YARMOUTH — For the seventh time in the past eight seasons, the Yarmouth girls lacrosse team will play for a state championship.

The Clippers posed too many threats for a game Messalonskee side on Wednesday, getting six goals from senior midfielder Eva Then and five more from sophomore Ehren Groothoff as top-seeded Yarmouth powered its way to a 17-10 win over No. 4 Messalonskee in the Class B state semifinals. The Clippers will play for the program’s seventh state title on Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

“We have a few go-to plays that give us possession for a good amount of time in the attacking half,” Then said. “We’ve really just been working those plays, making good passes and being consistent. That’s what’s been helping us.”

While things have changed dramatically in the girls lacrosse scene statewide this season — with the restructuring of Class B to a single statewide division and and the addition of a Class C — none of the changes have affected Yarmouth, the Class B state champion in 2006, 2007, 2011, 2014 and 2015. The Clippers also won a Class A title in 2002.

Kennebunk, which handed Yarmouth consecutive state championship losses in 2016 and 2017, is now in Class A. Messalonskee (9-5), meanwhile dropped to Class B this season after dropping the Class A state title game a year ago.

The reshuffling did little to slow the Clippers, whose only two losses of the season have come against Class A competition. The only thing missing Wednesday was the presentation of a regional championship trophy for the Clippers, who had won five straight North titles entering the season.

“Last year, we had an undefeated (regular) season and didn’t really experience a loss,” Then said. “Now, we know what it’s like to be down against really good opponents. I think that’s going to help us and we can use it to our advantage (Saturday).”

Senior midfielder Meredith Lane was a catalyst all afternoon for the Clippers, finishing with two goals and six assists. Whether she was setting up Then or Groothoff, she seemed never to make a poor decision with the ball in front of the goal.

“Meredith has ball control, and so does Eva,” Yarmouth coach Dorothy Holt said. “They can make all their teammates look good. They can hold the ball and create a sense of calm.”

Peaking at the right time of the season, Yarmouth was simply too effective in possession in all areas of the field for Messalonskee to contain.

After the fifth of six Ally Turner goals for the Eagles cut the Yarmouth lead to 12-8 early in the second half, Holt called timeout. Her charges responded with two goals 35 seconds apart from Groothoff and Then to all but put the game out of reach at 14-8 with 12:20 remaining.

“You just have to know if the fastbreak is on, the fastbreak is on,” Then said. “If it’s not, you have to pull right out, settle and give a little bit of time for the middies to take a breath so you can go right back at it again.”

The Clippers were so efficient that they killed off two prolonged man-down situations, one in each half, by simply holding onto the ball long enough for the penalty time to expire.

“They have great team chemistry and a team bond,” Messalonskee coach Crystal Leavitt said. “They work hard together. They’re a great team.”

Senior Emma Marston scored the first of her two goals inside the final five minutes following a nearly three-minute offensive set, one kept alive by three ground ball wins in traffic in front of the cage.

“The girls showed a sense of confidence and ball control that this is the time of year you need to see that,” Holt said. “(Messalonskee) fought us every step of the way. We possessed the ball, picked up ground balls and communicated really well. At this time of year, that’s what you need to be doing. You need to be working really hard together.”

Junior goalkeeper Isabella Serrano made six saves for Yarmouth, keeping Messalonskee off the board on four of their eight free position restarts.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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