Falmouth, Yarmouth lacrosse teams return to regional final

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(Ed. Note: For the complete Falmouth-Kennebunk and Yarmouth-NYA boys’ lacrosse game stories, with box scores and photos, see theforecaster.net) 

The song remains the same in the local lacrosse world.

Once again, both Falmouth and Yarmouth’s boys’ and girls’ teams found themselves two wins from the pinnacle at press time.


Yarmouth’s girls’ program has set the bar for years, but the one thing the Clippers have never done is win three successive state titles, something they were closing in on when this edition went to press.

Yarmouth, ranked third in Class B North, first got past No. 6 Freeport, 15-5, in the quarterfinals last Wednesday. Eliza Lunt had four goals and Jess Kirk added three.

Saturday, in the semifinals at second-ranked St. Dom’s, the Clippers poured it on in the first half, taking an 8-1 lead before finishing off the Saints, 13-6. Kirk had four goals, Lunt three and Meredith Lane and Cory Langenbach both added a pair. Goalie MaryKate Gunville made some big saves early to help Yarmouth pull away.

“MaryKate, she’s just so good,” Yarmouth coach Dorothy Holt said. “She takes care of the ball and she takes care of us. That’s how it starts and she just carries the momentum into the rest of the team.”

The 11-3 Clippers went to No. 1 Morse (13-1) for the regional final Wednesday. The teams didn’t play this year. Yarmouth was 4-0 all-time against the Shipbuilders in the playoffs with a 22-9 win in the 2013 regional final the most recent meeting.

If the Clippers reach the state final for the fourth year in a row, they will play either Kennebunk (13-0) or Falmouth (12-1) Saturday at 10 a.m. at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland. Yarmouth lost, 9-5, at the Rams May 24 and fell, 14-7, at the Yachtsmen in the regular season finale June 1. The Clippers are 5-0 all-time against Kennebunk in the playoffs, with last year’s thrilling 11-10 overtime win in the state final the most recent. Yarmouth and Falmouth have no playoff history.

Freeport got two goals from Lily Johnston in its loss to the Clippers, but it wasn’t nearly enough as the season ended at 5-8.

“Our season had its ups and downs,” said Falcons coach Marcia Wood. “We had a big win against Lake Region and a close game with Waynflete, but unfortunately we didn’t win some games that we probably should have. Yarmouth was definitely not who we wanted to see so early. We started the game with some intensity and stayed with them for a bit, but in the end, we made mistakes and were not capitalizing on our possessions.”

Freeport expects to be even stronger in 2017.

“We’re still relatively young,” said Wood. “I started five sophomores this year who also started last year and I’m hoping that by losing to Yarmouth in the playoffs twice already, they’re fired up to work in the offseason to be ready for next season. No more rookie mistakes. They’ll have two years of experience under their belt.”

In Class B South, Falmouth advanced to the regional final for the second year in a row. After earning a quarterfinal round bye, the Yachtsmen held off-upset minded No. 5 Greely, 12-9, in Saturday’s semifinal round. Sydney Bell continued her assault on the record books, scoring seven more goals to give her a mindboggling 71 for the season. Mary Budri was impressive as well, making 16 critical saves to help Falmouth survive and advance.

The Yachtsmen advanced to battle top-ranked Kennebunk (13-0) in what promised to be a thrilling regional final Wednesday afternoon (see theforecaster.net for game story). Falmouth lost a 7-6 double-overtime decision to the visiting Rams May 26. The Yachtsmen are 0-3 all-time versus Kennebunk in the playoffs, including a 9-7 home setback in last year’s regional final.

If Falmouth was able to get to the state final for the first time, it would battle Morse (12-1) or Yarmouth (11-3). The Yachtsmen beat the visiting Clippers, 14-7, June 1 and didn’t face the Shipbuilders this year. They have no playoff history against either team.

Greely advanced to the semifinals with an 11-10 upset win at No. 4 York in last Wednesday’s quarterfinals. The Rangers trailed almost the whole way, but drew even with just under four minutes to go on a goal from Courtney Sullivan. The game was then delayed due to lightning and when it resumed, Ellie Schad scored her fifth goal with 6.5 seconds to play to produce one of the more dramatic wins in program history.

Greely’s season ended at 7-7 with the semifinal round loss at Falmouth. Maeghan Dougherty scored four times and Courtney Sullivan added three goals.

Is this the year?

Either Falmouth or Yarmouth’s boys’ team has played in each of the past eight Class B state finals, but the Clippers and Yachtsmen have never squared off on the biggest stage.

At press time, each squad was one win from making that a reality.

Falmouth, the No. 2 seed in Class B South, lost its final two regular season games and fell behind, 8-5, at halftime to No. 3 Kennebunk in Saturday’s semifinal, but the Yachtsmen turned up the defensive intensity and went on a four-goal run to lead, 9-8, entering the fourth quarter. There, the Rams tied the game, but with 1:26 to go, Nick Farnham scored the winner and Falmouth goalie Liam Tucker made two of his 18 saves down the stretch to preserve a dramatic 10-9 victory.

“We were all pretty confident,” Farnham said. “We know we’re better than those two losses. We wanted to come back and make a statement and we did.”

“We realized if we didn’t start picking it up, it would be our last game and we didn’t want it to be our last game, so everyone started hustling more, especially for the seniors, because no one wanted it to end for them,” Tucker said. “It’s our biggest win of the year. They’re a great team.” 

“We changed the way we did things defensively and stepped it up and shut them out in the third quarter,” added Yachtsmen coach Mike LeBel, who won his 100th career game (see accompanying story). “To let up eight goals in one half won’t ever win a game. The kids showed a lot of heart. I knew it was possible.”

Falmouth went to top-ranked, three-time defending Class B champion Cape Elizabeth (13-0) for the regional final Wednesday night. The teams have met in that round each of the past seven years with the Capers holding a 5-2 advantage. Cape Elizabeth won both regular season meetings this spring, 11-9, at home and 13-5 at Falmouth.

“Hopefully we’ll play like we did today in the second half against (Cape),” Tucker said.

“I think if we play our best and we don’t let anything get in our heads and we just play our game and take our good shots and play our good defense, I think we’ll have a good chance,” Farnham said.

“We played well over there the first time, but we shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times,” LeBel added. “It’s going to come down to who is going to want it more.”

If Falmouth finally solved Cape Elizabeth in the regional final, it will meet either Yarmouth (10-4) or Maranacook/Winthrop (9-5) in the Class B state final Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in Portland. The Yachtsmen beat the visiting Clippers, 12-7, May 5. The teams have no playoff history. Falmouth has no history with Maranacook/Winthrop.

In Class B North, Yarmouth, the No. 3 seed, opened against crosstown rival North Yarmouth Academy, the No. 6 seed, in last Wednesday’s quarterfinals.

The teams’ 16th playoff meeting in 19 years was all Clippers, as they raced to a 12-1 halftime lead and went on to a 19-4 triumph behind four goals apiece from Matthew Beatty and Cooper May. Ten players scored in all. 

“Coming into the first game of the playoffs, we were focused, we wanted to win,” Matthew Beatty said. “At the beginning of the year, just a couple guys were scoring, now it seems like everybody is scoring.”

“Our guys played well tonight,” said Clippers coach David Pearl. “We’ve been working hard trying to stay sharp and intense. We came out with great intensity. Every day, we’re getting better.” 

Yarmouth then got a break, as No. 2 Cony got upset by 10th-ranked Gardiner in its quarterfinal, allowing the Clippers to host the Tigers in Saturday’s semifinals. Yarmouth rolled to a 16-0 victory, as it got three goals from Andrew Beatty, two goals and six assists from Matthew Beatty and a pair of goals from Grant.

The Clippers’ good fortune continued, as top-ranked Camden Hills was upset by No. 5 Maranacook/Winthrop in its semifinal and that allowed Yarmouth to host Maranacook/Winthrop (9-5) in Wednesday’s regional final. The teams didn’t play this year. The Clippers won the lone prior playoff encounter, 10-6, in the 2014 semifinals.

If Yarmouth reached its fourth straight state final, it will either meet Falmouth for the first time in the postseason, or Cape Elizabeth for the 10th time in the past 14 state games. Last year, the Capers won, 7-5, to improve to 9-3 all-time against the Clippers in the playoffs.

NYA, which was playing without several players, finished 3-10 with its loss to Yarmouth. Ryan Baker scored twice and Zack Woods made seven saves in his debut in goal, but the Panthers had no answers and fell to 5-11 all-time in the playoffs against the Clippers.

“We were hoping to be competitive,” NYA coach Peter Gerrity said. “We got the guys excited. We knew at full strength, playing well, we could play with them, but we were a little light and we were just OK. It’s not an unexpected result. We were excited to make playoffs. I didn’t know what we’d look like coming into the year. We’re really happy with how these guys did.”

NYA should begin from a stronger position in 2017.

“We lose four seniors,” Gerrity said. “We’re light on eighth graders coming up, but we have nine freshmen coming back. They’ll have some experience. Hopefully some of these guys will play in the offseason.”

Sun Journal staff writer Wil Kramlich contributed to this story.

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

Sidebar Elements

Falmouth’s boys’ lacrosse team celebrates Saturday’s dramatic 10-9 win over Kennebunk in a Class B South semifinal. The Yachtsmen advanced to meet Cape Elizabeth in the regional final for the ninth year in a row.

NYA’s Connor Clock and Yarmouth’s Walter Conrad fight for possession during the Clippers’ 19-4 win in last week’s Class B North quarterfinal.

Yarmouth’s Ella Antolini possesses the ball despite being surrounded by St. Dom’s defenders during the Clippers’ 13-6 Class B North victory Saturday. Yarmouth advanced to meet Morse in the regional final.

Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.