YARMOUTH—Two weeks ago, Falmouth’s field hockey team had to watch as visiting Yarmouth celebrated its first win over the Yachtsmen in a dozen seasons.
Friday night, Falmouth earned a measure of revenge.
Playing at the Clippers, on Yarmouth’s Senior Night, the Yachtsmen played the spoiler in absolutely improbable and dramatic fashion.
Falmouth set the tone immediately, grabbing a 1-0 lead on a goal from junior Isabella Libby just 3 minutes, 22 seconds in.
The Yachtsmen dominated most of the first half in fact, but couldn’t add to their lead.
Then, with 7:50 to play before halftime, on their first shot of the game, the Clippers drew even, as junior Abby McDowell set up classmate Ally MacLeod for a goal in transition.
Yarmouth then threatened countless times to take the lead in the second half, but Falmouth stayed even, thanks in large part to several stellar saves from senior goalie Elizabeth Amadei.
The game appeared headed for overtime, but with time winding down, the Yachtsmen applied pressure and were rewarded big-time as with 6.2 seconds to play, junior Lisa Smoluk rattled the cage giving Falmouth a 2-1 victory.
The Yachtsmen gained a measure of revenge, more importantly earned a lot of Heal Points and improved to 8-5 on the season, dropping the Clippers to 10-2-1 in the process.
“The girls were ready and looking forward to this game after the last one,” said Falmouth coach Robin Haley. “We were confident we could play better and we did. (Yarmouth’s) had a spectacular season. They’re a great team. We had nothing to lose. We just came in and played our game.”
This Yarmouth senior class joined a program which had been an afterthought for many seasons and turned it into a powerhouse. Prior to the game, the six seniors were presented with flowers and photographed with their families. Falmouth’s seniors were also presented with flowers.
Both teams have been competitive all season.
Falmouth opened with an 8-0 victory at Cape Elizabeth, then lost at defending Class B champion York, 4-1. Wins over visiting Greely (2-0) and host Poland (3-1) were followed by a 2-0 home setback at the hands of Fryeburg Academy. Falmouth then survived visiting North Yarmouth Academy in double overtime, 3-2, but followed that up with a 1-0 loss at Lake Region. After home wins over Kennebunk (2-1) and Gray-New Gloucester (3-0), the Yachtsmen were beaten by visiting Yarmouth (2-1) and after a 4-1 victory at Freeport, lost, 3-1, at Kennebunk.
Yarmouth started its season with shutout victories over visiting Lake Region (6-0) and Gray-New Gloucester (4-0), then edged host Greely (3-2). After blanking visiting Freeport (2-0), the Clippers rolled at Gray-New Gloucester (4-1), held off visiting Fryeburg Academy (3-2), blanked host Cape Elizabeth (4-0), then settled for a 0-0 tie at Kennebunk before beating host Falmouth, 2-1, and downing visiting Cape Elizabeth, 5-1. After Yarmouth finally met its match in visiting York, a hard-fought 1-0 loss, the Clippers returned to form with a 3-1 win at Poland.
Prior to the Sept. 26 meeting, Yarmouth hadn’t solved Falmouth in a dozen years. Friday, amid the raindrops, the Clippers hoped to make it two in a row against their rival, but the Yachtsmen earned a key late-season victory.
Falmouth clearly had more intensity early and that led to the game’s first goal, off a penalty corner. After junior Sydney Bell sent the ball in, Yarmouth senior goalie Tori Messina made a save, but the ball stayed alive and Libby was there to send it into the cage for a 1-0 lead.
“It was a confidence booster to get that first goal,” Haley said. “I’m glad we scored early.”
“Falmouth came out strong,” said Clippers coach Mandy Lewis. “The girls were excited before the game with Senior Night, but we started flat and you can’t start flat against Falmouth.”
The Yachtsmen almost doubled their lead, but Bell shot wide on a corner, Smoluk had a shot saved and on a corner, Bell was denied, then Messina stopped two rebounds.
Finally, with 7:50 to go in the half, Yarmouth’s offense came to life and when McDowell passed ahead to a racing MacLeod, who one-timed a shot past Amadei and into the cage, the game was deadlocked, 1-1.
The Clippers almost took the lead before halftime, but with just over a minute to go, senior Bre Morrill had a shot saved by Amadei and Amadei denied a rebound as well.
Falmouth had an 8-3 edge in shots and a 5-2 advantage in corners in the first 30 minutes, but Messina’s six saves kept the game tied.
After Messina took centerstage in the first half, it was Amadei’s turn in the second half.
The Yachtsmen had the first chance, but Smoluk was denied by Messina with 28:15 to play.
Yarmouth then had several corners and peppered Amadei, but she stood tall.
With 21:17 to play, Morrill’s shot on a corner was saved and sophomore Emilie Martin tried to flick a shot into the far corner, but just missed.
With 17:25 to go, Martin was robbed on the doorstep.
With 15:50 remaining, Morrill ripped a shot off a corner, but Amadei kicked it aside and a rebound attempt by junior Taylor Robison was also turned aside.
Amadei’s best save came 39 seconds later, when junior Eliza Lunt sent up Robison for a high shot that appeared goal-bound. Amadei instinctively swatted at the ball with her stick and prevented it from going in, preserving the tie.
“(The Clippers) were really, really good,” Amadei said. “I was just trying to protect the goal. The rest of the team does everything for me. The corners were a little stressful, but (junior defender) Maddie (Rouhana) is amazing and (junior defender) Mary Budri’s the best.”
“(Elizabeth) was outstanding tonight,” said Haley. “I’m glad she had a game like this. She’s worked for it. She stepped up big and the team gravitated toward her.”
“She played well,” Lewis said. “We weren’t able to get around her. She got right in front of our shots.”
Yarmouth took timeout with 8:37 left in regulation, hoping to draw up a game-winner, but instead, it would be Falmouth that finally broke through.
After Amadei denied McDowell and junior Molly Wilson, the Yachtsmen were able to transition to offense.
With most on hand thinking about the probability of overtime, Falmouth senior Keunjoo Kim played the ball from the side, it found junior Kate Kelley and Kelley’s shot trickled through the far post and Smoluk was there to bury it for a 2-1 lead with only 6.2 seconds showing.
“We had the opportunity and we took it,” Smoluk said. “I was waiting for Kate. She whacked it to me and I put it right in. I had no idea there were six seconds left. That’s definitely the biggest goal I’ve ever had.”
“We were coming up with our seven (players) for overtime and then we scored,” Haley said. “It was great. I just put that player in.”
Yarmouth had no time to answer and Falmouth got to celebrate its 2-1 victory.
“It means so much,” Smoluk said. “We came in with high expectations. I’m so glad it didn’t go into overtime.”
“I love when we win together,” said Amadei, who made 11 saves. “For the seniors, it means a ton because they came to our turf and beat us. It was sweet to come here and win.”
“Our defense was key to this game,” Haley added. “We played great team defense tonight.”
Yarmouth wound up with 12 shots to nine for Falmouth and had eight corners to six for the Yachtsmen, but despite seven saves from Messina and a lot of good chances, fell short.
“We played hard,” Lewis said. “The girls had a tough time connecting at the start, but we found a good rhythm. We missed (junior defender) Nicole McDowell tonight. Other players stepped up, but we missed her finesse.”
Yarmouth (second to York in Class B South Heal Points standings at press time) wraps up its regular season Tuesday at Traip and is hoping to go into the playoffs as the No. 2 seed, which would guarantee a pair of home postseason games, presuming the Clippers pass their first test.
“It’s been very exciting,” Lewis said. “As we approach the postseason, we find things we have to continue to fine tune. We wanted to come out with a win in this one, but we’ll learn from it. These girls have put together an amazing season so far. We have to continue to focus on a playoff run.”
Falmouth (seventh in the hotly contested Class A South) plays its regular season finale on its Senior Day, Wednesday, versus Cape Elizabeth. The Yachtsmen will then make a third foray into the Class A South playoffs and will hope for a long run.
“I think we have the heart and the teamwork to play well,” said Smoluk. “A lot of it is attitude. I think if we have the right attitude and work together that’s what will give us the most success.”
“It’s pretty wide open in Class A,” Haley said. “We’re just grateful for this win. It’s a great way to get to the end of our season and get ready for playoffs. It’s anybody’s game any day. If we play like we did tonight, it could be a lot of fun. That’s what we’re striving for.”
Falmouth’s field hockey team celebrates its 2-1 win at Yarmouth Friday evening.
Chris Lambert photos.
Falmouth junior Sydney Bell fires a shot as Yarmouth senior Sammy Middleton tries to catch up.
Yarmouth junior Eliza Lunt knocks the ball away from Falmouth junior Devin Sarazin.
Yarmouth sophomore Emilie Martin plays the ball away from Falmouth junior Mary Budri.
Yarmouth junior Abby McDowell slows Falmouth junior Sydney Bell.
Yarmouth senior Bre Morrill defends Falmouth junior Devin Sarazin.
Falmouth junior Sydney Bell shoots the ball on a corner while Yarmouth senior Sammy Middleton (29) and junior Taylor Robison defend.
Yarmouth senior goalie Tori Messina and junior Tessa Houston celebrate a Clippers first half goal.
Yarmouth sophomore Emilie Martin tries to stop the rush of Falmouth junior Sydney Bell.