FALMOUTH—After successive subpar offensive efforts, the Falmouth field hockey team broke out in a big way Monday afternoon, scoring five times in an impressive 5-1 home victory over rival Greely.
The Yachtsmen were sparked by the play of the Aaskov sisters, seniors Amber and Jacki, who combined for three goals and two assists. Falmouth got a goal from each girl in the first half, then, after the Rangers made it 2-1 and almost tied it, the Yachtsmen erupted for two goals in an 129 second span, then put it away with one more to improve to 4-2 on the season.
“We started out strong and Greely got in a rhythm,” said Falmouth coach Robin Haley. “We got a little
nervous. Greely’s one of those teams that can come on and go right at
you and score two or three quick goals. It just bounced our way.”
Falmouth and Greely are traditionally among the top teams in Western Class B and both expect to make a run at the crown in 2009.
The Yachtsmen reached the regional final a year ago for the first time since 1977 and lost in penalty corners to eventual state champion York. Falmouth opened the new season decisive victories over Lake Region (5-1), Yarmouth (6-1) and Fryeburg (4-1), but then went cold last week, losing 2-0 at home to York and 2-0 at Wells.
The Rangers, meanwhile, were upset in the quarterfinals last fall, ending an seven-year string of reaching at least the semifinals. They began 2009 with wins over Fryeburg (5-1) and Lake Region (5-3), then lost 3-1 at York. After a 1-0 home victory over Cape Elizabeth, Greely was handed a 5-1 home defeat by Wells Friday.
Last year, the rivals split. The Rangers enjoyed a 2-0 victory in Cumberland before the Yachtsmen rolled to a 3-0 triumph in Falmouth.
Monday, the action was fast and furious, but the hosts were able to finish with more regularity.
Greely produced some early pressure, but couldn’t convert. Moments after a shot on a penalty corner went wide, Rangers sophomore CeCi Hodgkins fired a blast just wide of the cage.
Falmouth then transitioned on offense and quickly got the jump. Nobody hits the ball hard and far like Yachtsmen senior Nicole Foley and Foley set the stage for the first goal with a long pass ahead to junior Stephanie Gramse, who did a nice job stopping the ball and playing it forward. Gramse then passed to Jacki Aaskov, who got to the ball just before Greely junior Hannah McCord and sent it into the goal for a 1-0 advantage.
With 15:48 to play in the first half, Amber Aaskov got in on the fun, making it 2-0 Falmouth when she scored on a rebound goal. Again, Foley got the play started, sending a pass into the circle where Jacki Aaskov sent it to her sister, who finished the play.
“Nicole’s drives are usually really high, but today they were on target,” said Amber Aaskov.
Greely took a timeout and had a couple chances before halftime to answer, but a Hodgkins shot was denied by Falmouth junior Kelsey Freedman, a bid from sophomore Julia DeWolfe was also turned away and with 1:22 to go, Hodgkins appeared primed for a point blank shot on a penalty corner, but Freedman made a sliding save to prevent it.
At the half, the Rangers had a 5-4 edge in corners, but the Yachtsmen held the lead.
The Rangers came out a different team in the second half and made things interesting.
In the first minute, DeWolfe got free for a shot on a corner, but it was saved. Then, with 26:42 left in regulation, senior Kate Storey got Greely on the board, redirecting sophomore Eliza Porter’s shot on a corner to make it a 2-1 game.
A little over a minute later, the Rangers almost tied it, but Hodgins’ bid was kicked aside by Freedman leading to a corner which went for naught.
Then, with 20:38 to play, Falmouth went back on top by two when Gramse deflected yet another Foley blast past McCord and into the cage. Just 2 minutes, 9 seconds later, Gramse struck again, grabbing a rebound of a Foley shot and banging it home while falling to the ground for a commanding 4-1 advantage.
With 11:42 to go, Jacki Aaskov set up Amber Aaskov for one final tally and the Yachtsmen went on to the 5-1 victory.
“It felt great,” Jacki Aaskov said. “We had a new setup going. It worked much better. We
were spread out more. We were a little bit worried. We kept our heads
“We were struggling in the middle the last two games, but I think we’ve picked it back up,” said Amber Aaskov. “We’ll keep playing hard.”
“We’d struggled in a couple games,” Haley added. “It felt good to score some goals today. Hopefully we can maintain that level. Greely always brings out the best in us. It’s a great, friendly rivalry. It’s a game we always look forward to. York and Wells pointed out some key weaknesses in our field play. That’s what we need to work on to be more competitive against all the teams we play.”
Falmouth had an 18-11 edge in shots. Greely had a 9-8 advantage in corners. Freedman made 10 saves. McCord stopped nine.
The Rangers fell to 3-3 with the setback, but still feel they’re a top contender.
“I’m not upset about the loss,” said Greely coach Kristina Lane Prescott. “The girls played well. We could have executed better. The final score was misleading. Greely field hockey usually takes about 10 minutes to realize we’re playing. The more we warm up, the stronger we seem to get. I’m not discouraged. It’s been a rough week. We’re about to have our fourth straight game without a practice, which is killing us. Falmouth’s always a strong team. I’d rather lose to a really strong team.”
Greely returns to action Tuesday at home against Yarmouth. Friday brings a home game against Lake Region.
Falmouth hosts Cape Elizabeth Wednesday and welcomes Yarmouth Friday.
The Yachtsmen go to the Rangers on Oct. 7.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Greely freshman Rachel Hanson and Falmouth senior Emma Sipperly fought for a loose ball during Monday’s action.
Falmouth senior Allison Tietjen moved the ball upfield while the Greely defense gave chase during the Yachtsmen’s 5-1 win.
Greely junior Jackie Andrews sent a shot on goal with Falmouth senior Emma Sipperly closing in. The Rangers produced plenty of chances, but scored just once.