AUBURN – Opponents in the Western Maine Conference take notice: be ready to run when you play North Yarmouth Academy on its turf.

Playing on natural grass for the first time since their new artificial turf field was installed for this season, the Panthers showed no signs of a drop off playing on the slower surface. NYA controlled the tempo with a strong attack for a 2-0 victory over St. Dom’s in the season opener.

“We’ve spent the last couple of days playing on natural grass again,” said NYA coach Jeff Thoreck. “We knew the ball would play much slower, and that we’d have to keep more pace on the ball. Other than that, it was about keeping the field spread, keeping it deep up front, and keeping the ball on the ground.”

Cayla Marvil and Courtney Dumont scored for the Panthers, who kept the ball in the St. Dom’s defensive end for long stretches of the game and challenged freshman goalkeeper Elise Applegate with plenty of shots. The Saints moved the ball well through the midfield and up the sidelines, but had trouble penetrating the middle of NYA’s defense to get to crosses and through-balls with any consistency.

“It was pretty physical, but we kept up with it,” said St. Dom’s co-captain Heidi DeHaan. “We got pushed off the ball a lot, but we stayed strong and had our chances.”

Marvil netted the first goal of the game in the first half, settling a long lob on a corner kick from Grace Hyndman and striking a hard shot past a diving Applegate from eight yards out.

Dumont, a freshman, shook off her early-game jitters and showed she will give opposing coaches fits for the next four years with her ability to hold the ball and move it around in the defensive zone with her sharp cuts and timely passes. She nearly opened the scoring early in the game, after an Alison Carpenter shot deflected off the crossbar and came down on the goalline. Applegate dove on the ball as Dumont rushed in to collect the rebound.

“Courtney loves going to the ball, having the ball on her foot,” Thoreck said. “She plays best when she has the ball out in front of her in front of the net. Her strength is a tenacious offense.”

Dumont did break through in the second half, converting a short pass from Erin Lachance in the penalty area as Applegate was caught out of the net, rushing for the ball after a failed clear attempt. Applegate went down awkwardly on the play, leaving the net partially open, and Dumont planted the ball in the lower left corner.

“The goalie kicked it away, and then she screamed, which confused me,” said Dumont. “I looked back at Erin, and she passed it back to me. I had a straight shot at the net with the goalie trying to get back into position.”

Applegate left the game with a cramp, and fellow freshman Amy Theriault replaced her.

“I told the girls we were only beat on a dead-ball play and a miscommunication today. We had two great opportunities to score, on a through-ball and cross deep in the zone, but we just weren’t able to capitalize,” said Kathy Little, the Saints coach.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.