Panthers finally break through
PORTLAND This season was about family for the North Yarmouth Academy girls´ lacrosse team.
And on Saturday, they did what families do: find a way to work together.
The Panthers hoisted their first Class B state championship trophy at Fitzpatrick Stadium, following a dominating 7-3 win over longtime rival Waynflete. The Flyers had hoisted the last two.
Six players scored, and Ashley Salerno made 12 saves.
It was a sweet day for the Panthers, who rose together under the hot sun, to cap a season with some dark times.
"At halftime (captain) Courtney Dumont told the girls, ´This is our game. This is not their game. It doesn´t matter that they´ve beaten us here before,´ " said Coach Julia Sterling, who had missed several weeks with an illness. "She has been a complete leader. And the girls from the day we said family, have really become a family. This is huge for us."
Dumont, who is the team´s most prolific scorer, was held without a shot on Saturday while being marked heavily.
Her presence was strong still, as she won draws and voiced her leadership.
Sterling had plucked Dumont and junior Lilly Wellenbach out of practice at times over the last two weeks, just so others could learn to manage the game.
The response: NYA got four goals from sophomores, one from a freshman.
"The younger girls did an amazing job today," said Wellenbach. "Everyone had a part in our win. Our success came from being able to work the ball and wait for an opportunity. I can´t even describe how this feels."
Sophomore Kylie Dalbec scored the game´s first two goals at 22:33 and 15:27 of the first half. Wellenbach made it 3-0 at 12:27.
"We are on top of the world right now," said Dumont. "We really trust each other. When it comes down to the game you don´t know who will be free. I could not be more proud of my team. This was a great way to end a phenomenal four years."
Waynflete got on the board when Amy Allen scored with 9:51 to play in the first half, and Morgan Woodhouse scored unassisted with 1:39 to play to make it 3-2. NYA sophomore Katherine Millett finished a free position to make it 4-2 at the half.
In the second half, sophomore Hannah Twombly scored to make it, 5-2.
Woodhouse got on board again with a free position, before Rebecca McKelvy drove the field to score with 3:20 to go.
"Their whole team played beautifully," said Flyers Coach Cathie Connors. "It just wasn´t our day. We struggled to put the ball in the net. It was their day. Their turn."
NYA outshot Waynflete 20-13, and won seven draws to five by the Flyers.
"I was feeling on today. But the defense cut down the angles and made it easier for me," said Salerno, a senior. "I can´t even explain how this feels right now. It was such an amazing experience. We really pulled together through some rough spots."
Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at: