Falmouth girls battle Yarmouth to scoreless draw
FALMOUTH—While neither the undefeated Yarmouth Clippers or host Falmouth Yachtsmen came away with a victory in their girls' soccer showdown Tuesday night, both squads came away with some Heal Points and plenty of reason for optimism as the regular season winds down.
Yarmouth had its share of chances, but couldn't finish and Falmouth played well against another top-notch foe as it snapped a four-game losing streak.
In the end, despite plenty of action, the scoreboard read 0-0, leaving the Clippers 11-0-1 and the Yachtsmen 6-5-1.
"With a little luck here and there, we might have come out with a win," said Falmouth coach John Meek. "It's always going to be close between Falmouth and Yarmouth. It's always tough when these teams come together."
"I thought both teams played really well," said Yarmouth coach Rich Smith. "Two of the best teams in Class B. We knew it would be a battle and it definitely was."
Yarmouth won its first 11 outings this fall, highlighted by a 3-2 home win over Falmouth on Sept. 11. The Clippers were coming off an emphatic 3-0 home victory over Western A contender Cape Elizabeth and were riding high with plenty of confidence.
The Yachtsmen, meanwhile, hadn't won since Sept. 22 and were hoping to bounce back from home defeats to Greely (5-0), York (2-1) and Cape Elizabeth (1-0, in overtime).
While the first meeting between the rivals produced plenty of offense, the rematch didn't see a single goal.
Yarmouth did have plenty of first half chances.
In the sixth minute, senior striker extraordinaire Devin Simsarian fired a low shot off a corner kick which Falmouth senior goalkeeper Elizabeth Estabrook had to sprawl to save. Moments later, senior Danielle Torres' header off a corner went just wide. With 18:35 to go in the 40-minute first half, Simsarian set up senior Becca Bell for a shot, but she didn't get much on it and Estabrook made the save. With 16:20 left before halftime, Simsarian took a pass from Torres and appeared primed to score, but Estabrook got a hand on the shot and sent it out of play, setting up a corner. In the 33rd minute, sophomore Tess Merrill's rush was broken up by Falmouth senior Abbey Cavalero at the last second. With 2:31 to go before the break, Simsarian's shot from a tough angle was handled by Estabrook.
In the first 40 minutes, the Clippers ousthot the Yachtsmen, 8-2, and had four corners to just one for the hosts.
Just 29 seconds into the second half, Yarmouth continued to press for a goal when Torres' shot was blocked, leading to a corner. With 23:14 to go in regulation, Clippers junior Ricki Pierce stole the ball and fired a shot that was deflected, but saved by Estabrook. Five minutes later, junior Mo Mcnaboe was just high on a shot from the top of the box. With 16:08 left, Simsarian sent a hooking shot in on goal, but again Estabrook stood tall.
"Someone had to score and we had opportunities," Smith said. "(Falmouth's) defense is good and Elizabeth is very good."
"Elizabeth's a phenomenal keeper," Meek said. "I'm sure she has a big future. She has a safe pair of hands. We changed our back line a little bit at midseason. They're organized now. The longer they play together, the better they look."
Falmouth then turned up its offensive pressure.
With 15:01 remaining, senior Allie Lycan shot just wide. Three minutes later, a shot from senior Jess DiPhillippo was punched away by Yarmouth freshman goalkeeper Olivia Smith. With 10;31 showing, a Clipper defender was in the right place at the right time to clear a shot.
As time wound down in regulation, the visitors returned the attack. With 4:26 to play, Simsarian sent a cross that Mcnaboe just couldn't get to. With 2:55 remaining, Bell had a left-footed shot that Estabrook saved. Fifteen seconds later, sophomore Ali Merrill stole the ball and set up Tess Merrill, whose shot forced Estabrook to hit the ground before making the save. Finally, with 14 seconds left, Simsarian was wide on a long shot and it was on to overtime.
Yarmouth (which had a 14-4 shots advantage in regulation) and Falmouth each had looks in OT, but no great chances.
In the first five-minute, "sudden victory" OT, Falmouth senior Jamie Sabo shot wide and DiPhillippo's cross trickled past the goal before Lycan kicked the ball wide.
In the second overtime, Torres' long shot was saved by Estabrook, a rush from sophomore Olivia Conrad was broken up and in the final minute, a long shot from senior Natalie Salmon was saved.
The clock wound down and the teams settled for the tie.
"I'm not disappointed," said Smith. "The girls played hard and really well."
"There might have been some passages of play where they took it to us a little bit, then we took it to them a little bit," said Meek. "We may see them down the pike. We have every confidence that we can possibly turn them over next time. We haven't struggled with our play, just with results. We've proved we can play against good teams."
Yarmouth ended with a 16-4 shots edge and a 6-4 advantage on corners.
The Yachtsmen (who moved up to fifth in the Western B Heal Points standings) host Gray-New Gloucester Thursday and finish the regular season at home next Tuesday against Waynflete. Falmouth could wind up as high as third and will be a team that no one wants to see come playoff time.
"We may see York or Yarmouth again," said Meek. "We should have every confidence going into the next game."
The Clippers (who have the inside track for first place in the region) have a huge test at defending Class B champion York Thursday. They close at Greely next Tuesday.
"It would be nice if we end up with homefield advantage," Smith said. "I like my team. We'll take our chances."
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org