Falmouth left frustrated by undefeated Marshwood

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Falmouth junior Madison Wolf races up the field as Marshwood freshman Natalie Singer gives chase during the teams’ contest Wednesday night. The Yachtsmen had a lot of opportunities, but couldn’t score and the Hawks stayed unbeaten with a 2-0 victory.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

FALMOUTH—It was a night of frustration and pain for Falmouth’s girls’ soccer team Wednesday evening.

The Yachtsmen hosted undefeated Marshwood and had ample opportunity to come out on the right side of the scoreboard, but a couple of untimely defensive miscues, combined with an inability to finish good chances, combined with injuries to key players, ultimately spelled defeat.

The Hawks needed just 52 seconds to go ahead to stay, as freshman Ella Nelson buried a shot from right in front of the cage.

The rest of the first half then belonged to Falmouth, but a combination of strong defense and goalkeeping and some old-fashioned bad luck kept the Yachtsmen off the scoreboard.

With senior captains Amelia Waite and Cali Wiberg sidelined for most of the second half, Falmouth’s ability to score was compromised further and when Marshwood doubled its lead on a goal from sophomore Casey Perry with 26:44 to play, the mountain was too steep to climb.

After a penalty kick late in regulation hit the post, the Yachtsmen’s last, best hope of a rally was dashed and the Hawks went on to a 2-0 victory.

Marshwood improved to 5-0-1 and dropped Falmouth to 2-4 in the process.

“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. They weren’t 30-, 40-yards out, but inside the 18. As a young team, we’ll go through that.” 

Uncharted waters

Falmouth has played up in Class A for the playoffs the past four seasons, but until this fall, hadn’t met Southwestern Maine Activities Association foes during the regular year. The Yachtsmen have had fits and starts so far this fall, but have shown promise.

Falmouth opened with a late 2-1 loss at Scarborough, then defeated visiting Sanford (3-1) and Maine Girls’ Academy (9-0) before losing at Noble (2-1) and Cheverus (2-0). 

Marshwood won its first three outings: 3-1 at home over Thornton Academy, 3-1 at Kennebunk and 2-1 at Portland. After settling for a scoreless tie at home against South Portland, the Hawks dominated visiting Biddeford, 9-1.

The Hawks and Yachtsmen last met in a regular season countable game back on Sept. 17, 2002 (a 3-0 win for Falmouth in South Berwick). In last year’s Class A South quarterfinal round, Falmouth eked out a 2-1 overtime decision on Waite’s goal.

This time around, on a pleasant 73-degree night, the Yachtsmen generated chances, but couldn’t finish them and as a result, went down to defeat.

Marshwood made an immediate statement, as Perry played the ball down the right side, beat a defender, then crossed the ball in front where Nelson found herself unmarked and fired a shot past Falmouth senior goalkeeper Kathryn Caldwell for a 1-0 lead with just 52 seconds elapsed.

Falmouth was staggered, but would soon settle down and look to equalize.

First, Hawks senior Marin Smith just missed wide and on a corner kick, the ball came back out to junior Katherine Page, whose shot was right at Caldwell.

The Yachtsmen’s first chance came in the fifth minute, as Waite set up junior Madison Wolf for a blast that forced Marshwood junior goalkeeper Nathalie Clavette to dive to tip out of bounds for a corner kick.

In the ninth minute, Falmouth earned another corner and on this one, Wiberg’s serve found the head of freshman Sarah Wuesthoff, whose shot appeared ticketed for the goal, but instead hit the post. 

After Hawks junior Courtney Thim got back to break up a feed from Waite to Wolf, Thim broke up a rush by Wolf.

Yachtsmen freshman Allie Cunningham then shot just wide and after eluding a defender, Cunningham’s cross skipped across the goalmouth untouched. 

Late in the half, Waite had a rush broken up and Thim stole the ball from Wuesthoff in the box.

With 7:08 left, Wolf appeared primed to tie it, but her shot hit the crossbar. The rebound came to freshman Lexi Bugbee, but her bid was saved by Clavette.

A minute later, Wolf broke free, but was robbed point blank by Clavette and Bugbee’s rebound was blocked by a defender.

Despite having a 6-4 edge in shots, Falmouth trailed at halftime, 1-0.

Chances were fewer in the second half, but they still came for the Yachtsmen, who continued to be stymied.

Just 2 minutes, 32 seconds into the second half, Falmouth suffered an emotional blow, as Waite went down with an apparent foot injury and didn’t return. Wiberg, who was seeing limited minutes as it was, played very little in the second half as well.

With 34:37 to play, Thim cleared a feed from Wuesthoff to Wolf at the last second.

Marshwood got its second goal with 26:44 to play, as Nelson served the ball, a defender misplayed it and Perry was there to finish.

The Yachtsmen still refused to give in and got a bid from Wuesthoff which sailed wide and a rush by Wolf that was broken up at the last second.

With 8:53 on the clock, Wolf was brought down in the box and play was stopped as a penalty kick was awarded. Wolf did the honors and struck the ball well, but she sent it squarely off the right post. Wuesthoff raced in to try and bury the rebound, but Clavette made a diving save.

“If we scored that, I would have liked our chances to score again,” Pelletier said.

That essentially ended it and the Hawks went on to a 2-0 victory.

“I’m more sad than frustrated,” Pelletier said. “There were times we had six or seven freshmen on the field and we had Amelia get hurt and Cali only played 15 minutes. We’re beaten up and in a tough spot emotionally right now. We’ve been the best team in five out of six games, but we have to learn how to win games.

“We know what we’re up against. It’s a lot more physical and athletic teams than we’re accustomed to. Western Maine Conference teams pass the ball around, which we’re accustomed to. It’s taking time to get used to the physicality and the style where all the SMAA teams play direct.”

Falmouth finished with an 8-7 edge in shots on frame and a 4-3 advantage in corner kicks. Both goalies made four saves.

Ramping up

Marshwood stays on the road Saturday, when it goes to Westbrook. The Hawks come home to meet Noble Wednesday of next week.

As for Falmouth, while the Yachtsmen no longer have to battle ancient rivals Cape Elizabeth, Greely, Yarmouth and York, they face many more challenges as the season progresses. Saturday brings a trip to Gorham for a rematch of last year’s semifinal round playoff game, which the Rams won, 2-0. 

Home tilts versus Portland, South Portland, Windham and Westbrook and trips to Massabesic, Thornton Academy and Kennebunk also loom.

“Last year, we were 3-4 before going on a seven-game win streak, so that’s where our head is,” Pelletier said. “We have to put ourselves in a position to make playoffs. If we do, we could be dangerous. We have to get healthy and our freshman will be sophomores, basically. We just have to get there.”

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

Falmouth sophomore Kelly Yoon and Marshwood freshman Ella Nelson meet in the air. 

Falmouth freshman Sarah Wuesthoff heads the ball off a corner kick, but the shot rang off the post.

Falmouth senior Amelia Waite plays the ball down up the sideline as Marshwood freshman Natalie Singer tries to keep pace.

Falmouth senior Cali Wiberg defends Marshwood sophomore Angelina Bisson.

Falmouth freshman Lexi Bugbee possesses the ball.

Marshwood freshman Ella Nelson shields Falmouth sophomore Aimee Muscadin from the ball.

Falmouth freshman Allie Cunningham and Marshwood freshman Carmela Kriz chase 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.