Forecaster Country teams look to finish strong
With one sport, golf, already bestowing state championships, another, field hockey, set to begin its playoffs Saturday and a third, cross-country, already producing postseason-caliber excitement (please see stories), the rest of the fall slate is also rapidly nearing an end. Here's a look at how local gridiron warriors, soccer standouts and volleyball players are faring:
Three local football teams remain right in the middle of the playoff hunt.
In Western C, Yarmouth remained perfect Friday night after dominating visiting Boothbay, 63-6. The Clippers, fresh off their inspirational victory at Lisbon, were never tested, racing to 22-0 lead after one period and a 55-0 advantage at halftime. Junior Anders Overhaug had three TD runs, while seniors Asa Arden and Nate Pingitore added two each. Yarmouth's defense also scored on a safety. The Clippers look to improve to 7-0 Friday night at 1-5 Madison. Last year, Yarmouth downed the visiting Bulldogs, 64-6.
Freeport dropped to 2-4 Saturday after losing, 26-6, at home to Traip. The Falcons got on the board first on a first period TD pass, but couldn't score again. Freeport is home with 1-5 Boothbay Saturday. Last year, the Falcons lost at Boothbay, 70-40.
In Western B, Falmouth got back on track Friday night and snapped a two-game skid with a 47-0 home win over Gray-New Gloucester. Senior quarterback Zach Alexander ran for two scores and threw for another as the Yacthsmen raced to a 16-0 first period lead and never looked back. Falmouth (4-2) has a huge home tilt with 6-0 Mountain Valley Friday night. The Yachtsmen have never beaten the Falcons, who have showed signs of vulnerability this fall. Last year, in Rumford, Falmouth lost, 21-7.
Greely had its four-game win streak snapped at Mountain Valley Friday, 13-0. The Rangers fell behind early, but hung tough throughout. They just weren't able to score as they fell to 4-2 on the year. Greely faces a pivotal home showdown with 5-1 Cape Elizabeth, the defending regional champion, Friday night. Last year, the Rangers fell at the Capers, 41-7.
Act two of a likely three-part drama between the Yarmouth and Falmouth boys' soccer teams played out Tuesday night in Falmouth (please see theforecaster.net for a full game story). The Clippers entered undefeated at 10-0-1 and second behind Maranacook in the Western Class B Heal Points standings after wins last week over visiting Freeport (5-0) and Cape Elizabeth (3-1).
You could say Yarmouth used its head against the Falcons as senior Luke Pierce (twice) and senior Campbell Belisle-Haley scored on first half headers. Junior Ryan Maguire had two assists and senior Kyle Groves, one. Junior Sam Torres (from Pierce) and senior Jon Drouin (his first varsity goal, from freshman David Murphy) added second half tallies. In the victory over the Capers, which was a rematch of the Clippers' lone non-victory (a 1-1 tie), goals from Pierce (two) and Belisle-Haley were the difference. Yarmouth is home against York Thursday and hosts Greely in the regular season finale Monday.
Falmouth was third in the latest Heals with a 7-3-1 mark. Last week, the Yachtsmen settled for a 0-0 tie at York, then lost, 2-1, at home to Cape Elizabeth. Senior Sam White had the goal against the Capers. Falmouth hosts York Saturday (a rescheduled game that starts at 7 p.m.) and closes at Waynflete Tuesday of next week.
Freeport looks like it will fall short of the postseason for the second year in a row. After falling at Yarmouth, the Falcons were blanked, 3-0, at Waynflete Friday, their fifth successive loss (they haven't scored a goal in that span). Freeport (2-9-1 and 14th in Western B) hosted Cape Elizabeth Tuesday and closes at home versus North Yarmouth Academy Tuesday of next week.
Speaking of the Panthers, they're in the hunt for the last playoff spot. Entering the week, NYA was ninth in Western C and just eight teams qualify. Last week, the Panthers lost at home to Fryeburg (3-2), then bounced back to blank visiting Lake Region (2-0). Senior Michael Ianno and junior Ryan Rousseau scored against the Raiders. Ianno and junior Matt Michaud had goals in the victory. NYA (4-5) hosted Sacopee Tuesday, goes to Wells Thursday, Traip Saturday, then finishes up at Freeport on Oct. 19.
In Western A, Greely earned a couple positive results last week to move up to eighth in the standings (the top nine teams make the playoffs). The Rangers played host Cape Elizabeth to a 0-0 tie, then won, 2-1, at York. Sophomore goalkeeper Elijah Leverett made six saves against the Capers and helped secure the victory at the Wildcats with a late save. Seniors Sean Ross and Jon Coyne (penalty kick) had the goals in the win. Greely (6-4-1) was home with York Tuesday, plays at Western C power Waynflete Thursday and closes at Yarmouth Monday.
Don't look now, but the Greely girls' soccer team has caught fire. The Rangers, who were 2-3 after a 1-0 home loss to Falmouth Sept. 22, have gone 5-0-1 since and have definitely found their offense. Last Tuesday, Greely hosted Cape Elizabeth and romped to a 4-0 victory behind three goals from sophomore Sammi Toorish, who has returned to form after injury, and another from senior Kelly Burrell.
"I've had some struggles and so has the team, but we're just taking it one step at a time," Toorish said. "We struggled at the beginning and last year it didn't happen. It was a shock and we knew we had to change some things. We had a lot of long team talks. It's working. We had too much talent not to win."
"We're just a young team," added Greely coach Michael Kennedy. "We're coming along and playing better. We're having fun and moving the ball the way we like and putting it in the net. It's hard to stop our strikers."
The Rangers got another goal from Toorish (assisted by senior Audrey Parolin) in a 1-1 tie at defending Class B champion York Thursday and are now 7-3-1. Junior goalie Lindsey Arsenault stopped 12 shots. Greely (sixth in the Western A Heals) hosted York Tuesday and welcome Waynflete Thursday before closing the regular season at home versus Yarmouth next Tuesday.
The Clippers took a perfect record and the top spot in Western B into a showdown at Falmouth Tuesday night (for the game story, please see theforecaster.net). Saturday, Yarmouth improved to 11-0 with a 3-0 home win over Cape Elizabeth. Seniors Becca Bell, Jeanna Lowery and Devin Simsarian had the goals, while freshman goalkeeper Olivia Smith made five saves for her sixth shutout. The Clippers go to York Thursday and visit Greely in the finale next Tuesday.
Falmouth came into its Yarmouth showdown with a 6-5 mark after recent home losses to York (2-1) and Cape Elizabeth (1-0, in double overtime) extended its skid to four games. Senior Jess DiPhillippo scored the goal versus the Wildcats. The Yachstmen (sixth in Western B) host Gray-New Gloucester Thursday and close at home versus Waynflete next Tuesday.
Freeport's playoff hopes took a serious hit last week after losses to NYA (2-1) and Old Orchard Beach (2-1, in double overtime). Senior Kelly Edwards had the goal against the Panthers. The Falcons (5-6-1 and 10th in Western B, where just eight teams qualify) needed to win at Cape Elizabeth Tuesday to maintain any kind of postseason hope. Freeport closes at Wells Thursday.
In Western C, NYA's playoff hopes are still alive after the Freeport win. The Panthers, who were coming off a 0-0 home tie versus Poland, got goals from senior Lily Wellenbach and junior Hannah Twombly, as well as 10 saves from sophomore goalie Savanna Poole. NYA (2-5-3 and 11th in the Heals, the top nine make the playoffs) was at Sacopee Tuesday, play at Lake Region Saturday, then close home versus Traip Tuesday of next week.
Yarmouth's volleyball team has been competitive in recent seasons, but was lacking a signature victory. The Clippers certainly earned one Saturday.
Hosting Falmouth, a state finalist in 2009, Yarmouth earned a grueling five-game triumph (25-21, 18-25, 25-19, 16-25, 15-13).
"I think it's safe to say that for us, the win was probably the biggest our program has ever had," said Clippers coach Jim Senecal. "Not only have we never beaten them in our history, we've never even come close. Our first match earlier this season, was the most lopsided loss (17-25, 15-25, 7-25) we faced this year."
Six service points and two aces from sophomore Gina Robertson were the difference in game one.
"We kept Gina's momentum and took game one, which surprised everyone, including us," Senecal said.
Senior Abbie Hutchinson's six kills helped win game three.
"After losing game two, we didn't get down," Senecal said. "We took a big lead in game three and survived a strong comeback. In game four, we knew we needed to rest some kids. After Falmouth got a big lead, our bench came in and gave our starters the rest we needed for game five."
After trailing game five, 12-9, the hosts rallied to tie and at 12-12, junior Suzanne Driscoll had a pivotal block to give the Clippers the point. Driscoll added a service point to put Yarmouth on the brink, then a Falmouth service error ended it, giving the Clippers the Heal Points-rich win.
"The key to the victory was the quickness of our back row," said Senecal. "Senior libero Mary Sansone played her best game ever. She had a lot of great digs and got to balls that were unbelievable. We only have three seniors and all three came up big for us."
Yarmouth, which had lost 3-0 (9-25, 18-25, 15-25) at seven-time state champion Greely three nights prior, improved to 6-6 (good for the sixth and final Class A playoff spot as of press time). It had a crucial home match against No. 5 Scarborough Tuesday and closes at Kennebunk Friday.
Falmouth's loss was its second in four days. Last Wednesday, the Yachtsmen dropped a 3-2 (17-25, 20-25, 25-23, 28-26, 16-18) marathon at Biddeford. They bounced back with a 3-0 (25-13, 25-18, 25-18) home win over Cony, then lost at Yarmouth to fall to 10-2 (third behind Biddeford and Mt. Desert Island in the Class A Heals). Falmouth faced two showdowns with Greely to close the regular season, Tuesday in Cumberland and Thursday (6:30 p.m.) at home.
Nothing has come easily for the Rangers in 2010, but they still have to be taken seriously as a championship contender. Greely enjoyed a 3-0 (25-9, 25-18, 25-15) home win over Yarmouth last Wednesday to improve to 8-3. After facing Falmouth twice, the Rangers (third in Class A) finish at Gorham Friday.
In Western B, NYA is 3-9 and eighth among nine teams in the Heals. Last week, the Panthers lost, 3-0, at Kennebunk, then bounced back to down visiting Sumner, 3-0 (25-16, 25-14, 25-21). Sophomore Grace Gilbert nailed 18-of-20 serves, with six aces, four kills and two blocks. Junior Jae Yeon Jeon added seven aces, three kills and two assists, while senior captain Jenny Sharp finished with five aces, five kills and two blocks. NYA was at Cony Tuesday and finishes at home versus Cape Elizabeth Friday.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org