Regular season comes to an end for North area teams
Now the fun really begins.
With the field hockey playoffs in full swing (please see story), soccer, volleyball and cross country teams begin their playoff runs this week. Golf wrapped up its season Saturday with the individual state championships. Here's a glance:
Falmouth appears to have the inside track for the top seed in Western Class B boys' soccer. The Yachtsmen rolled over visiting Lake Region 7-0 Thursday, handled host Freeport Friday (5-0) and capped a 12-0-2 regular season Monday with a 10-0 home victory over York (behind two goals each from seniors Ford Bohrmann and Gabe Hoffman-Johnson and junior Sam White). The final Heals won't come out until Wednesday, but Falmouth is first and doesn't appear as if it will be caught, meaning the road to the regional title will go through the Yachtsmen once again.
Yarmouth is one team that will be happy to take that road. Last year, the Clippers upset Falmouth in the regional final and this fall, the fierce rivals have battled to a pair of entertaining 1-1 draws. Yarmouth was a 2-0 winner at York last Tuesday (sophomores Josh Britten and Sam Torres both registered their first varsity goals) and cruised 9-0 at home over Poland last Thursday (senior Ebrahim Fazeli scored three times and senior goalkeeper A.J. Oliver tied a program record with his ninth shutout this fall) to improve to 10-0-3 (second in Western B). The Clippers hoped to complete their first unbeaten regular season since 1973 (it also happened in 1971) Tuesday when they hosted Greely.
Freeport appears as if it will miss the postseason this year for the first time since 1997. The Falcons won 3-1 at North Yarmouth Academy Thursday, but lost 5-0 at home to Falmouth Friday, then fell 4-1 at home to Cape Elizabeth Monday to wind up 3-9-2 (11th in the standings).
"If we played as hard as we did against NYA all year, we would have been fine," said Freeport coach Joe Heathco. "We battled a lot of injuries. We had to scramble."
In Western A, Greely is playoff-bound once again. The Rangers suffered a 1-0 home loss to Cape Elizabeth last Wednesday, their second straight setback, to fall to 9-4. Greely (seventh in the latest Heals) closed at Yarmouth Tuesday. The Rangers will likely have to play on the road in the postseason, but have done some of their best work in that spot in recent years.
In Western C, NYA earned a huge victory and a big dose of confidence last Wednesday after knocking rival Waynflete from the ranks of the unbeaten, 1-0, in Portland. Sophomore Ryan Rousseau scored a first half goal, junior goalkeeper Dylan Seely came up big and the Panthers dodged a few bullets (including a shot which hit the post) as they enjoyed their biggest win to date.
"We had a good game plan," said NYA coach Martyn Keen. "They executed it. The team's been so inconsistent. We do play with heart. Waynflete's a very good team. I'm very proud of the guys. We got a little nervous at the end, but that's because we haven't learned how to win. It's a big win for us. On any given day, we can beat anybody."
NYA was up 3-1 at home by Freeport Thursday in the regular season finale to finish 6-6-1. The Panthers were seventh in the latest standings and will be a dangerous out in the playoffs.
The boys' soccer playoffs begin Saturday with the preliminary round. The quarterfinals are Wednesday, Oct. 28. Games will be contested on the field of the higher seed.
While Greely was hosting Yarmouth in the teams' regular season finale Monday (please see story), Falmouth, Freeport and NYA were also wrapping up their campaigns.
The Yachtsmen, the defending Class B state champions, closed the regular year with wins over Lake Region (6-1, behind two goals from senior Corey Morganstern) and Freeport (5-0, senior Sarah Girouard scored twice) and a loss at York (1-0) to finish 9-1-4. Falmouth will be second to the Wildcats in the final Heals, but that isn't necessarily an obstacle. Last year, the Yachtsmen were second, but won at York in the regional final en route to the championship.
The Falcons will fall short of the playoffs for the fourth straight year after going 2-11-1. Freeport lost 6-0 to NYA, 5-0 to Falmouth and 7-1 to Cape Elizabeth and was 16th in the latest Western B Heals.
In Western C, the Panthers' win at Freeport (6-0, behind four goals from senior standout Courtney Dumont) was followed by a 7-0 triumph at Old Orchard Beach (as Dumont scored five more times) to cap an 11-2-1 regular year. NYA was fifth in the latest Heals and should be a major factor yet again in the playoffs. It's very likely the Panthers will be at defending state champ and fierce rival Waynflete for the quarterfinals Tuesday.
The girls' soccer playoffs start Friday with the preliminary round. The quarterfinals are Tuesday of next week. Both rounds will feature the higher seeded team playing host.
The cross country regular season ended Friday with meets at Cape Elizabeth, Gray-New Gloucester and NYA.
Falmouth and Yarmouth (along with Lake Region) competed at Cape Elizabeth. The Clippers were second to the Capers in the boys' race. The Yachtsmen came in third. In the girls' meet, Falmouth came in second behind Cape Elizabeth, while Yarmouth finished third.
Greely (along with Fryeburg and Poland) ran at Gray-New Gloucester. The Rangers were in third in both races.
Freeport (along with Merriconeag and Waynflete) took part in the meet at NYA. The Falcons won the boys' race, with the Panthers placing second. In the girls' meet, Waynflete was first, Freeport second and NYA third.
The regional championships will be held Saturday at Twin Brook in Cumberland. Falmouth, Greely and Yarmouth run in the Class B girls' race at 11:10 a.m. The Class B boys start at 11:45 p.m. The Class C girls' race (featuring Freeport and NYA starts at 12:20 p.m. The Class C boys run at 12:55 p.m.
The state championships are back at Twin Brook on Saturday, Oct. 31.
Several local golfers took part in the individual state championships Saturday at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro. Two took home championships.
North Yarmouth Academy's Tim Millett, who shared the Class C boys' crown in 2008, kept it for himself this fall, by shooting a 71, three shots better than the runner-up. Teammate Toey LeBlanc finished with an 86, tying for 16th place.
Greely's girls stole the show at the girls' all-classes championship, with Laura Grant taking home the title with an 83, which was two shots better than Leavitt's Karil Soracco, four shots ahead of Greely's Emma Seymour and five shots better than Greely's Edith Aromando. Grant's win was the first for Greely since Holly Anderson went back-to-back in 1983 and 1984. The Rangers also got strong showings from Kerri Grant (89, sixth), Meghan Bickford (91, tie for seventh), Sarah Hansen (97, 10th) and Katie Whittum (99, 11th). Yarmouth's Emily Lunt shot a 137 and came in 27th.
In Class B boys' action, Yarmouth's Nick McMenamin shot a 78 to finish fourth (York's Aaron Bailey was tops with a 75). Falmouth's Connor Burfeind finished in a three-way tie for fifth with a 79. Falmouth's Will Bucklin (83, 12th) also competed.
Part two of the Falmouth-Greely volleyball passion play took part Friday night in Cumberland where the six-time defending state champion Rangers avenged their lone loss of the season with a 3-2 (25-23, 25-27, 25-12, 24-26, 15-7) victory over the Yachtsmen, knocking Falmouth from the ranks of the unbeaten.
"The match was very close in the first set," said Greely coach Kelvin Hasch. "We started very fast and set the tone with Falmouth chasing. In the second set, Falmouth came out quick and it went back and forth and Falmouth had the strength to close it out. The third set was all Greely. The fourth set was again close with Falmouth catching Greely at 24 and then finally taking the set. The fifth set was all Greely. Our passing and serving were on target and hitting was on the money."
The Yachtsmen finished the year 13-1 and will be the No. 1 seed for the Class A playoffs. Falmouth has a bye into the semifinal round, Saturday, and will face either No. 4 Yarmouth (11-3) or No. 5 Biddeford (8-6). The Yachtsmen beat the Tigers twice by 3-0 scores and the Clippers once by a 3-0 margin this season. Last season, Falmouth beat Yarmouth 3-0 in the quarterfinals, then lost 3-1 to Biddeford in the semifinals.
"It has been a great season for us," said Falmouth coach Gary Powers. "The level of play in the league has really come up and we've had some exciting matches. Our match against Greely was not our best, we made too many mistakes, and you can't do that against them. They're a great team. They played a great match and were flawless in their execution. I was proud of my team and the fact that they hung in there and battled for every point. We are looking forward to a rematch, but first have to play the winner of Yarmouth-Biddeford. Both of those teams are dangerous. In fact, every team in the tournament is capable of winning it all, so we are doing what we've done all season, just taking it one match at a time."
Greely also wound up 13-1 and is the No. 2 team. The Rangers are also idle until Saturday, when they'll meet either No. 3 MDI (12-2) or No. 6 Scarborough (8-6). Greely didn't face MDI in the regular season. The Rangers swept Scarborough, 3-1 Sept. 22 on the road and 3-0 at home Oct. 8. Greely has no playoff history with the Red Storm, but has plenty with MDI, beating the Trojans in the 2004 (3-0), 2005 (3-1), 2006 (3-0), 2007 (3-1) and 2008 (3-0) championship matches, as well as the 2002 quarterfinals (3-1) and 2003 semifinals (3-1).
"It was nice to see a close season and matches start to go five sets," said Hasch. "This is a sign of good volleyball. We have played up and down throughout and have not yet played to our potential. We are looking forward to the playoffs and cannot wait to face either MDI or Scarbrough on Saturday."
Yarmouth capped its tremendous season with a 3-1 (25-17. 25-16, 18-25, 25-23) win at Scarborough Friday to end up 11-3 (good for the No. 4 seed in Class A).
"It's been a terrific season for us," said Clippers coach Jim Senecal. "Our goal at the start of the year was to make the playoffs in spite of the revised format which allows two fewer teams to participate. We took advantage of a schedule that only had us playing the top two teams once, and we were insistent that we play at least one of the Eastern crossover teams once as well.
"I think we surprised ourselves early in the year with wins in our first two matches against two quality programs in Gorham and Scarborough. The girls started to believe in themselves. We knew that we could compete with the best. Other than the losses to both Greely and Falmouth, the rest of the season went very well. A major highlight for us was winning a tough five-game match against traditional Eastern power MDI. Not only did that game give us a lot of Heal Points, it was a huge confidence booster."
The Clippers will host the No. 5 seed, Biddeford (8-6), in Saturday's quarterfinals. Yarmouth lost 3-1 (23-25, 25-18, 17-25, 21-25) at home to the Tigers way back on Sept. 11. The Clippers beat Biddeford 3-0 in the 2004 preliminary round in the only prior playoff meeting.
"Biddeford is coming to Yarmouth as a very hot team right now," Senecal said. "They've won their last five matches all by 3-0 scores. That's 15 games in a row without a loss. They also beat us at home earlier in the season which should give them some confidence as well. Our confidence level is right up there as well. I know that we've grown together as a team and improved a great deal since game three. It should be a terrific match."
North Yarmouth Academy finished its year 2-12 after a 3-0 loss to Gorham (17-25, 15-25, 15-25) and a 3-1 win over Cape Elizabeth. The Panthers wound up eighth in the Class B Heals (only the top five qualified for the playoffs).
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org