Falmouth boys stay hot with home romp over Brunswick
FALMOUTH—Less than 24 hours after the biggest victory in program history, one that reverberated across the local lacrosse landscape, the Falmouth boys' team produced a workmanlike and triumphant effort against one of the state's proudest programs.
Saturday afternoon, the day after a first-ever win over perennial powerhouse Yarmouth, which ended the Clippers' nine-year, 73-game hometurf win streak, the Yachtsmen were never tested by visiting Brunswick and essentially wrapped up victory after scoring six first period goals.
Senior Zach Alexander scored four times, sophomore Will Sipperly added three goals and seven different players tickled the twine as Falmouth improved to 7-0 with a 13-1 home win over the Dragons, who are now 3-4 on the year.
The Yachtsmen were nonplussed by the quick turnaround and didn't suffer an emotional letdown as they reminded everyone one more time why they're without question the team to beat as the regular season nears its stretch run.
"It's a big win for us," said Alexander, one of Falmouth's myriad of offensive weapons. "Coming off last night, we were really tired, but we wanted to come out and do things simply. I think we kind of rolled from the fourth quarter last night. We just carried that on."
Old and new
While Falmouth has just emerged as a top power in the past couple years, Brunswick has been one of the state's elite programs for many seasons under coach Don Glover. The Dragons won the 2007 Class A championship and reached the final game in 2008 and 2009. Graduation has taken its toll on the program, however, and Brunswick has become mortal. That, combined with the addition of the Portland schools to Eastern Class A, will make it very difficult for the Dragons to play deep into June.
Prior to Saturday, Brunswick opened with a 12-4 win at rival Mt. Ararat, then suffered an unheard of three-game skid, falling to host Messalonskee (8-2), visiting Lewiston (15-1) and at home to defending Eastern B champion Yarmouth (10-2). The Dragons bounced back to defeat host Cony (15-2) and visiting Mt. Blue (16-4).
Falmouth has stolen headlines from the get-go, thanks to a season-opening 12-4 home romp over the Capers. The Yachtsmen then easily dispatched visiting Waynflete (17-5), host Scarborough, the defending Class A champion (13-3), visiting North Yarmouth Academy (14-2) and host York (15-5) Thursday before their history-making 14-5 win Friday in Yarmouth.
Last year, in one of the rare meetings between the programs, Falmouth prevailed, 10-7, in Brunswick.
This one was over quickly.
With junior Abyn Reabe-Gerwig winning every faceoff in the first quarter, the Yachtsmen enjoyed plenty of possession and took advantage, showing their offensive balance in the process.
Just 1 minute, 15 seconds in to the 12-minute first period, sophomore standout Will Sipperly took a pass from senior Brendan McDonnell and beat Dragons junior goalie James Wilgus to put the hosts on top to stay.
Junior Mitch Tapley, who makes this offense go, scored unassisted with 8:17 showing to give Falmouth all the goals it would need.
Before the period ended, junior Andrew Murry (from Alexander, at 6:06), Alexander (unassisted, at 3:44), McDonnell (from Sipperly, at 2:11) and junior Jack Cooleen (from Tapley, with 4.4 seconds showing) all tickled the twine and the Yachtsmen were in command, up 6-0.
The second quarter was more of the same as Reabe-Gerwig, who didn't enjoy his usual dominance against Yarmouth, won five of six faceoffs.
With 7:37 to go in the first half, Alexander took a pass from Tapley and scored. Sipperly then scored two in a row (the first unassisted, then second from Alexander, man-up) for a 9-0 lead. With 2:20 remaining, senior Nick Bachman (set up by McDonnell) scored and with 20 seconds left, playing man-up, Falmouth took an 11-0 lead when Bachman took a pass from Cooleen and beat Wilgus.
Play was much more even in the second half, thanks in large part to liberal substitutions on the Falmouth side.
The Dragons got on the board with 7:33 to go in the third quarter as senior captain George Mills took a pass from classmate Zach Duffy and beat Yachtsmen junior goalie Cam Bell with Brunswick playing two-men up. A little over a minute later, playing with a man advantage, Falmouth answered as Sipperly set up Alexander.
With 10:37 to play in the game, Alexander accounted for the 13-1 final score with his final goal of the game, coming unassisted.
"We pride ourselves on the fact we can score from anywhere," Alexander said. "It was nice to be back on our turf. It's not as fun to play in these types of games, but you have to play them. You can get kids in who don't see a lot of time. "
"I was surprised (the guys) had that much left," added Falmouth coach Mike LeBel. "It's not a traditional Brunswick team we saw out there. They're young, but still very well-coached. It's still great to see our guys play well three games in a row. I'm pleased.
"(Playing three days in a row has) been a great test for us. We performed at a high level. That's what we try to work on."
Alexander led all scorers with four goals. Sipperly added three goals, Bachman two and Cooleen, McDonnell, Murry and Tapley each had one. Alexander, McDonnell, Sipperly and Tapley all assisted on two goals. Cooleen had one assist.
"We try not to center our offense around any one person," LeBel said. "You don't want to rely on one person. We try to keep it balanced and keep the middies involved."
McDonnell grabbed a game-high eight ground balls, Bachman had seven and Reabe-Gerwig six. Bell made nine saves.
For Brunswick, Mills had the lone goal and Duffy the assist. Duffy had a team-high five ground balls. Wilgus stopped eight shots.
"I have a good group," said Glover. "We're playing a pretty stacked schedule. Everything comes in ebbs and flows. We have good kids and good players who are working hard.
"Falmouth's solid on offense. They have good skill players. They took their lumps when they were younger. Their defense is aggressive and under control and playing well. They have a solid goaltender. That's a key element to the success of any program. Going into halftime, we saw 26 shots. We tried zone and knew we'd give up shots. To have 11 goals against, (Wilgus) made some quality saves."
The Yachtsmen had a 13-3 edge in faceoffs as Reabe-Gerwig won 11-of-12. Freshman Tyler Jordan went 1-for-3 and senior Michael Bloom won his lone attempt. Senior Brandon Matt went 2-for-11 for Brunswick, while sophomore Jared Jensen won 1-of-5 chances.
Falmouth dominated in ground balls (59-30), shots (41-15) and shots on cage (21-10). The Yachtsmen forced 21 turnovers, while giving the ball away 19 times.
Brunswick begins the week at 3-4 and fifth in the Eastern Class A Heal Points standings. Only six teams qualify for the postseason, so the Dragons will need to finish strong. They have to complete a lightning-delayed home game against Edward Little Monday, play at Oxford Hills Wednesday and visit red-hot Lewiston Saturday before closing the regular year at home versus Messalonskee (May 25) and Mt. Ararat (May 28).
"We have a continuation game Monday," Glover said."There's 1:50 left in the first half and we're up 4-1. If we got to halftime, we would have finalized the game.
"Our goal is to focus on the next game and let the schedule take care of itself. We knew we were underdogs here. We've stumbled a little bit in the KVAC. To finish the season, it's one game at a time and then it's the second season."
The Yachtsmen are entrenched in the top spot of Western Class B, but still have many tests upcoming. Wednesday, Falmouth has its rematch with Cape Elizabeth, on road, and can be assured that it won't win again by eight goals.
"We look forward to Cape," Alexander said. "We're ready for whatever they have. They'll bring everything they have."
"It's going to be a tough one," added LeBel. "I expect them to come out like Yarmouth did. It will be a battle. It'll be fun."
The Yachtsmen have a rematch with Yarmouth Friday and still have games remaining at home versus Greely and at NYA and Freeport.