HAMPDEN — Patience is a virtue, one that certainly paid off for the Yarmouth girls soccer team Saturday.

The Clippers scored three times within 11 minutes late in the second half, erasing a one-goal deficit to defeat Waterville 3-1 and win the Class B state championship on McGraw Field at Hampden Academy. It was the first state championship since 2003 for Yarmouth.

Waterville suffered its first and only loss of the season and finished the year at 17-1-0, having allowed as many goals in the second half Saturday as it did in all 17 games leading into it combined.

“We haven’t had a lot of sustained pressure against us, and we were bending and not breaking for a while,” Waterville head coach Mark Serdjenian said. “(The game) is 80 minutes, not 40, unfortunately. The clock did seem to be moving slowly there in the second half.”

Sara D’Appolonia had a goal and an assist for Yarmouth (16-1-1), which also got an own goal from Waterville to all but clinch the victory.

“It feels unbelievable. I can’t even express how good it feels,” D’Appolonia said. “It’s just a matter of playing as a team… I couldn’t be more grateful to have a group of girls like this. It’s super-special.”

Yarmouth enjoyed a better run of play over the first 40 minutes than did the Class B North champion Purple Panthers, yet the Clippers trailed 1-0 at halftime following a Mackenzie St. Pierre goal deep into first half stoppage time. Finding a Sophie Webb cross from 12 yards out, St. Pierre headed a bouncing ball on goal that caught Clipper goalkeeper Meredith Lane flat-footed.

As the second half began, however, Yarmouth only picked up its play. Where Waterville had been successful in the first half forcing the Clippers’ possession to safe areas, Yarmouth began finding seams in the back four in the final 40 minutes.

“The first half, there was a lot of people trying to dribble and take people on,” Yarmouth head coach Josh Thornton said. “We just told them that if we were going to try and be heroes, we were going to lose. If we played as a team, we were going to win. We had the run of the play (in the first half), we just didn’t get the luck we needed. The second half was fantastic. We put pressure on them, we didn’t give them the ball and I think it was just a matter of time.”

D’Appolonia’s drive on the counter-attack in the 45th minute forced a diving save from T.T. Brandon (12 saves), and in the 47th and 49th minutes Waterville needed quick recoveries from senior center back Jordan Jabar inside the 18-yard box to steer the Clippers clear of goal.

By the time Katherine Clemmer scored in the 63rd minute, it felt like the game had been building in that direction for some time.

Serdjenian agreed.

“Because they had the ball so much in the second half, yeah,” Serdjenian said. “We were having trouble moving the ball forward, because their possession was really strong. But I don’t think there was a wave of panic that set over us.”

Ten minutes after D’Appolonia set up Clemmer’s goal, she scored herself when Rebecca Beringer’s clear deflected off a teammate and straight onto the junior midfielder’s right foot. She wasted little time in finishing it off for a 2-1 lead.

One minute later, a cross from the left side resulted in an own goal off Waterville back Maggie Brock. It capped a half in which Yarmouth outshot Waterville by an 18-1 count.

“I thought we’d get a goal. I didn’t think we’d get three in the 10 minutes,” Thornton said. “I knew we’d break through eventually. I think when we did, I guess it was just deflation for them and we got on top of it from that point.

“There’s this inevitable tendency to kind of sit back a little bit, whether you want to or not,” Serdjenian said. “No matter how much you forewarn a team, it just sort of happens. Plus, they were really good. It’s a natural tendency, even though it’s not something you want to see happen. They were really good at moving the ball.”

“I think a couple of us kind of were a little disappointed,” D’Appolonia said of being held without a goal for more than an hour of play. “We had a good halftime talk, though, and we knew we were capable of winning this game if we put our minds to it.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

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Twitter: @TBarrettGWC