Fall sports season hits midway point-Northern edition

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Falmouth’s John Auer heads toward a first-place finish at last week’s cross country meet at Kennebunk.

Yarmouth’s Sara D’Appolonia scores one of her three goals during the Clippers’ 7-0 home win over Cape Elizabeth Friday. D’Appolonia entered the week with 20 goals on the season.

Falmouth’s Alison Noyes goes up for a kill over Yarmouth’s Ceanne Lyon during the Clippers’ 3-0 win last week.

North Yarmouth Academy goalie Eliza Tod makes one of her 31 saves during the Panthers’ 6-1 home loss to Yarmouth Friday.

(Ed. Note: For the complete Yarmouth-Cape Elizabeth boys’ soccer, Falmouth-Marshwood and Yarmouth-Cape Elizabeth girls’ soccer, Falmouth-Cheverus and NYA-Yarmouth field hockey and Falmouth-Yarmouth volleyball stories, with photos, see theforecaster.net)

Considering it’s felt like summer the past several days, the fact that the fall sports season is halfway over might be hard to believe.

We are closer to the start of the playoffs than the beginning of the season, however, and there is a lot of excitement in store.

Last week produced its share of drama and here’s a look back, with a glimpse at what’s to come as well:

Football

Three of four local football teams tasted victory last weekend as the regular season hit its halfway point.

Falmouth had the biggest win, bouncing back from its loss at Kennebunk with a statement-making 42-30 triumph at Biddeford to improve to 3-1. The Yachtsmen fell behind early, 7-0, but quickly answered on a 40-yard run by quarterback Jack Bryant. In the second period, Bryant hit Garret Aube on a 35-yard pass, but the Tigers answered to make it 14-14 at halftime. After falling behind, 21-14, a Bryant 16-yard TD run tied it again. Again, Biddeford went on top only to miss the two-point conversion pass, but Garret Aube’s 41-yard touchdown run was followed by an interception return for a touchdown by Emilio Micucci to put Falmouth ahead, 35-27, after three quarters. The Tigers pulled within five on a field goal, but another Bryant TD run put it away.

The Yachstmen (third behind Kennebunk and Marshwood in the Class B South Heal Points standings) return home Friday to host 3-1 Messalonskee in an interesting crossover contest (see theforecaster.net for game story). The teams didn’t play last year.

Greely improved to 2-2 and fourth in Class B South after a pivotal 34-20 win at Brewer in a crossover. Rangers quarterback Nick Male threw touchdown passes to Joey Casella and Shane DeWolfe to forge a 12-7 halftime lead. Trailing, 13-12, Male and DeWolfe connected again, but the Witches tied the score at 20-20. With just over five minutes to play, Male connected with Nolan Anderson for the lead and after a key interception from Jackson Williams, Tim Coyle’s touchdown run slammed the door and Greely had the victory.

The Rangers are home with 2-2 Gorham Friday. Last year, Greely won, 36-6, at Gorham.

In Class C South, Freeport got in the win column and improved to 1-3 with a 41-6 home victory over Gray-New Gloucester Saturday. The Falcons went ahead to stay on Adam Ulrickson’s 33-yard touchdown run. Later in the first quarter, quarterback Josh Burke scored on a short run. In the second period, Burke hit Mike Foss for a 28-yard score and James Knighton’s TD run made it 28-0 at the break. Jacob Tomm’s touchdown run induced a mercy rule running clock and stretched the lead to 35-0 after three quarters. Justin Cogswell, who replaced Burke, scored on a keeper in the fourth quarter and while the Patriots got on the board late, it wasn’t nearly enough.

Freeport (eighth in the region) looks to win again Saturday afternoon when it welcomes 3-1 Spruce Mountain. The teams met in last year’s Class C South quarterfinals, a 20-14 victory for the Phoenix.

Yarmouth fell to 0-4 with a 39-14 loss at Lake Region. The Lakers took a 20-0 lead after one quarter and carried it to the half. In the third period, Lake Region extended their advantage to 33-0. In the final stanza, the Clippers sandwiched a TD run from Noah Eckersley-Ray and a touchdown pass from Eckersley-Ray to Jack Ricciardi around one final Lakers’ score to account for the final score.

Yarmouth (10th in Class C South) hosts 4-0 Leavitt Friday night. The teams didn’t play a year ago.

Boys’ soccer

Falmouth’s boys’ soccer team carried a 6-1 record and the top ranking in the Class A South Heals into Tuesday’s home showdown against once-beaten Deering (see theforecaster.net for game story). Last week, the Yachtsmen extended their win streak to five by downing visiting Westbrook (3-0) and host Marshwood (2-1). Ben Wuesthoff had two goals and Tom Fitzgerald scored once in the win over the Blue Blazes. Against the Hawks, Fitzgerald and Nate Arrants had the goals. Falmouth visits undefeated South Portland Thursday and plays host to Scarborough Tuesday of next week.

Three-time defending Class B champion Yarmouth improved to 7-0 last week with wins at Poland (7-0) and at home over Cape Elizabeth (2-1). At the Knights, in longtime coach Mike Hagerty’s 250th victory with the program, Max Coury and Ian LaBrie had two goals apiece and Aaron Belesca, Luke Groothoff and Eric LaBrie all scored once. The Clippers trailed the Capers, 1-0, at halftime, but tied it on a Coury goal and won it on a rebound tally from Jack Jones.

“At halftime, our kids realized they just needed to play harder,” said Hagerty. “We didn’t play as fast as we can in the first half and we adjusted. We stopped thinking too much about tactics and just played soccer.”

Yarmouth (first in Class B South) hosted York in a pivotal contest Tuesday, visits Freeport Friday and plays at Gray-New Gloucester Tuesday.

Greely was 3-3-1 and sixth in Class B South after a scoreless tie at Cape Elizabeth and an 8-1 home victory over Lake Region. Quinn Molloy and Aiden Smith both scored twice in the win, while Silas Cunningham, A.J. Eisenhart, Jack Libby and Hazael Tshituka had the other goals. The Rangers were at Poland Tuesday and go to York Wednesday of next week.

Freeport sandwiched shutout wins at North Yarmouth Academy (4-0) and at Poland (7-0) around a 4-0 home loss to York last week. Joe Ashby, Eriksen Shea, Shea Wagner and Will Winter all scored against the Panthers. In the loss to the Wildcats, the Falcons gave up three goals to Alex Nickerson and couldn’t respond to an early deficit.

“I feel like we’re talented,” said Freeport coach Joe Heathco. “The result today is disappointing, but I feel like we can win games.”

In the win over the Knights, Gabe Wagner scored two times, while Ashby, Shea, Winter, Wes Goodwin and Evan McKittrick also found the net.

The Falcons (eighth in Class B South at press time) were home with Waynflete Tuesday, host Yarmouth Friday and welcome Cape Elizabeth Tuesday of next week.

NYA began the week 2-3-1 and 11th in Class D South after home losses to Freeport (4-0) and Waynflete (3-0) last week. The Panthers were at Traip Academy Tuesday, host St. Dom’s Friday and visit Richmond Monday.

Girls’ soccer

On the girls’ side, defending Class B champion Yarmouth continues to dominate. Last week, the Clippers improved to 8-0 and first in the Heals after decisive wins at Poland (9-0) and at home over Cape Elizabeth (7-0). Standout Sara D’Appolonia had four goals, Hannah Merrill added two and Isabel Brennan, Hannah Dwyer and Parker Harnett had one apiece in the victory over the Knights. Against the Capers, D’Appolonia had three goals in the first half (giving her a whopping 20 for the season), Ehryn Groothoff added a pair, Hannah Corey had a goal and an assist and Ellie Purgavie also tickled the twine.

“The younger players have stepped up a lot, which is very impressive,” said Corey. “We lost some starters and I’m impressed that we’ve picked up where we left off (last year).”

“Soccer is a funny sport,” said D’Appolonia. “You have to go into every game and play your way. We came into this game thinking it would be tough. We matched up well, but we had the better game. We’ve really jelled. Girls are stepping up and we’re looking good out there.”

“Cape is extremely well-coached, they’re a fantastic group of girls and had won five in a row, so I thought it would be extremely close, but the girls stepped up tonight,” added Clippers first-year coach Chris Coleman. “We were clinical and ruthless. Overall, I’m extremely happy.”

The Clippers had a test at York Tuesday, visit Freeport Friday and welcome Gray-New Gloucester Tuesday of next week.

Greely suffered a painful 3-2 home loss to Cape Elizabeth last Tuesday, then improved to 5-3 with a 7-3 victory at Lake Region Friday. Brooke Obar and Skylar Cooney had the goals against the Capers, but the Rangers let a late lead slip away. Anna DeWolfe scored twice and Sawyer Dusch, Julia Martel, Logan Pray, Katie Steinberg and Courtney Sullivan all had one goal in the victory. Greely (fourth in Class B South) was at Poland Wednesday and visits York Tuesday of next week.

Freeport blanked host Poland, 5-0, Saturday, then improved to 6-2 Monday with a 2-0 home win over defending Class C South champion Waynflete. In the win over the Knights, Allie Goodman, Catriona Gould, Abbi King, Tia Peterson and Taylor Rinaldi all scored. The Falcons then beat the Flyers for the first time since 2005 and extended their win streak to five, the program’s best run this century behind second half goals from Abbi King and Becca Cameron.

“We haven’t played teams lately who play through their mids and they have really strong mids, so we had to adapt to that,” Cameron said. “That’s where our heads were at going into the second half.”

“I think we really stepped it up after halftime,” King said. “Our halftime talk was really inspiring.”

“It’s always a close game with (Waynflete),” Freeport coach Elayna Girardin added. “They’ve knocked us out of playoff contention in the past. They’re a very strong Class C program and you can’t count them out. I’m happy we came out on the winning side.”

The Falcons (fifth in Class B South) host Yarmouth Friday and go to Wells Wednesday of next week.

Falmouth fell to 2-5 and 12th in Class A South after losses last week to visiting Marshwood (2-0) and at Gorham (3-0) in a playoff rematch. Against the Hawks, the Yachtsmen fell behind 52 seconds in and couldn’t rally.

“I think we were by far the better team, but we didn’t finish and we made some silly mistakes in front of our goal,” lamented Falmouth coach Andrew Pelletier. “That’s been our Achilles’ heel. I think we created 15, 16 quality chances on goal.”

The Yachtsmen host Portland Thursday, welcome South Portland Saturday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and play at Massabesic Wednesday of next week.

NYA was 1-5 and 10th in Class D South at the start of the week following Friday’s 9-0 loss at Waynflete. The Panthers hosted Traip Academy Wednesday, visit Richmond Friday, Rangeley Monday and Greater Portland Christian School Wednesday of next week.

Field hockey

Yarmouth’s field hockey team was second to three-time defending state champion York in the Class B South Heal Points standings at press time after navigating a tumultuous week last week, surviving a coaching change and defeating visiting Cape Elizabeth (4-1) and host NYA (6-1) to improve to 7-1. Against the Capers, in the farewell for coach Amy Ashley, who is now the athletic director at Cheverus, Kyaira Grondin, Lydia Guay, Emilie Martin and Sophie McGrath had the goals. At the Panthers, with Andrea Musante taking over as coach, Grondin and McGrath both scored twice and Maggie Gunville and Cate Ralph rattled the cage once apiece.

“It’s been an emotional, mental and physical roller-coaster, but we’ve come together as a team and we’ve done pretty well,” McGrath said. “I’m excited for the rest of the season.”

“Our goal was to come out early and set the tone, not just for this game but for the rest of the season,” Musante said.

Yarmouth was at Freeport Tuesday (see theforecaster.net for game story), hosts Wells Thursday, then welcomes York in a pivotal battle Monday.

Greely was 3-4-1 and fourth in Class B South after a 1-0 loss at Lake Region and a 3-1 victory at Fryeburg Academy last week. Ella Novick had two goals and Maddy Perfetti also scored in the win. The Rangers were home with Traip Academy Tuesday, welcome Cape Elizabeth Thursday and play at Gray-New Gloucester Monday.

Freeport fell from the unbeaten ranks last week, falling to 5-2-1 and sixth in Class B South after losses at St. Dom’s (9-0) and at home against York (3-0). After hosting Yarmouth Tuesday, the Falcons are at Poland Thursday, welcome Cape Elizabeth Saturday and play host to Fryeburg Academy Monday of next week.

In Class A South, Falmouth fell to 3-6 and 14th in the Heals after losses last week at Cheverus (4-0) and at home to Kennebunk (1-0) and 3-1 at defending regional champion Massabesic Monday in a playoff rematch. Goalie Caitlyn Bull made seven saves against the Stags and Rams. Mary Kate Bayer scored against the Mustangs.

“We continue to struggle putting the ball in the net,” Yachtsmen coach Robin Haley said after the loss to the Stags. “I feel like we started out fairly strong and played strong most of the first half. Once they got that goal, we let down a little bit. We had some good spurts in the second half, we just weren’t able to finish our opportunities.”

Falmouth was home with Biddeford Wednesday, plays at South Portland Friday and hosts Gorham Monday.

In Class C South, NYA began the week 3-4 and ninth in the Heals after Friday’s 6-1 home loss to Yarmouth. Caroline Gepfert had a late goal and goalie Eliza Tod made 31 saves.

“Eliza was fantastic today,” Panthers coach Julia Sterling said. “The girls played really well. I have an eighth grader and three ninth graders who are learning as fast as they can. It’s a very nice group of girls. They work really hard. I’m so proud of them.”

NYA was at Wells Tuesday, hosts Sacopee Valley Thursday, visits Lake Region Saturday and welcomes St. Dom’s Monday of next week.

Volleyball

Yarmouth’s volleyball team began the week second behind undefeated Cape Elizabeth in the Class B Heals after key three-set wins last week at Cony (25-15, 25-13, 25-12) and at home over Falmouth (25-10, 26-24, 26-24). Kaitlyn Bennett and Maggie Murray both had six kills against the Rams. In the victory over the Yachtsmen, the Clippers’ first since 2010, Dominique Moran had 20 assists and eight service points, Murray six kills and three blocks and Ceanne Lyon six blocks, four kills and eight service points.

“We’re really coming together and meshing so well,” Lyon said. “We love each other and I think it really shows on the court. We reached inside and brought everything we had and left it all on the court. We played loose and confident.”

“The kids played very aggressively around the floor tonight,” said Yarmouth coach Jim Senecal. “They scrambled more than they have all year. I hope they continue to do that. I’m proud of the kids.”

The Clippers (6-1) were at NYA Tuesday, host Cheverus Thursday and welcome Gardiner Tuesday of next week.

Falmouth fell to 4-3 (and fourth in Class B) with losses last week to visiting Cape Elizabeth in four sets (19-25, 26-24, 27-29, 13-25) and at Yarmouth in three games (10-25, 24-26, 24-26). Against the Capers,  freshman setter Katie Phillips had 22 assists and seven service points and freshman Annika Hester contributed nine kills.

“It’s very frustrating,” Yachtsmen coach Molly Northway said. “It’s very mentally draining to play from behind. Cape’s a fantastic team. They dug everything up and put the ball down. Their offense was on fire.”

In the loss to the Clippers, Alison Noyes had six kills, five blocks and five service points.

“It was hard to piece everything together, but we have really good heart,” said Northway. “We have a great bench. I’m super-proud of how we played and stayed positive.”

Falmouth was home with Bonny Eagle Tuesday, goes to Biddeford Thursday and visits Kennebunk Tuesday of next week.

Greely enjoyed a four-set (25-22, 25-21, 23-25, 25-17) home win over Gorham, then lost in four-sets at Cape Elizabeth. Sara Agren had 10 kills, Morgan Selby 33 assists and Katie Ray six aces in the victory. The Rangers (4-4 and fifth in Class B) were at Scarborough in a state final rematch Tuesday, play at Brunswick Thursday, then host Cape Elizabeth Tuesday of next week.

NYA was 3-4 and seventh in Class C after a four-set loss at Lake Region and a four-set (25-15, 25-15, 16-25, 25-14) home win over Wells. The Panthers hosted Yarmouth Tuesday and welcome Cony Thursday.

Cross country

Freeport competed at the Manchester (New Hampshire) Invitational last weekend. The Falcons boys came in 13th in the small school division. Alex Les placed 23rd individually in 17 minutes, 52 seconds. The girls were 18th in the small school division and were led by a terrific effort from Lily Horne (second, 19:35).

Falmouth  joined Portland, South Portland and Windham at Kennebunk last week. The boys were first as a team and produced the individual champion in John Auer in 16:34 The Yachtsmen also had the second (Conner Piers, 16:48), third (Alex Kinley, 17:12) and fourth (Charlie Henning, 17:22) finishers. Falmouth’s girls were also first, as Sofie Matson (18:36) and Karley Piers (19:45) came in first and second individually.

Greely and Yarmouth joined Traip Academy at York. In the boys’ race, the Rangers were first and the Clippers placed fourth. Greely’s Sam Wilson was first individually (17:38). Yarmouth was led by Justin Pietropaoli (14th, 19:02). In the girls’ meet, York was first, the Rangers came in second and the Clippers placed third. Greely’s Marin Provencher was fourth (21:23). Eliza Crowley (18th, 23:21) paced Yarmouth.

NYA and Waynflete ran at Wells. The Panthers boys were third as a team and were led by Chris Hamblett (sixth, 18:59). NYA’s girls didn’t score as a team, but Charlotte Collins had the 13th-best individual time (25:41).

The Festival of Champions will be held Saturday in Belfast.

Golf

The final matches of the golf regular season are upon us and the Southwestern Maine Activities Association and Western Maine Conference state qualifiers will both be held next week.

Freeport exceeded its win total from a year ago when it beat Yarmouth, 6-1, last week to improve to 4-3. The Falcons had matches remaining against Old Orchard Beach and Cape Elizabeth.

Falmouth was 7-1 entering final matches at Cheverus and Portland.

Greely was 5-3 going into final matches at Westbrook and Thornton Academy.

Yarmouth was 4-4 going into final matches versus St. Dom’s and Poland.

NYA was 3-3 going into its final matches against Cape Elizabeth and Sacopee Valley.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.