RICHMOND — For the first time in nine years, the Richmond girls soccer team won’t play in the Class D state championship game.

The top-seeded Bobcats have won five of the last eight titles, including last year’s, but Wednesday they lost 1-0 to second-seeded North Yarmouth Academy in the Class D South regional final.

North Yarmouth (13-3-1) moves to Saturday’s championship game in Bath against Central Aroostook while Richmond finishes at 12-4-1.

Wednesday’s game figured to be close. The Bobcats tied NYA midway through the regular season then lost to the Panthers 3-2 in the season finale.

“I knew it was going to be a 1-0 game, one way or another, their way or ours,” NYA coach Rick Doyon said.

Junior Serena Mower scored the game-winner with 25:17 left to play when she took advantage of a defensive mistake. A Richmond defender tried to clear the ball near the top of the penalty area but her kick went straight up in the air and spun backwards toward Mower.

“All of a sudden I saw the ball coming at me and I said ‘I gotta put it in.’ ” Mower said. “I just tapped it right in.”

Mower gained possession of the ball to the left of Liz Johnson, Richmond’s freshman goalkeeper, and she booted it to the right corner. Mower is one of seven players who transferred to North Yarmouth after the Maine Girls Academy, formerly McAuley High School, closed its doors last spring.

Times Record photo by Eric Maxim Richmond’s Paige Lebel (20) dribbles past NYA’s Helen Hamblett during the Class D South regional final Wednesday in Portland. Times Record photo by Eric Maxim

“Four or them are starters and the rest fill in,” Doyon said.

Both teams had chances in the first half. Richmond’s Bryannah Shea narrowly lost a race to the ball with NYA goalie Carly Downey (eight saves) with three minutes left. Then in the closing seconds, Mower appeared to have a breakaway only to be caught at the last second by Richmond defender MaryBeth Sloat.

“I expected the conditions to be a little bit muddy because it had just rained,” Mower said. “It was a bit of a mess out there. I know I, myself, and everyone else was just falling all over the place.”

The Panthers were a bit bigger, stronger and more physical than the Bobcats and took control of the first 15 minutes of the second half. But after they scored, Richmond carried most of the play.

“I thought we played well enough to win,” Richmond coach Troy Kendrick said. “It’s a game of chances and they had a couple of good ones but I thought we won the territorial battle. We had them pinned in their half a lot.”

Times Record photo by Eric Maxim Richmond’s Emma Carbone, left, traps the ball in front of NYA’s Jasmine Huntsman during the first half of Wednesday’s Class D South regional final in Portland. Times Record photo by Eric Maxim

The Bobcats held an 8-5 advantage in shots on goal, but two of the best scoring opportunities of the second half weren’t on the net.

With 8:50 left to play, senior Caitlin Kendrick blasted a shot from 25 yards out that hit squarely off the crossbar. Just seconds later, junior midfielder Abigail Johnson hit a ball from the left of Downey that skittered just inches wide of the right post.

“I thought these kids got better over the course of the season,” Coach Kendrick said. “We got as much out of them as we could. That’s a pretty good team right there.”

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