Falmouth senior Kate Kelley (arms raised) and her teammates rush the field to celebrate after senior Bella Libby scored as time expired in overtime to give the Yachtsmen a palpitating 3-2 win at Yarmouth Saturday night.
Chris Lambert photos.
More photos below.
YARMOUTH—It ain’t over til’ it’s over.
Baseball Hall of Famer Yogi Berra preached it and Saturday evening, Bella Libby proved it.
The Falmouth senior scored the most dramatic goal of the season so far, keeping her team red-hot and handing fierce rival Yarmouth an absolutely improbable, gutwrenching loss in the process.
Three weeks after opening the season with an overtime thriller, won by host Falmouth, 3-2, the rivals met again on Yarmouth’s turf and 60 minutes weren’t enough to determine a winner.
In fact, it took all 4,560 seconds to do so.
The Clippers produced their strongest start-to-finish effort and were rewarded midway through the first half when junior Sophie McGrath scored on a rebound, but two minutes later, senior Kate Kelley scored on a rebound of her own to draw the Yachtsmen even, 1-1.
Falmouth then went on top a little over two minutes into the second half, when senior Devon Sarazin scored on a rebound, but Yarmouth refused to quit and with 15:13 to play, senior Ally MacLeod tied the score.
Neither team could score the rest of the way and the game went to overtime.
In the first seven-on-seven, eight-minute, “sudden victory” OT, both squads had opportunities on penalty corners, but couldn’t finish.
Fatigue then ruled the second overtime and as time dwindled, a tie appeared imminent.
The Yachtsmen pushed one final time, however, and Sarazin raced in on Yarmouth junior goalie Cate Ralph who stopped her, but in the process, Ralph was knocked to the turf. In the ensuing mayhem, Libby scooped the ball out and flicked it over Ralph and into the cage.
The clock showed 0:00, but the goal stood and Falmouth had a 3-2 victory.
The Yachtsmen beat the Clippers for the third straight time, the second consecutive time in OT, improved to 9-1 and dropped Yarmouth to 5-4 in the process.
“Yarmouth’s a great team and we were pumped to play them,” said Libby. “I feel like we have a lot of chemistry. We’re tight-knit. We work really well together. We’re all close and we can be in the worst conditions and we never give up.”
In the first meeting, way back on Aug. 31, Sarazin’s overtime goal was the difference in a back-and-forth, 3-2 Yachtsmen victory. That was just the beginning of a great season to date for Falmouth, which followed up that victory by winning at Kennebunk (2-1) and Fryeburg Academy (2-0), at home over Gray-New Gloucester (8-1) and at Greely (2-0). After a 3-1 loss at York, the Yachtsmen bounced back to defeat host Lake Region (2-0), visiting North Yarmouth Academy (5-0) and visiting Poland (6-2).
Yarmouth followed up its Opening Night loss with a 2-0 home victory over Poland. The Clippers then won at Wells (7-1) and Lake Region (6-0), before giving visiting York a battle only to lose, 3-1. After a 2-1 home win over Fryeburg Academy, Yarmouth dropped a frustrating 1-0 overtime decision at Kennebunk, then blanked host Freeport Thursday, 5-0.
Saturday, on a brisk 59 degree evening, both teams turned heads with their play and while the game was dead even, there was finally resolution at the end.
Falmouth came out hot, but a shot from senior Sydney Bell was deflected wide.
Yachtsmen senior back Olivia Stucker then made a huge defensive stop, denying a Yarmouth shot at the last second.
After senior Abby McDowell tipped a shot from junior Emilie Martin just wide, McDowell tipped a long shot from senior Molly Wilson on target, but Falmouth sophomore goalie Caitlyn Bull made the save.
The Clippers kept the pressure on, but Bull denied senior Eliza Lunt and junior Maggie Gunville before McGrath collected the rebound and rattled the cage for a 1-0 lead with 14:52 to play in the first half.
Yarmouth wasn’t able to celebrate for long, however, as as off a penalty corner, Bell ripped a blast that Ralph saved, but Kelley was there to convert the rebound, making it 1-1 with 12:47 remaining before halftime.
Late in the half, MacLeod shot just wide and a Lunt shot was saved by Bull.
The Yachtsmen grabbed the lead for the first time in the game when out of a scrum, Sarazin scored to make it 2-1 with 27:52 left in regulation.
The Clippers immediately fought back, as Wilson had a shot on a corner which was wide, Lunt’s cross hit a teammate’s foot and McGrath’s shot was saved by Bull.
With 15:13 to play, Yarmouth drew even, as McDowell had a shot denied by Bull, but MacLeod was there to bury the rebound and just as she did in the teams’ first meeting, MacLeod forged a 2-2 tie.
Late in regulation, McDowell missed just wide, Ralph denied Falmouth senior Maddie Rouhana and Kelley and although the visitors earned a penalty corner as time expired, they couldn’t convert as McGrath blocked Bell’s shot, then cleared the ball.
The Yachtsmen looked to quickly end matters in the first overtime, as Libby got a good look 18 seconds in, but she shot wide.
Falmouth then earned consecutive penalty corners, but couldn’t produce a shot.
With 3:05 left in the first OT, the Clippers earned a corner and senior Nicole McDowell had a good look, but it went wide. Abby McDowell’s rush was then broken up and the game went to a second and final overtime.
Just 24 seconds in, it appeared the hosts would be the beneficiaries of a fortuitous bounce, as Abby McDowell’s shot was deflected up around Bull’s eyes, but the goalie calmly swatted away the shot to preserve the tie.
Neither team then had a shot for five minutes before Bell’s rush was broken up by Ralph.
As time wound down, the ball was on the near sideline just inside Yarmouth’s zone and most on hand were expecting the game to end in a tie, but the Yachtsmen weren’t quite done.
The ball came to Sarazin, who raced in on Ralph and threatened to deliver her second game-winner against the Clippers this fall, but Ralph came out and stopped her cold and bodies went flying. Libby smartly ran in and in one motion, collected the ball and lofted it over Ralph, sending it into the cage.
“I don’t even know what happened,” Libby said. “I just saw Devon come in and the Yarmouth goalie and another player all topple. The ball came out a little bit. Coach was like, ‘Flick it! Flick it!’ I just took the ball and flicked it in.”
All eyes then turned to the scoreboard, which had expired.
Attention then turned to the officials who allowed the goal to stand.
“I had no idea if there was any time on the clock,” Libby said.
“I was hoping it went in in time, but I was concerned,” Haley said.
“(The officials) just said they didn’t hear a horn and they couldn’t call it a different way,” lamented Yarmouth coach Amy Ashley. “It can’t be an excuse as to why we lost. We should have scored earlier.”
After all of that, Falmouth had a 3-2 victory and celebrated with abandon.
“I’ve never scored a goal like that,” Libby said. “I got mobbed. It was awesome.”
“The 7-v-7 is tough,” Haley said. “It comes down to breakaways and fortunately, we were able to execute. This was a tough game. They’re much improved from last time. They capitalized on some of our weaknesses tonight, but we pulled it out and that shows we’re mentally tough. It’s a big win. We knew what we had in store. I’m grateful the girls were able to pull it out. I’m proud of the effort and teamwork.”
Falmouth had eight penalty corners to Yarmouth’s six and was outshot, 10-8, but Bull made eight saves.
Ralph stopped five shots for the hard-luck Clippers.
“I’m so proud of how we played,” Ashley said. “It was our best game. If anything, it adds fuel to the fire and makes us realize we have to work harder. The girls who started played their hearts out. Even the girls who didn’t get in were cheering. We really felt like a family. Falmouth is a good team. It’s a good, fun rivalry. Unfortunately, they finished when it counts. We haven’t had that clutch finisher. Hopefully we’ll have another chance to step up in that situation.”
Yarmouth (now sixth in the Class B South Heal Points standings) needs to finish strong in order to host at least one playoff game. The Clippers hope to bounce back Monday at Cape Elizabeth. Yarmouth hosts Freeport Wednesday and Greely Friday, then closes with games at home versus Kennebunk Oct. 5 and at Gray-New Gloucester Oct. 10.
“We have a lot of positives to take from this and we have to come out Monday and work harder,” Ashley said. “We just want to get in the playoffs. It doesn’t matter where you go in. It matters how you’re playing. We want to be a threat.”
Falmouth (currently first in Class A South) is in the hunt for its best seed since moving up to Class A. The Yachtsmen have a pivotal home showdown versus seemingly invincible York (which is riding a 45-game win streak) Monday night.
“We’re excited to play York,” Libby said. “We have momentum going. We just have to keep it up and bring it Monday. We’re ready.”
“Hopefully this is a good prep for Monday,” Haley said. “We’re excited. We need to make some adjustments. We had some opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on last time. We hopefully can do that this time. We just need to finish it out.”
Falmouth then welcomes Fryeburg Academy Wednesday, visits Freeport Friday and closes the regular season Oct. 6 at home versus Cape Elizabeth.
Yarmouth senior Nicole McDowell sends the ball in as Falmouth senior Sydney Bell looks on.
Falmouth sophomore Liberty Ladd prepares to launch the ball as Yarmouth junior Emilie Martin defends.
Falmouth senior Olivia Stucker keeps the ball away from Yarmouth senior Chloe Noack.
Falmouth senior Bella Libby gets a shot past Yarmouth junior goalie Cate Ralph only to have it saved by a Clippers defender.
Yarmouth senior Ally MacLeod beats Falmouth sophomore goalie Caitlyn Bull to tie the score, 2-2.
As time winds down, Falmouth senior Bella Libby takes the ball out of a scrum and prepares to shoot it past prone Yarmouth goalie Cate Ralph for the dramatic game winner.