FALMOUTH—A couple of things were evident Monday evening at Falmouth High School.
While the York girls’ lacrosse team is vastly improved, the Wildcats aren’t the squad best equipped to make a run at Kennebunk.
The Falmouth Yachtsmen, meanwhile, most certainly are.
With the Rams front and center taking the game in from the bleachers, Falmouth produced a brilliant first half, holding York at bay, while scoring at will en route to a 9-1 lead.
In the second half, the Wildcats time and again tried to cut into the deficit, but Yachtsmen junior goalie Sarah Hutcheon made 13 saves and Falmouth went on to an impressive and decisive 11-2 victory.
Seven different players scored goals and Hutcheon ended up with 16 saves as Falmouth improved to 6-1 on the season, dropping York to 6-1 in the process.
“I’m really proud of the team,” said Yachtsmen coach Kait Johnson. “We wanted to make a statement today and I think we did. Before the game, our whole focus was just putting a full game together of Falmouth lacrosse, which is team play. We do our best when we have a lot of different people scoring. The first half was an amazing half.”
York has made a lot of noise this spring, but most of that occurred far from Cumberland County.
The Wildcats opened with an 11-4 win at Freeport, then shocked visiting defending Class B champion Yarmouth, 8-6. Next came another impressive home victory, 10-5, over reigning Western B champion Cape Elizabeth. York then defeated visiting Marshwood (9-5), host Gould Academy (14-6) and host Bonny Eagle (8-2).
Falmouth, meanwhile, made an immediate statement this season with a 14-9 win at Yarmouth, then dominated visiting Fryeburg Academy, 18-1. The Yachtsmen dropped a 7-6 home decision to Cape Elizabeth, before winning at home over Thornton Academy, 11-9, and prevailing with surprising ease at Waynflete (13-6) and Gorham (14-6).
After the Wildcats knocked the Yachtsmen from the 2013 playoffs, Falmouth had to go to “sudden victory” overtime last spring to beat visiting York, 8-7.
Monday, the Yachtsmen made sure that this one would be decided early.
Falmouth went on top to stay 78 seconds in when sophomore standout Sydney Bell set up senior Leigh Bernardy for a 1-0 lead.
After Hutcheon made her first save, on a free position from Wildcats senior Amanda Lillie, Yachtsmen senior Elle Fitzgerald scored on a free position, a goal she richly deserved after being sent flying by York senior goalie Livy Golini. Golini had to come out of the cage for the free position and Fitzgerald finished easily with 16 minutes to go in the first half.
Nineteen seconds later, Bernardy scored on a rebound and Falmouth was in good shape.
York broke through with 14:44 to go in the half when senior Mallory Connelly scored (senior Kayla Kelly got the assist).
The Yachtsmen got the goal back with 14:13 to go before halftime when Fitzgerald stole the ball, then ran in and finished.
Bell set up sophomore Devin Sarazin for a goal with 11:04 left, making it 5-1 and forcing York coach Jodie Lawlor to call timeout.
It didn’t help, as Falmouth sophomore Olivia Stucker scored unassisted with 7:44 to go in the half and 39 seconds later, Bell scored unassisted for a 7-1 advantage.
After Bell set up junior London Bernier for a goal with 5:28 remaining before halftime, Bell finished a feed from Stucker for a commanding 9-1 lead at the break.
Bernardy won nine of 11 first half draws and Falmouth enjoyed an advantage in ground balls and shots.
While the Yachtsmen cooled offensively in the second half, Hutcheon ensured that the Wildcats would never make a serious run, as she made 13 saves, many coming on free positions.
“Our defense played so well,” said Hutcheon. “They crashed really fast and we didn’t let them in. We made sure at halftime to stay focused and play like it was 0-0. I’m just making sure I’m lined up on my crease and that they don’t see a lot of net.”
With 10:45 to play, York ended a 20 minute, 59 second scoring drought when Connelly scored from sophomore Emma Ford, but Stucker (from Bell) scored at 7:15 and with 2:01 to go, Bernier set up senior Lizzie Goodrich to account for the 11-2 final score.
“Our team’s figured out how to work together,” Stucker said. “Last year we didn’t have that team aspect, but we have support all over the field. You know everyone has your back. We aren’t selfish. We look for each other. Honestly, we just have fun out there. We didn’t have to use our plays, we just saw each other and had a good time. We knew they were a good team. We played like it was close the whole time, but we played like I’ve never seen us play before.”
“The girls are happy and I’m happy,” Johnson said. “The energy was high and it felt like a one- or two-goal game.”
Four different Yachtsmen (Bell, Bernardy, Fitzgerald and Stucker) had two goals each. Bernier, Goodrich and Sarazin all tickled the twine once. Bell added four assists, while Bernier finished with two. Bernardy controlled the draw circle, winning 10 of 15 chances, and had a team-high six ground balls.
Hutcheon sparkled with 16 saves.
“Sarah had an outstanding game,” Johnson said. “She’s stepping up and showing leadership. You can see it. I’m so proud of her. Our defense was unbelievable all over the field.”
Falmouth overcame 21 turnovers.
For York, Connelly scored both goals. Ford and Kayla Kelly had assists. Golini made six saves.
The Wildcats won the ground ball battle, 30-27 (sophomore Allie Lawlor had a game-high seven and Lillie scooped up five), outshot the Yachtsmen, 25-18 (18-17 on cage), and turned the ball over 17 times.
Top spot within reach
The Wildcats’ brutal week continues Thursday when they host Kennebunk. After hosting North Yarmouth Academy, York (now third in the latest Western Class B Heal Points standings) goes to Waynflete and Fryeburg Academy, then closes at home versus Wells.
Falmouth (second in the region) still hopes to leapfrog Kennebunk for the top seed. The Yachtsmen are back in action Thursday at Lake Region, then play at Kennebunk Tuesday of next week.
That game will be closely watched as it will go a long way in determining who winds up first in Western B.
“We know (Kennebunk’s) a good team,” Stucker said. “We’ll go in there and try to play the game we played today. I think that will be a close game and we want to come out on top. Every day we surprise ourselves. We knew we’d be good, but the support we have for each other is honestly the biggest difference. If we work as well as we can, I think we can do whatever we want to do.”
“We won’t get too confident, because you never know what might happen,” Hutcheon said. “Kennebunk will be great competition. We have to keep playing our game.”
After hosting Greely and Freeport, Falmouth gets a chance to avenge its lone loss when it visits Cape Elizabeth in the finale.
“We’re working on being consistent and I think we’re getting better at that,” Johnson said. “We want to keep doing what we’re doing.”
Falmouth sophomore Sydney Bell is defended by York sophomore Allie Lawlor.
Falmouth senior Leigh Bernardy eludes York senior Kayla Kelly.
Falmouth junior London Bernier weaves through the York defense.
Falmouth junior Nicole Budri defends York senior Kayla Kelly.
Falmouth senior Elle Fitzgerald races up the field. Fitzgerald scored twice.
Falmouth junior goalie Sarah Hutcheon makes one of her 16 saves.
Falmouth sophomore Devin Sarazin prepares to shoot.
Falmouth sophomore Olivia Stucker defends York senior Amanda Lillie.
Falmouth sophomore Sydney Bell (21) congratulates classmate Devin Sarazin after Sarazin’s goal stretches the Yachtsmen’s lead to 5-1.
Falmouth junior goalie Sarah Hutcheon is congratulated by classmate Nicole Budri at the conclusion of the Yachtsmen’s 11-2 win over York Monday night. Hutcheon made 16 saves as Falmouth handed the Wildcats their first loss.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.
Falmouth 11 York 2
Y- 1 1- 2
F- 9 2- 11
23:48 F Bernardy (Bell)
16:00 F Fitzgerald (free position)
15:41 F Bernardy (unassisted)
14:44 Y Connelly (Kayla Kelly)
14:13 F Fitzgerald (unassisted)
11:04 F Sarazin (Bell)
7:44 F Stucker (unassisted)
7:05 F Bell (unassisted)
5:28 F Bernier (Bell)
5:03 F Bell (Stucker)
10:45 Y Connelly (Ford)
7:15 F Stucker (Bell)
2:11 F Goodrich (Bernier)
Y- Connelly 2
F- Bell, Bernardy, Fitzgerald, Stucker 2, Bernier, Goodrich, Sarazin 1
Y- Ford, Kayla Kelly 1
F- Bell 4, Bernier 2
Draws (Falmouth, 10-5)
Y- Lillie 2 of 11, Lawlor 3 of 4
F- Bernardy 10 of 15
Ground balls (York, 30-27)
Y- Lawlor 7, Lillie 5, Golini, Kara Kelly, Kayla Kelly 3, Cole, Mallett, Smith 2, Abruzzese, Ford, Mckenna 1
F- Bernardy 6, Bell 5, Budri 4, Bernier 3, Costa, Fitzgerald, Goodrich 2, DiPhilippo, Sarazin, Stucker 1
Shots on cage:
Y (Golini) 6
F (Hutcheon) 16