Falmouth girls survive and advance; Freeport, Greely, Yarmouth finished

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It took a awhile, but the Falmouth girls’ soccer team advanced to the regional final once again.

The Yachtsmen, ranked third after a 9-3-2 regular season, had its way with No. 6 Yarmouth in the quarterfinals, 4-0, behind two goals from junior Alex Bernier and one each from juniors Caitlin Bucksbaum and Cassie Darrow.

The Clippers’ season came to an end at 7-9.

“We had two great games with Falmouth during the year that were really tight throughout, so I expected the same kind of game,” said Yarmouth coach Rich Smith. “We carried play for the first 15 minutes and had good opportunities including (senior) Ricki Pierce hitting the crossbar. They scored and five minutes later, had a breakaway. We had to be more aggressive and it took us out of our game. We’ve had trouble scoring goals this year. They got one more 18 seconds before halftime. We talked about playing hard and getting one early in the second half, but they got one. The score wasn’t indicative of how close the teams are. It was one of those nights when things went Falmouth’s way. They’re very good.

“The girls were good all year about playing hard, staying focused and keeping their heads. It was a tricky year with injuries and position changes. That made it hard to get continuity from game to game. We did play York to a pair of one-goal games and beat Falmouth by a goal and lost to them in overtime. When we were good, we were very good.”

Yarmouth loses five seniors and will be a force again in 2012.

“We have a lot of kids coming back and a strong eighth grade class,” said Smith. “I have high hopes for next year.”

Falmouth then went to No. 2 York Saturday for the semifinals. The rivals added another chapter to their playoff history with a contest that couldn’t be decided in 110 minutes.

After the Yachtsmen took an early lead on senior Annie Criscione’s header off a corner kick, the Wildcats drew even 11 minutes in. Early in the second half, Darrow struck to put Falmouth up, 2-1, but again York rallied and tied the score with 11 minutes to play. The end of regulation and two 15-minute overtimes couldn’t settle matters, so it came down to penalty kicks.

There, senior Sarah Hemphill, junior Angela Mallis and sophomore Megan Miller succeeded on their attempts and junior goalkeeper Caroline Lucas turned away three shots to give Falmouth the 3-2 victory.

“I am extremely proud of the accomplishments of our athletes,” said Falmouth coach Wally LeBlanc. “In order to get to the Western Maine finals, they had to defeat traditional powerhouses Yarmouth and York.”

The Yachtsmen earned a regional final date at No. 1 Morse (16-0) Wednesday afternoon. The teams didn’t play in the regular season and had no playoff history.

“Now, we have to gear up to play at Morse, who has been fantastic all season,” LeBlanc said. “Some people feel that because Morse has played an Eastern Maine schedule that they can’t compete against Western Maine teams. I disagree. If you really look closely at this Morse team you will know that they have had a terrific record the past two seasons in Class A, before going undefeated this season. Morse is a seasoned, veteran team that has scored about 100 goals this season. It’s going to take a tremendous effort by our squad to defeat them and I’m looking forward to the opportunity. That’s what makes coaching this game so much fun.”

If Falmouth advanced to a second straight Class B Final, it would go to Hampden Academy to meet either Presque Isle (14-1-1) or Hermon (13-2-1) Saturday at a time to be determined.

The playoff runs of Freeport and Greely also came to an end in last week’s quarterfinals.

The Falcons, ranked seventh in Western B, were coming off their first postseason win this century when they went to York last Tuesday. Freeport fell behind 2-0 at halftime and 3-0 in the second half before senior Jess Hench scored. That would be it for offense, however, and the Falcons’ best season since 2004 ended at 8-8 with a 3-1 setback.

“Our last game of the season was tough physically, emotionally, and mentally,” said Freeport coach Elayna Girardin. “York is a strong team. The girls played their hardest and with heart and though we did not beat them, I am proud with how hard we worked and played. I’ve heard many times from many different places, especially from my (athletic director) that success isn’t measured in wins and losses. I think that is especially important here, though we didn’t win the last game it was successful in so many other ways.

“I think that our season can really be summed up similar to our last game. The girls spent the season working hard and we all learned through our mistakes and accomplishments to help build us into a stronger team. I am proud of how the girls were able to play the entire season.”

Look out for this rising program in 2012.

“Every year is a new year, it brings different challenges, different opponents, etc.” Girardin said. “We’ll continue to build as a team and work hard to play our best and be a strong opponent against any team we face.”

The Rangers were fifth in Western A and they downed Kennebunk in the preliminary round. Wednesday, however, Greely had to go to its house of horrors, Thornton Academy, for the quarterfinals. After losing to the fourth-ranked Golden Trojans in each of the past two semifinals, the Rangers hoped the third time would be a charm, but once again, they fell behind early and despite a second half penalty kick goal from senior Libby Thomas and a goal from senior Audrey Parolin it wasn’t enough and they fell, 3-2, finishing at 13-3.

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.