(Ed. Note: For the complete versions of the Falmouth-Cape Elizabeth girls’ soccer and Falmouth-Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth-Greely and NYA-Freeport field hockey stories, please visit theforecaster.net)
And we’re off.
Another fall sports season began last week and early results suggest that local athletes and teams are in for plenty of triumph.
Not quite every squad had begun play at press time, but most were underway.
Here’s a glimpse:
The defending Class B boys’ soccer state champion Falmouth Yachtsmen had a big test in their opener and passed it, 1-0, over visiting rival Cape Elizabeth. Standout J.P. White had the game’s lone goal in the 72nd minute. Falmouth was home with North Yarmouth Academy Tuesday, visits Poland Friday and has a showdown at Greely Tuesday of next week.
Speaking of the Rangers, they had no trouble with visiting Lake Region, 9-0, in their opener. Ted Hart scored three goals and Nick Shain added a pair. Greely was at Freeport Tuesday, then has a week to prepare for Falmouth’s visit on Sept. 11.
Freeport dropped a 3-2 home decision to Traip in its first game. Connor Dietrich and Zach Merrill had goals. The Falcons hoped to get in the win column when they welcomed Greely Tuesday. They go to Lake Region Thursday and return home Saturday to meet Fryeburg.
NYA and Yarmouth produced a memorable battle in their mutual opener. The Panthers shot to a 2-0 lead thanks to a pair of early goals from Wesley Bright, but the visiting Clippers rallied as Thomas Sullivan scored before halftime and in the 73rd minute, Ben Decker scored on a penalty kick to forge a 2-2 draw, which is how the match ended.
NYA returned to action Tuesday at Falmouth, goes to Wells Friday and visits A.R. Gould Tuesday of next week.
Yarmouth played host to Lake Region Wednesday and welcomes Cape Elizabeth Saturday.
On the girls’ side, reigning Class B champion Falmouth won a thriller at Cape Elizabeth in its first test Friday afternoon.
The Yachtsmen appeared in good shape when they took a 2-0 lead to the half behind two pretty goals from Villanova-bound standout Caitilin Bucksbaum, but the Capers carried play in the second half and cut the deficit to one with 28 minutes remaining, Cape Elizabeth had some golden opportunities to earn an equalizer, but Falmouth goalkeeper Caroline Lucas came up huge and made sure the Yachtsmen got out of town with a 2-1 victory.
“It’s my training,” said Lucas. “I owe a lot to my coaches. Especially throughout the winter. It’s instinct at this point. Obviously, the easier games are more comfortable, but these are what a goalie lives for. It’s more fun. We have some new people in there, but we worked as a team and pulled through. We have a great group of girls. Tight-knit. I love every single one of them. We work really hard at practice.”
“Caroline came up strong for us,” Bucksbaum said. “She’s a great rock for our team. It was a really exciting game. It was good to play a great team first.”
“It showed us our weaknesses and that there’s room for improvement, but we got a win over a quality team,” said Falmouth coach Wally LeBlanc. “It’s great to build off. I’m extremely pleased with our girls adjusting. We counterattacked and got a couple nice goals early.”
Falmouth was back in action Tuesday at NYA. The Yachtsmen’s home opener is Saturday versus Poland. Next Tuesday brings a visit to Greely.
Freeport’s first match was Tuesday at Greely. The Falcons host Lake Region Saturday and go to Fryeburg Tuesday of next week.
Greely also began Tuesday, with a match versus Freeport. The Rangers host Falmouth next Tuesday.
Yarmouth opened with a 2-0 home win over NYA. Tess Merrill scored both goals. The Clippers were at Lake Region Tuesday and go to Cape Elizabeth Friday.
The Panthers got 24 saves from goalkeeper Scout Fischman in the loss. They hosted Falmouth Tuesday and play at home versus Old Orchard Beach Friday.
Two-time defending Class C field hockey state champion NYA made an impressive statement in its opener against visiting Freeport. It took the Panthers a mere 110 seconds to break the ice and take the lead for good. NYA then put the game away in the second half, scoring twice, as it went on to a 3-0 victory. Freshman Juliana Tardif stole the show in her first varsity game. The Freeport native rattled the cage twice to help the Panthers open in style.
Tardif’s rebound goal put NYA ahead to stay.
“We had some good passes and being low on post and making cuts to get open helped,” said Tardif. “I anticipated where the play was going.”
With 20:44 left in regulation, Tardif rebounded a shot to make it a 2-0 game.
“I never tell anyone about my secret weapons,” said NYA coach Tracy Quimby, who didn’t mention Tardif in preseason discussions. “She’s got some good skills and speed. The kids have taken to her. She’s confident and head smart. She has a good command of the field and all the positions. She’ll do well anywhere.”
The clincher came with 3:53 on the clock. On a penalty corner, Marina Poole and captain Jen Brown executed a pretty give-and-go and Poole finished to make it 3-0.
“Overall, I’m so proud of us,” said Tardif. “Coming in new, everyone’s been welcoming. I think we have a great team and we work well together. I’m so happy to be here at NYA. It’s amazing to be with these experienced girls. It’s a good start.”
“I’m pretty happy,” said Quimby. “Being 1-0 is nice. We’re going to do well if we stay healthy. We have a few players who are getting healthy. We have strong players. I think our seniors will be the backbone for us. Twelve of them are back. Most of them played their first year of varsity last year.”
NYA was at Traip Tuesday, welcomes Greely Saturday and goes to Old Orchard Beach Monday. Two days later, reigning Western B champion York pays a visit.
Despite the loss, Freeport was bolstered by 12 saves from goalie Tallie Martin.
“Obviously it was a tough opener with the defending state champs on turf,” said Falcons coach Sara Dimick. “They have the advantage since we’re not a turf team. There were some beautiful moments where we connected as a group. The change of speed of the game really was tough for the girls to adjust to. We had some opportunities. I was really proud that the girls played hard until the end. I want them to recognize that and make their stamina and fight last for the whole game.”
Freeport evened its mark at 1-1 Friday with a 3-0 win over visiting Waynflete. Dayze Gaulin, Hannah Williams and Olivia Bubar had goals. Korissa Lavers had an assist. Martin saved four shots.
The Falcons were at Sacopee Tuesday, play host to Old Orchard Beach Saturday and go to Poland Tuesday of next week.
In Western B, Falmouth has dazzled in early action, blanking visiting Greely and host Cape Elizabeth by 3-0 margins.
Against the Rangers, Mikey Richards, Leika Scott and Hayley Winslow all scored.
“We worked as a team for the past two weeks,” Winslow said. “The 7 a.m. practices have paid off. Our midfield is really strong this season. The forwards had great tips. Our backs backed us up. Everything worked. It was a nice way to kick things off. This felt really good. We’re going to continue to get stronger.”
“We have faith and believe in ourselves,” Scott said. “We have five seniors and six juniors and a lot of swing players. We have a lot of depth. A lot of key players.”
“We were a little slow at first, playing a lot of ping pong, but I think that was due to nerves,” added Falmouth coach Robin Haley. “The girls did a nice job settling down and we were able to put some things together and play like we had in the preseason.”
In the win over the Capers, Dayna Vasconcelos, Jillian Rothweiler and Scott scored goals and Katie Cooleen paced a defense which successfully killed off eight penalty corners.
“The give-and-gos are really what we’re capitalizing on this year,” Rothweiler said. “Overall, our offense is really stepping up. I had high expectations for our team this year.”
“We have a really strong defense,” said Cooleen. “I can trust everyone. Hillary (Nash) is a great goalie. We have certain positions that we cover (on corners), but mostly, it’s how (the other team) reacts and we react to what they give us.”
“We have different players stepping up so far,” said Haley. “It’s just two games, but I’ll take it after what we graduated. I’m really pleased. It’s a good start.”
The Yachtsmen played at Yarmouth Tuesday, return home to face Lake Region Thursday, then have a huge test Monday at nemesis York, the reigning regional champion.
While Greely struggled in its opener, the Rangers know that brighter days are ahead.
“We have some work to do,” said Greely coach Kristina Lane Prescott. “You can see (Falmouth’s) experience on turf. We don’t have that. There’s a lof of skill everywhere. They beat us to the ball.”
The Rangers were home with Fryeburg Tuesday, go to nemesis York Thursday and play at NYA Saturday. Monday, Greely hosts Gray-New Gloucester.
Yarmouth opened with a 4-1 home loss to Lake Region. Lily Daggett scored. The Clippers bounced back with a 5-0 triumph at Gray-New Gloucester. Yarmouth was home with Falmouth Tuesday, goes to Traip Friday and plays host to Wells Monday.
Falmouth hosted NYA, Lake Region and York in a season-opening meet and the Yachtsmen were first on both the boys’ and girls’ sides. Bryce Murdick of Falmouth won the boys’ race in 18 minutes, 1 second. Falmouth’s Madeline Roberts was runner-up in the girls’ competition (21:38). NYA was paced by Hannah Austin (third among girls, 21:53) and Matt Malcolm (fifth on the boys’ side, 18:41).
Merriconeag hosted Greely, Fryeburg and Traip. Merriconeag won the girls’ competition with the Rangers second. Greely’s Eva Bates was the individual winner (20:58). Merriconeag’s Zoe Chace-Donahue was runner-up (22:41). In the boys’ competition, won by Fryeburg, the Rangers were second and the hosts third. Individually, Merriconeag’s Jack Pierce came in second (16:20) and Greely’s Nate Madeira was third (17:30).
Freeport and Yarmouth joined Waynflete at Poland. The Falcons won the boys’ meet with the Clippers second. Freeport’s Abrim Berkemeyer was first individually (17:56), two seconds faster than Yarmouth’s Braden Becker. In the girls’ competition, the Clippers came in first and the Falcons second. Individually, Yarmouth’s Sarah Becker finished second (21:42) and Freeport was placed by Nina Davenport (sixth, 23:48).
Friday, Falmouth and Merriconeag run at Gray-New Gloucester, Freeport joins Lake Region, Traip and Wells at Cape Elizabeth, Greely is home with NYA, Poland and York and Yarmouth joins Sacopee at Fryeburg.
Defending Class A golf champion Falmouth opened with an 8-5 victory over top rival Scarborough. A showdown at co-favorite Cheverus looms Thursday. Greely downed Bonny Eagle, 10.5-2.5, in its opener. Freeport lost, 7-0, to Wells in its first time out. NYA’s first varsity match since 2010 resulted in a 6-1 loss to Yarmouth. The Panthers bounced back with 6-1 triumphs over Fryeburg and Sacopee. In addition to its win over NYA, Yarmouth also defeated rival Cape Elizabeth, 4-3, to take a 2-0 mark into Tuesday’s match against Wells.
Defending Class A volleyball champion Greely opened its title defense Tuesday at Biddeford. The Rangers host Lake Region Thursday and Falmouth Monday.
The Yachtsmen won the first two games at Gorham in their opener, 25-19 and 25-21, but dropped the next three (20-25, 15-25, 11-25) to lose the match. Falmouth was at first-year program Cheverus Tuesday, plays host to Cony Thursday and has a showdown at Greely Monday.
Reigning Class B champ Yarmouth opened in style, blanking NYA 25-19, 25-10, 25-5 behind eight aces and 13 service points from Gina Robertson, 13 services points and six assists from Emma Mairhofer, six aces from Grace Gilbert and six kills from Kristina Borderia. The Clippers are home with Cape Elizabeth Thursday, then go to Bucksport and Jonesport-Beals Saturday.
The Panthers host Cheverus Thursday and go to Windham Monday.
Falmouth junior Leika Scott fires a shot during the Yachtsmen’s regular season-opening 3-0 victory over Greely.
Falmouth’s Sarah Sparks tries to affect the shot of Greely’s Cassie Demick in the season opener.