Big victories in early going for local squads-Northern edition

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Yarmouth’s Noah Eckersley-Ray tries to get a hand on a Mountain Valley pass during the Clippers’ down-to-the-wire 27-25 victory Friday.

Freeport goalie Megan Seymour denies North Yarmouth Academy’s Kiersten Marr for one of her 25 saves in the teams’ 1-1 tie Saturday morning.

Falmouth’s Madi Tait exults after a point during the undefeated Yachtsmen’s 3-0 home win over Gorham last week.

Freeport’s Henry Jaques races toward a first-place finish at last week’s meet at St. Dom’s. The Falcons came in first as a team as well.

(Ed. Note: For the complete Falmouth-Greely, Freeport-NYA, NYA-St. Dom’s and Yarmouth-York field hockey and Falmouth-Gorham volleyball stories, with additional photos, see theforecaster.net) 

The fall sports season has begun in positive fashion for local squads and there has already been no shortage of memorable contests.

Here’s a glimpse at where things stand with the first full week of the season under our belts:

Football

Yarmouth’s defending Class C South champion football team had a big scare Friday in Rumford, but held on to beat Mountain Valley, 27-25, to improve to 2-0. The Clippers, who extended their regular season win streak to 11 with a 45-13 victory at Lake Region in week one, got a huge effort from quarterback John Thoma, who threw for 234 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another. A 43-yard Thoma to Jack True scoring pass put Yarmouth ahead, 7-0, but the Falcons rallied to tie the game, 7-7, a score which remained until the second half. Thoma’s 4-yard TD run gave the Clippers the lead for good in the third period and Thoma hit True (140 receiving yards) for a 28-yard score and Remi Leblanc for a 23-yard touchdown to build a 27-7 lead in the fourth quarter, but Mountain Valley roared back to pull within two before a potential game-tying two-point conversion attempt failed and Yarmouth held on.

”Mountain Valley is a physical team,” Clippers coach Jason Veilleux said. ”Our line is young, but we moved the ball. John Thoma is a three-year starter and the passing game is a big threat. He holds nearly every passing record in Yarmouth history.”

The Clippers play their home opener Friday versus 0-2 Poland. Last fall, Yarmouth rolled at the Knights, 49-0.

Freeport, which beat Poland in its opener, lost, 53-0, at powerhouse Wells Friday to fall to 1-1. The Warriors returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, built a 41-0 halftime advantage and went on to victory. The Falcons host Gray-New Gloucester Saturday (see theforecaster.net for game story). Last year, Freeport lost at the Patriots, 36-0.

Falmouth, a regional finalist in 2015, has been very impressive in the early going, adding to its season opening win at York with a 37-13 home victory over Westbrook Friday. The Yachtsmen were paced by quarterback Jack Bryant, who threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more. Bryant’s first TD run put Falmouth ahead to stay early. Bryant’s second scoring run, preceded by a touchdown rush from Garret Aube, made it 21-0. After a Yachtsmen safety, the Blue Blazes pulled within 23-7 at halftime, but Bryant threw second half touchdown passes to Brock Welch and Jack Kidder to help the Yachtsmen put it away. Falmouth hopes to improve to 3-0 Friday, but it will face a big test at 2-0 Biddeford. Last year, the host Yachtsmen held off the Tigers, 14-7. 

Greely followed up its season opening 12-0 loss to Kennebunk with a 48-6 setback at two-time defending Class B champion Marshwood in a playoff rematch. The Rangers touchdown came on a pass from Nick Gauvin to Joey Cassella. Greely hopes to get in the win column Friday when it hosts 0-2 Noble. Last year, the Rangers lost, 33-13, to the Knights in North Berwick.

Boys’ soccer

Yarmouth’s two-time defending Class B state champion boys’ soccer team hasn’t played much in the early going, but has impressed nonetheless. Saturday, the Clippers improved to 2-0 by beating visiting York, 5-1, behind two goals apiece from Matt Dostie and Eric LaBrie and another from Gibson Harnett. Yarmouth returns to action Friday with a showdown at ancient rival Falmouth. Tuesday brings a trip to Cape Elizabeth.

Falmouth settled for 0-0 tie at Cape Elizabeth last Tuesday and took a 1-0-1 record into Tuesday’s contest at York. After hosting Yarmouth Friday and Waynflete Saturday (game time has been changed to 6 p.m.), the Yachtsmen are at Greely Tuesday of next week.

Freeport began the season 2-0 with a 1-0 home win over Fryeburg Academy last week. Max Heathco had the goal. The Falcons look to stay perfect Thursday at Kennebunk. After hosting Wells Saturday, Freeport plays host to Gray-New Gloucester Tuesday.

Greely fell to 0-2 with a 2-0 loss at York last Tuesday, then got in the win column Thursday with a 2-0 home victory over Kennebunk. Hunter Graham and Quinn Molloy scored the Rangers’ first goals of the season. After going to Fryeburg Academy Tuesday, Greely is home with Cape Elizabeth Thursday and welcomes Falmouth Tuesday of next week.

North Yarmouth Academy earned its first win, 3-0, at Fryeburg Academy last Thursday, then fell to 1-2 after a 2-0 setback at Cape Elizabeth Saturday. The Panthers host St. Dom’s Thursday and Gray-New Gloucester Saturday and go to Traip Academy Tuesday of next week.

Girls’ soccer

On the girls’ side, defending Class B state champion Greely improved to 2-0 with a 3-0 win at Kennebunk last Thursday. Anna DeWolfe scored twice and Courtney Sullivan also tickled the twine. The Rangers hosted Fryeburg Academy Tuesday, welcome Cape Elizabeth Thursday and are home with Falmouth Tuesday of next week.

Yarmouth had to settle for a 1-1 draw with visiting York Saturday. Cory Langenbach had the goal. The 1-0-1 Clippers went to Lake Region Tuesday, visit Falmouth Thursday (see theforecaster.net for game story), host Gray-New Gloucester Saturday and welcome Cape Elizabeth Tuesday of next week.

Freeport is off to a promising 2-0 start following Saturday’s 4-2 win at Traip Academy. Jessie Driscoll and Catriona Gould both scored two goals. The Falcons host Kennebunk Thursday and Wells Saturday and go to Gray-New Gloucester Tuesday.

Falmouth evened its record at 1-1 last Tuesday with a 2-1 home victory over Cape Elizabeth. The Yachtsmen were home with York Tuesday, welcome Yarmouth Thursday, play at St. Dom’s Saturday and visit Greely Tuesday of next week.

Field hockey

Falmouth’s field hockey team has lived up to billing in the early going and improved to 5-0 after recent wins over host Fryeburg Academy (2-0), visiting Gray-New Gloucester (8-1) and host Greely (2-0). Kate Kelley and Devon Sarazin scored against the Raiders and Sydney Bell assisted on both goals. Bell and Bella Libby both had three goals, while Sarazin and Maddie Rouhana had one apiece in the win over the Patriots. At the Rangers, Bell scored in the first half and Sarazin added a second goal and the Yachtsmen didn’t allow a single shot on goal.

“Greely always has strong teams and we couldn’t underestimate them,” said Bell. “They came out this afternoon wanting to win. It’s a huge transition going from turf to grass and it’s hard to adjust, but we did get two goals. It’s something we have to get used to.” 

“Greely has some really solid players and I kept telling the girls in timeouts that they’re a team that can catch you when you least expect it and that we couldn’t lose focus,” said Falmouth coach Robin Haley.

The Yachtsmen were at undefeated, two-time defending Class B champion York Wednesday, visit Lake Region Friday and host NYA Tuesday.

Yarmouth enjoyed wins at Wells (7-1) and Lake Region (6-0) last week to give coach Amy Ashley her 100th career victory (see story). Against the Warriors, Abby McDowell scored twice, while Gracie Griffin, Eliza Lunt, Nicole McDowell, Sophie McGrath and Ally MacLeod all had one goal apiece. At the Lakers, Maggie Gunville and Abby McDowell scored twice, while McGrath and Emilie Martin had one goal apiece. Monday, the Clippers fell to 3-2 with a 3-1 home loss to York despite a goal from MacLeod, which was Yarmouth’s first goal against the Wildcats in either years. First-year goalie Cate Ralph also came up huge with 11 saves.

“I knew we had to score more than two goals today to win,” said Ashley. “You can’t score one goal on York and expect that to be a victory. We knew we wouldn’t get a lot of opportunities today and that we’d have to finish the ones we did, but we only had one offensive corner and we didn’t test their goalie in the second half.

“Cate played great,” said Ashley. “She’s one of the best athletes in the school. She has a calming and competitive aspect and the girls are so thrilled to have her here. She made unbelievable saves. We haven’t seen saves like that in practice, so we’ll expect even more from her now.”

Yarmouth is home with Fryeburg Academy Friday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and visits Kennebunk Tuesday.

Greely ran off three straight victories, including a 3-2 overtime home decision over Lake Region and a 3-0 victory at Old Orchard Beach last week. Sydney Meredith-Pickett and Sydney Ranalletti scored in regulation against the Lakers before Maddy Perfetti won it in the extra session. Against the Seagulls, Ranalletti had two goals and Wren Payne had the other. Monday, the Rangers fell to 3-2 with a 2-0 home loss to Falmouth in which they couldn’t muster a single shot. Goalie Kylie Rogers did make 15 saves.

“I’m very proud of the girls, they didn’t get down,” said Rangers coach Becki Belmore. “They knew they’d have to play defensive. We need to learn to how to create opportunities from defense.”

Greely was at Cape Elizabeth Wednesday and visits Lake Region Tuesday of next week. 

NYA played back-to-back overtime games last week. After enjoying a 2-1 home win over Sacopee Valley (Amber Rose and Emily Biesel-Bolen had the goals), the Panthers hosted St. Dom’s last Thursday for the first time since the 2008 season.

The Saints carried play early and took a 1-0 lead just over six minutes in, but the Panthers answered with 11:32 to go in the first half when Rose scored on a rebound. St. Dom’s went back on top, 2-1, just before halftime and after NYA threatened but couldn’t score early in the second half, the Saints appeared to secure victory when they added third goal.

The Panthers still trailed, 3-1, with just over three minutes left in regulation, when a goal from freshman Katie Larson gave them life. Then, as time expired, NYA earned a penalty corner and was allowed to play it out and Savannah Shaw played the role of hero, burying a shot to force overtime.

“I just knew we’d play it out, so I took my time,” Shaw said. “I looked up, saw an open corner and sent it on goal. I was just so happy we tied it up.”

There, twice, the Panthers appeared to complete the improbable comeback when Larson sent shots bound for the cage, but on both occasions, St. Dom’s sweeper Alexa Kesaris calmly made the save and the teams wound up settling for an entertaining 3-3 tie.

“It was a pretty dramatic comeback,” said Panthers first-year coach Wendy Polstein. “The girls have no quit. They have a lot of grit and drive considering what a super-young team we are. We refocused and I’m really proud of them.”

Saturday morning, NYA welcomed a Freeport squad which won its first two games, including a 4-0 victory at Cape Elizabeth last Tuesday behind two goals apiece from Bailey Coffin and Alexa Koenig and 12 saves from goalie Megan Seymour.

The Falcons were hoping to end an 11-year, 15-game losing streak at the hands of the Panthers, but in the end, thanks to dynamic play from both goalies, the rivals split Heal Points. NYA grabbed a 1-0 lead early in the second half when eighth grader Eleanor Commons scored her first career goal on a rebound. The Falcons then took over and pressured for the equalizer, which came with 20:40 remaining, as Koenig did the honors.

Down the stretch, both teams had good chances, but Seymour and Panthers freshman goalie Eliza Tod stood tall, sending the contest to overtime. In the first of two eight-minute, seven-on-seven, “sudden victory” extra sessions, Koenig appeared primed to win it for the visitors, but her sure goal was swept aside by NYA sophomore defender Caroline Gepfert, necessitating a second OT.

There, Seymour (25 saves) came up big several more times and despite earning a penalty corner as time expired, Freeport wasn’t able to convert and the teams settled for a 1-1 draw.

“It was really, really nervewracking,” Seymour said. “When the ball is far away, I think and position myself and when the ball is right there, I just react. I didn’t want to let a shot in.”

“It’s hot and we were dying in seven-v-seven,” said Freeport coach Marcia Wood. “At that point, it’s more hustle than skill. We’ll work on our conditioning some more.”

“We’ll take the tie, but we sure came close on a lot of chances,” said Polstein. “Both teams played great. I couldn’t believe how many shots were fired in a low scoring game. It says a lot about defense on both sides.”

NYA (2-0-2) went to the Maine Girls’ Academy/Waynflete co-op team Wednesday, host Wells Friday and go to Falmouth Tuesday of next week.

Freeport fell to 2-1-1 Monday with a 7-2 home loss to Kennebunk. The Falcons hosted Lake Region Wednesday, welcome Poland Saturday and go to Gray-New Gloucester Tuesday of next week.

Volleyball

Greely’s volleyball team is up to its usual dominance. Last week, the Rangers improved to 3-0 with 3-0 wins at Cony and at home over Biddeford (Kayley Cimino had 17 kills). After going to Brunswick Tuesday, the Rangers have a showdown at Falmouth Thursday (see theforecaster.net for story) and welcome Windham Tuesday of next week.

Falmouth also improved to 3-0 last week with 3-0 wins at Cheverus (25-14, 25-18, 25-12) and at home over Gorham (25-18, 25-19, 25-16). Danielle Casavant had nine kills and Alaina Birkel nine aces in the win over the Stags. Against the Rams, Birkel had 17 assists and 11 service points and Madi Tait had 13 service points.

“We had to find a lineup that worked,” Birkel said. “We found our starting lineup right before our first game and we’ve worked with that ever since.”

“It was a little hairy there and could have gone either way,” Falmouth coach Molly Northway said. “We need to play with confidence and make the best play possible on every point.” 

The Yachtsmen were at Biddeford Tuesday, host Greely Thursday and play at Brunswick Tuesday of next week.

Yarmouth continued the theme of 3-0 starts by beating host Gardiner, 3-0 (25-7, 25-9, 25-17), and visiting Wells, 3-0 (25-10, 25-13, 25-11), last week. The Clippers served 32 aces against the Tigers. Rachel Chillé had 10 aces, Andrea St. Pierre added nine and Alison Clark delivered 13 kills. 

“We had a good time up there as it was their first ever varsity home match,” said Clippers coach Jim Senecal. “It was a good, loud crowd. A lot of fun for our girls.”

Chillé had 11 kills and 11 aces against the Warriors. Yarmouth was as Massabesic Tuesday, visits Windham Thursday and is home next Tuesday to face defending Class A champion Scarborough.

NYA won its first two matches last week by 3-0 scores at Lake Region (25-14, 25-19, 25-20) and at home over Marshwood (25-20, 25-23, 25-18). Against the Hawks, Maggie Larson had 12 digs and eight assists, Zelda Clegg added nine kills and Suzanna Butterfield finished with seven kills, six aces and five digs. The Panthers looked to stay unbeaten Tuesday when Wells paid a visit. NYA is home with Gardiner next Tuesday.

Cross country

The Falmouth and Yarmouth cross country powerhouses joined Old Orchard and Poland at York under sizzling skies Friday.

The defending Class B champion Clippers girls finished first as a team while the Yachtsmen placed third. Yarmouth’s Abigail Hamilton (18:50) and Anneka Murrin (19:29) were the top two individuals while Falmouth was paced by Malaika Pasch (third, 19:47).

In the boys’ race, Falmouth was first while Yarmouth came in second. The Yachtsmen had the top three individuals: Jeremiah Sands (16:53), John Auer (17:32) and Conner Piers (17:35). The Clippers were paced by Sammy Potter (fourth, 17:41).

Greely and NYA joined Kennebunk and Lake Region at Traip Academy. The Rangers girls were first as Katherine Leggat-Barr came in first individually (18:12) and Carolyn Todd (18:48) placed second. The Panthers didn’t score as a team, but Megan Alberding had the 10th-best time (21:04). In the boys’ race, Greely finished fourth and NYA was fourth. The Rangers had the top six finishers and top five scorers in Max Stickney (16:46), Luke Marsanskis (17:07), Matthew Todd (17:19), Patrick Lyden (17:27) and Ben Wilson (17:35). The Panthers were paced by Brennan Flatt (16th, 19:25).

Freeport ran with Cape Elizabeth and Fryeburg Academy at St. Dom’s. The Falcons two-time defending Class B champion boys’ squad came in first as Henry Jaques was the top individual in 17:21. In the girls’ race, Freeport came in fourth (Cape Elizabeth was first). The Falcons were paced by fifth-place finisher Lily Horne (22:05).

Maine Coast Waldorf hosted Gray-New Gloucester, Sacopee Valley and Wells. The boys were second to the Warriors as a team as Tucker Pierce was the top individual in 16:54. In the girls’ race, MCW was third (Wells came in first), but Olivia Skillings was the top individual in 21:24.

This weekend, Freeport hosts Falmouth, Lake Region and Wells, Greely and MCW join Cape Elizabeth and Traip Academy at Poland, NYA (along with Gray-New Gloucester, Old Orchard Beach, St. Dom’s and York) is at Fryeburg Academy and Yarmouth joins Kennebunk and Waynflete at Sacopee Valley.

Golf

Greely’s golf team is off to a dominant 4-0 start after wins last week over Westbrook (9-0) and Thornton Academy (12-1).

Falmouth enjoyed an 11.5-1.5 win over Portland to improve to 2-0.

Yarmouth has raced to a 6-0 start, enjoying wins last week over Freeport (7-0), York (6-1), Fryeburg Academy (5-2), Lake Region (6-1) and NYA (5-2).

The loss to Yarmouth and a 6.5-0.5 setback to defending Class B champion Cape Elizabeth dropped NYA to 2-2 on the season.

Freeport dropped its first three matches, including decisions to Yarmouth (7-0) and York (5.5-1.5), then won two in a row by 6-1 scores over Sacopee Valley and Wells.

Sun Journal staff writer Bob McPhee contributed to this story .

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.