before halftime, as Casey set up Wilkinson for a goal in transition with 5:33 left, snapping the Flyers’ 10-0 run and a 17 minute, 5 second scoring drought, and after Marblestone answered, unassisted, for Waynflete, Casey scored on a free position with 1:35 to go.


After Harris hit the crossbar, Marblestone bounced a shot home through traffic and the Flyers took a 12-3 lead to the break.

In the first half, Kelly won 13 of 17 draws and Waynflete had an emphatic 20-6 edge in shots.

NYA junior Nell Rohde runs up the field as Waynflete junior Fallon Culley gives chase.

The second half would be quick, as the Flyers induced a running clock just over a minute in, on a free position goal from Birknes.

After Birknes fought through the defense and scored unassisted with 9:50 on the clock, Harris hit the crossbar, but she managed to corral the rebound and send it home with 7:58 remaining.

Harris then scored unassisted with 5:29 left and after Clark robbed Panthers senior Lauryn Casey, in transition, Marblestone set up senior Sasha Melnick for another goal.

With 1:34 to go, Waynflete scored for the final time, as Culley found senior Izzy Gleason for a goal and the score was 18-3 heading for the fourth period.


There, Clark stood tall by denying Lauryn Casey, Wilkinson on a free position, then Lyla Casey, while junior Gwen Curran hit the post.

With 4:11 remaining, Curran set up Wilkinson for a goal, ending another long (21:24) drought.

After Lyla Casey hit the post, Wilkinson scored on a free position with 1:30 left, but it was far too little, too late and the Flyers ran out the clock and celebrated their 18-5 victory.

Waynflete coach Cathie Connors hugs senior Chloe Marblestone late in the contest. Hoffer photo.

“It feels really good,” Kelly said. “We had jitters going in, but we knew it was such a big game. We came out so strong and backed each other up. We’ve been working for this all season. Cathie knows how to get us ready for playoffs.”

“The biggest thing we talk about is trust and today, we trusted each other on offense,” Marblestone said. “You could see that on the field and on the scoreboard. We were passing to each other and that was our key to success. We just had good energy today. We just wanted it.”

“We’ve been focusing on just going all out,” added Connors. “Everybody came together and just did it. We’ve had 6 a.m. practices the past two days and we maximized the time. Everybody showed up today and played hard. Everybody did their job. It was a full team effort.”


Birknes paced a powerhouse offense with five goals. Harris and Marblestone each added four.

Marblestone, who was at a boarding school previously, is new to the team this year, but has been a welcome and crucial addition.

“I was actually at the NYA game last year,” Marblestone said. “This team has welcomed me with open arms. I’ve never felt like a new player.”

“Chloe’s wonderful,” Kelly said. “She’s everywhere, assisting and scoring goals. It’s nice having her and knowing I can trust her so much.”

“Chloe’s brought wonderful energy,” added Connors. “She has beautiful stick skills. She just wants the ball all the time. She blended in with us immediately.”

Kelly scored three goals and Gleason and Melnick also tickled the twine.


Kelly had two assists, while Culley and Marblestone finished with one apiece.

“We’ve had a lot of girls step up,” said Kelly.

“We had great balance today,” Connors said.

Clark made seven saves.

Waynflete won 19 of 26 draws, had a 16-13 edge in ground balls (Birknes, Marblestone and junior Leah Kramer led the way with three apiece), enjoyed a 32-17 advantage in shots (22-12 on cage) and overcame 17 turnovers, nine of which came in the fourth quarter, long after the game was decided and after wholesale substitutions were made.

Growth process


NYA’s offense featured four goals from Wilkinson and one from Lyla Casey, who also had an assist, as did Curran.

Bachor saved four shots.

Lyla Casey scooped up a game-high four ground balls.

The Panthers turned the ball over on 17 occasions.

“It was a tough start,” said Moss-Stokes. “They kept getting us off the draw and we never got momentum to swing our way. We got in a deep hole and Waynflete just a really good team. I hope they go all the way.

“We had a whole new squad this year, so it was about seeing how we could put it together. We came a long way.”


Lauryn Casey is the team’s only senior, so expect NYA to return with a vengeance in 2025.

“We only lose Lauryn and we have a good squad of eighth graders coming in,” said Moss-Stokes. “This year will be beneficial for us going forward. I hope this will light a fire under the girls.”

Road show

This spring, for the first time, the state semifinals are being contested at neutral sites, so Waynflete will travel to the turf field at Lewiston High Wednesday, looking to punch its ticket to the Class C state final, which is next Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

The Flyers beat visiting Traip Academy, 13-6, May 23.

Waynflete won both prior playoff meetings with a 16-7 victory in last year’s preliminary round the most recent.


The Flyers know what they have to do and if they play anything like they did against NYA, no one is going to stop them.

“We have to keep trusting each other,” Marblestone said. “We have to keep pushing ourselves and keeping our motivation up.”

“It’s all coming together,” said Kelly. “I feel like we have so much heart on this team. We’ll do our best to finish this off.”

“We’ll totally stay grounded,” Connors added. “We just talked about it. We have to come out like we did today.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net.

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