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- The Forecaster
FALMOUTH—Saturday afternoon, the Falmouth girls’ soccer team found itself down a couple of goals in a matter of minutes in a loss at Greely.
Tuesday evening, the Yachtsmen found themselves on the other end of such a scenario and decided they like that much better.
Less than three minutes into an interclass showdown with two-time defending Class C champion Waynflete, Falmouth struck first when senior Georgia Babikian buried a penalty kick.
Before the game was 14 minutes old, junior Tyler Spence finished a feed from classmate Emma England and the Yachtsmen had some breathing room.
Falmouth, which enjoyed a player advantage virtually the whole way, got a second goal from Spence early in the second half and England, after several close calls, finished the scoring with 20 minutes to go and the Yachtsmen went on to a 4-0 victory.
Falmouth improved to 2-1-1 on the young season and dropped the Flyers to 1-1-1.
“We had to score in the first five minutes,” said Yachtsmen coach Andrew Pelletier. “We talked about building momentum going into a game instead of battling momentum and having to come back. We did well. (Waynflete’s) a good team. They’re well coached. It’s a good win for us tonight. Psychologically, it means a lot for the girls after Saturday.”
Falmouth and Waynflete have long been among the state’s elite girls’ soccer powers, but have very little head-to-head history.
The teams didn’t even meet until the 2010 season, when the Yachtsmen won at home, 3-0. Last fall, the host Flyers gave Falmouth fits, but Babikian’s first half goal stood up in a 1-0 Yachtsmen triumph.
Both squads have shown positive glimpses early this season.
The Flyers settled for a 2-2 home tie with Traip in the opener, then beat visiting Fryeburg, 2-1.
The Yachtsmen opened with a 2-0 victory at Gray-New Gloucester, then tied visiting Kennebunk, 1-1, and lost at Greely Saturday, 3-1, in a game which they had a lot of chances, but couldn’t capitalize.
Tuesday, on a chilly evening which saw fog descend in the second half, Falmouth got back on track.
In the third minute, the hosts earned a corner kick and a serve from freshman Cali Wiberg floated right in front of the goal, forcing Waynflete senior goalkeeper Julianna Harwood to punch it away. Problem was, Harwood hit it straight up and a defender knocked the ball away with her hand, which is an automatic red card and penalty kick.
Babikian buried the PK to the left of the diving Harwood and making matters worse for the Flyers, they would be forced to play the remainder of the contest down a player.
“Coming out fast and strong and scoring a goal in the first five minutes was a great way to set the tone,” Spence said.
Waynflete had a chance to equalize a minute later when junior Esme Benson, the hero of last year’s state final, unleashed a shot, but Yachtsmen sophomore goalkeeper Adelaide Cooke made the save.
The Flyers earned a corner kick in the 10th minute, but a shot from junior Arianna Giguere was blocked by sophomore Olivia Tapley.
Falmouth then transitioned back to offense and with 26:43 left in the half, England set up Spence for a one-timer right in front which beat Harwood to make it 2-0.
The Yachtsmen didn’t change their tactics being up a player.
“It can give you a false sense of security, but we didn’t let it,” Spence said. “We kept going as hard as we could.”
“We wanted to stick with what we were doing,” Pelletier said. “At first they had four backs, then they went to three. Once they went to three, I knew we’d get chances routinely with our speed up top.”
Again, Waynflete tried to answer, but a free kick from sophomore Isabel Canning was saved by Cooke and a blast from senior Helen Gray-Bauer went just wide.
Late in the half, England had a couple good chances, but Harwood robbed her on both occasions.
A heads up defensive play from junior Marcy Kittredge, who cleared a loose ball served by Benson, allowed Falmouth to take its 2-0 lead to the break.
In the second half, with 27 minutes to play, the visitors had their best chance to cut into the deficit, but a blast by freshman Lydia Giguere was tipped out by Cooke and the ensuing corner kick was cleared.
With 23:49 to go, Spence extended the lead, beating a defender, then going one-on-one with Harwood and finishing to make it 3-0.
“I was very impressed with (Harwood),” said Spence. “She did a great job tonight. We were able to outwit her a few times.”
“Tyler’s a different animal,” said Pelletier. “She’s a different player this year. It’s noticeable. You can see how improved she is. It’s translated from the premier game to the high school game.”
With 20:15 left, Spence set up England, who this time wouldn’t be denied, and her shot made it past Harwood for a 4-0 advantage.
“It was good to finally get one in considering I made so many runs,” England said. “Tyler is a good playmaker. She slotted balls through to me. Our midfield really connects well. We were able to get in and finish.”
“Emma usually plays out back for us,” Pelletier said. “We’ve changed some things around and she’s had some great chances. She creates havoc. She’s a special player. It was nice to see her finish one tonight.”
Near the end of the contest, Spence’s bid for a hat trick sailed just wide and Harwood made a highlight reel diving save to deny an England blast.
“Julianna made some great saves out there,” said Waynflete coach Todd Dominski. “It’s been nice to have her the last four years. She’s worked really hard.”
Falmouth then put the finishing touches on its 4-0 victory.
“I would have liked to see a few more goals, but we got more goals tonight than we’ve had all year,” Pelletier said.
Waynflete got 11 saves from Harwood and all in all, played well, considering what it had to overcome.
“It was a tough way to start,” Dominski said. “We can’t be a man down to a good team like Falmouth. I thought we played really well though. I was happy with our effort. We did create some.”
Each squad now returns to its usual set of foes.
Waynflete is back in action Friday when Lake Region pays a visit. The Flyers have a test at longtime rival North Yarmouth Academy Tuesday of next week and also travel to Old Orchard Beach next Friday.
This squad will only get better.
“I think we’re getting there,” said Dominski. “We need to get healthy. We have a lot of young players. We’re starting to find our way. Tonight was a positive step. We had much more energy tonight. This was a good confidence builder for us.”
Falmouth has a brutal stretch upcoming.
For starters, Friday, the Yachtsmen host defending Class B champion Cape Elizabeth.
“We’re ready to go,” Spence said. “We look forward to that. We can’t wait to play them.”
“(Cape) will be a tough game,” Pelletier said. “They have some terrific players. If we can get a result Friday, we’re going in the right direction.”
Then, Falmouth goes to York, hosts Poland, Greely and Yarmouth, visits Cape Elizabeth and welcomes York.
“I’m hoping we’re on our way back up,” England said. “Hopefully we’ll keep winning. Going forward, we just need to communicate a little bit more. If we connect our passes, I think we’ll be golden in our upcoming games.”
“Cape is a big test and next week doesn’t let up,” Pelletier said.
Waynflete sophomore Isabel Canning heads the ball away from Falmouth senior Georgia Babikian.
Waynflete junior Arianna Giguere fights Falmouth sophomore Lucy Mahoney for possession.
Waynflete senior goalkeeper Julianna Harwood blocks a shot from Falmouth junior Emma England. Harwood made 11 saves, several of them memorable.
Waynflete senior Helen Gray-Bauer tries to get past Falmouth junior Marcy Kittredge.
Falmouth sophomore Lucy Mahoney plays the ball.
Waynflete junior Christian Rowe and Falmouth senior Emma Van Wickler collide in the air.
Falmouth junior Tyler Spence slides to kick the ball away from Waynflete junior Arianna Giguere.
@ Falmouth 3 Waynflete 0
Falmouth junior Emma England races up the field with the ball as Waynflete sophomore Isabel Canning gives chase during the teams’ battle Tuesday night. England had a goal as the Yachtsmen downed the two-time defending Class C champion Flyers, 4-0.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.