PORTLAND, Maine — Saturday didn’t start out well for the Presque Isle High School Wildcats. Their bus broke down in Medway on their way to the state Class B schoolgirl soccer championship game against Yarmouth at Deering High School.
And it didn’t get any better.
Yarmouth received hat tricks from sophomore midfielder Ehryn Groothoff in the first half and senior striker Hannah Merrill in the second half to make it two state titles in a row by virtue of a thorough 9-0 victory.
The Clippers, who finished the season at 17-0 and are now 33-1-1 over the past two campaigns, were superior in every aspect. They swarmed Wildcats junior goalkeeper Savannah Rodriguez, who turned in a 20-save performance while facing 49 shot attempts.
Presque Isle finished at 14-4.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Rodriguez. “It was crazy. As soon as I punted it, it was coming right back at me. They’re a great team. They deserve this.”
“They’re a complete team, without a doubt,” said Presque Isle coach Ralph Michaud who teamed up with assistant coach Dillon Kingsbury and the bus driver to put some antifreeze into the bus which enabled it to reach Governor’s Restaurant in Old Town.
As they ate lunch, they received word that they could take the University of Maine field hockey team’s bus to Portland. The Black Bears were eliminated from the America East tournament on Friday afternoon.
“We ended up coming to Portland in style,” said Michaud.
“It was rough day altogether,” said PI junior back Molly Kingsbury. “They’re one of the best teams we’ll ever play.”
“We came out with our best today,” said Yarmouth’s Groothoff. “We were focused, we wanted to win. We were driven.”
“We had the momentum going right at the start of the game,” said Merrill. “We have worked on our speed of play throughout the season and it has built up. It showed this entire game.”
Groothoff opened the scoring 7:19 into the game by out-jumping a Wildcat defender and directing a powerful downward header past Rodriguez off a Sara D’Appolonia corner kick.
She expanded the lead a couple of minutes later when Ashlyn Feeley’s long-distance shot from the right side made its way through a crowded penalty area over to her and she deposited it in the net from 14 yards out.
Groothoff made it 3-0 as she ran onto a Parker Harnett pass and hit a swerving ball with the outside of her right foot that found its way inside the near post.
Merrill scored just a minute into the second half and added her second a few minutes later to sew up the victory.
She added her third later with Eva Then, D’Appolonia and Hannah Dwyer also scoring.
“They did what they needed to do and that was to enjoy the game,” said first-year Yarmouth coach Chris Coleman. “They worked so hard to get here tonight and the reward was not play with any sort of pressure or fear and whatever happens, happens.
He also praised Rodriguez, saying “She pulled off some great saves. She hasn’t even had a bad game, either. It always tough for a ’keeper to walk away from (a game like this) but she can walk away with her head held high and look ahead to next year.”
“We heard about how good a goalie she was and she was great,” agreed Merrill.
Meredith Lane and Kate Siegel faced seven shots but only one required a save and Lane came up with the save for the Clippers.
PI’s all-time leading scorer, junior Madison Michaud, had her team’s best chance and just missed the far corner with a low shot in the second half.
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