Falmouth becomes York’s 46th straight victim

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York senior standout Lily Posternak handles the ball as Falmouth senior Mary Budri defends during the teams’ game Monday night. Posternak had two goals and the two-time defending Class B champion Wildcats prevailed, 5-0, to extend their win streak to 46.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

FALMOUTH—There would be no victory celebration this time.

That’s because Falmouth’s field hockey team had the misfortune of hosting a team Monday evening that never loses.

Paying a visit to the Yachtsmen’s turf field was two-time defending Class B champion York, which put on yet another prolific display and its dominance shows no signs of abating.

Falmouth came out with great energy, perhaps riding the wave of Saturday’s dramatic overtime win at Yarmouth, but after senior Bella Libby, Saturday’s hero, hit the post in the third minute, the Wildcats began to take over.

It took 17 minutes, 33 seconds for the game’s first goal to be scored and to no one’s surprise, York senior standout Lily Posternak did the honors, burying a backhanded blast off a penalty corner.

The Yachtsmen were only down by a goal at halftime, but the Wildcats quickly ended all doubt in the second half.

York scored three penalty corner goals in less than seven minutes to blow it open, as junior Sydney Bouchard, Posternak and senior Alex Lawler all rattled the cage.

With 9:45 to play, freshman Bailey Oliver got in on the fun, scoring the Wildcats’ lone run-of-play goal and York went on to a 5-0 victory.

The Wildcats produced their fifth consecutive shutout, improved to 10-0 this fall, made it 46 consecutive victories overall, improved to 18-0-1 in their last 19 games against Falmouth and dropped the Yachtsmen to 9-2 in the process.

“I’m really proud of all the girls,” said the Duke University-bound Posternak. “We worked really hard especially against a team as good as Falmouth. They really worked hard too.”

“We had some opportunities, but we couldn’t execute,” lamented Yachtsmen coach Robin Haley. “We turned the ball over. You have to minimize errors in a game against York because they capitalize.”

Model of perfection

York last lost a game in the 2013 Class B state final, 1-0, to Nokomis. Since then, the Wildcats produced back-to-back 18-0 seasons, winning consecutive championships.

The beat has gone on in 2016, as  York defeated visiting Fryeburg Academy (3-1), host Poland (4-0), visiting Kennebunk (rallying for a 2-1 overtime win), host St. Dom’s (2-1), host Yarmouth (3-1), visiting Falmouth (3-0), visiting Gray-New Gloucester (9-0), host Fryeburg Academy (3-0) and visiting Freeport (5-0).

Falmouth had to go to overtime in its opener against visiting Yarmouth and got a goal from senior Devon Sarazin to produce a 3-2 victory. That win was followed up by victories at Kennebunk (2-1) and Fryeburg Academy (2-0), at home over Gray-New Gloucester (8-1) and at Greely (2-0). After a 3-1 loss at York, the Yachtsmen bounced back to defeat host Lake Region (2-0), visiting North Yarmouth Academy (5-0) and visiting Poland (6-2), before edging host Yarmouth, 3-2, Saturday on Libby’s goal as time expired in the second overtime.

Entering play Monday night, York had won 24 of 29 meetings since the start of the 2003 season (see sidebar, below), with Falmouth prevailing just three times (two other games ended in ties). That includes York’s home victory on Sept. 14.

This time around, the Yachtsmen sought their first win over the Wildcats since a 3-0 home triumph Sept. 11, 2008, but York extended its unbeaten streak over Falmouth to 19 games.

The Yachtsmen had great energy at the start and got the game’s first good scoring chance, when off a corner, senior Sydney Bell had a shot blocked and Libby pounced on the rebound, only to send it inches from the goal and off the post.

York then transitioned to offense and began knocking at the door.

In the fifth minute, Posternak had her first look, but shot just wide.

In the seventh minute, on a corner, Posternak looked to shoot, but Falmouth sophomore defender Liberty Ladd blocked it.

After Yachtsmen sophomore goalie Caitlyn Bull cleared away a corner, then broke up a pass from Bouchard to junior Jessa Smith, Falmouth got another chance on offense, but a cross from Sarazin to Libby resulted in a shot that was blocked.

With 12:27 to play in the first half, York got the only goal it would need.

On their fourth corner, the Wildcats got the look they wanted, as they demonstrated terrific ball movement and senior Isabel Bretz got the ball to Posternak and while Posternak was only able to unleash a backhanded shot, she has a backhand like no other and her blast eluded Bull and rattled the cage for a 1-0 lead.

“I work on my backhanded shot a lot with my club team,” Posternak said. “Most girls can hit a forehand, so it’s a good skill to have to be able to fake a forehand and pull left and hit the backhand. Usually the defense and goalie aren’t expecting it, especially if I can keep it flat.”

Bull and the Yachtsmen defense kept the hosts alive the rest of the half, as Bull denied senior Brigitte Spencer, Bretz and Spencer again and Bouchard shot wide.

Falmouth earned a second corner, but couldn’t manage a shot and the game went to the break 1-0.

The Yachtsmen couldn’t hold the Wildcats off in the second half, although senior sweeper Olivia Stucker momentarily frustrated them by making a terrific defensive save, swatting away an apparent Posternak goal which deflected high and over Bull.

With 25:38 remaining, York went up, 2-0, as it again demonstrated its nonpareil passing on a penalty corner. Posternak and Bouchard executed a pretty give-and-go and Bouchard finished.

With 23:23 to go, Posternak scored for the second time, again with a long range rip, but this time from her forehand, completing a penalty corner for a 3-0 lead.

“We did better on our corner execution today than most games,” Posternak said. “We have a lot of plays. It gets confusing some times, but we make it work. If the other team shuts down the initial play, we’re really good at not forcing it and being able to adapt where the defense is, finding an open player and getting the shot off.”

The fourth goal again came off a corner, with 19:59 showing, as Posternak set up Lawler.

Falmouth refused to quit and pushed to get on the board, getting some good looks on its six second half corners, but it couldn’t rattle the cage. Bell shot just wide three different times, senior Maddie Rouhana did the same and on the doorstep, sophomore Emma Cohen was denied by York junior goalie Julia Carr.

With 9:45 remaining, the Wildcats returned to their scoring ways, as senior Michaela Lumis passed the ball to Oliver on the side of the cage to Bull’s right and Oliver beat the goalie to make it 5-0.

Down the stretch, Yachtsmen junior Stone Carmichael was denied twice and junior Brienn Douglas missed just wide and York put the finishing touches on its 5-0 victory.

“This was the first time we scored more in the second half than the first,” Posternak said. “It’s a defining moment for the team. We applied pressure the whole game. It took a little while to get the first goal. Once we got it, we continued to keep up the pressure, which is really important.”

The Wildcats converted five of their nine shots on cage and had a 13-8 advantage in penalty corners (scoring four times).

Falmouth got four saves from Bull and the team did some good things as a whole, but the Yachtsmen just couldn’t solve the York juggernaut.

“I was pleased with the early part of the game,” Haley said. “For the most part, we did what we needed to do, but they capitalized on the errors we made. They pass the ball beautifully and executed well. They were dynamite on corners. After their third goal, it was a bit of a letdown, but the girls stayed in it. They didn’t let up and played hard until the buzzer. From our standpoint, we have to do a better job with our stickwork and be able to take care of our passing. We have to play with more composure.”

Nearing the finish line

York appears to have the top seed in Class B South all but locked up once again. The Wildcats are home with Lake Region Wednesday and visit Cape Elizabeth Friday. A home tilt versus Greely and a visit to Lake Region Oct. 6 wraps up the regular season schedule.

“We don’t try to think about or talk about (our win streak) much,” Posternak said. “It’s not our main focus. Our main focus is getting better each game. We always have room to improve. We’ll keep working hard in practice. We don’t want to get complacent. We’ll run into good teams, but I think our team wants to win every game. We’re playing with all our heart.”

Falmouth is in the hunt for a top seed in Class A South. At press time, the Yachtsmen were first, but they will drop as teams like Marshwood, Massabesic, Scarborough and Thornton Academy earn victories in the days ahead. Falmouth welcomes Fryeburg Academy Wednesday and visits Freeport Friday before closing at home versus Cape Elizabeth Oct. 6.

The good news for the Yachtsmen is that they won’t face York again. The bad news is that they won’t finish as high in the standings as they would have had they beaten the Wildcats Monday.

“Had we been able to get this win, it would’ve been a huge boost, but we’ll regroup and get ready for our last few games,” Haley said.

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

Falmouth senior Sydney Bell brings the ball up the field as York senior Alex Lawler defends.

Falmouth senior Maddie Rouhana smacks the ball.

Falmouth senior Bella Libby and York sophomore Emlyn Patry keep a watch on the ball.

Falmouth sophomore goalie Caitlyn Bull kicks the ball away from York junior Sydney Bouchard.

Falmouth senior Devon Sarazin tries to knock the ball away from York sophomore Caroline Leal.

Falmouth junior Grace Soucy fights York junior Sydney Bouchard for the ball.

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