Falmouth senior captain Owen Mahoney, left, congratulates senior captain Nik Hester after Hester scores one of his two goals in the Yachtsmen’s 3-0 victory at Deering in the rain Tuesday night.
Joe Carpine / 365digitalphotography.com photos.
More photos below.
PORTLAND—The work in progress that is the Falmouth boys’ soccer team is getting closer to becoming a finished product and that should put fear in the hearts of the rest of of Class A South.
Tuesday evening, amid a steady rainfall, the Yachtsmen went to Deering for a playoff rematch and continued to turn heads.
In the 11th minute, senior captain Nik Hester used his size to soar for a corner kick and head it home for the only goal Falmouth would need.
In the 30th minute, Hester scored again, on a penalty kick, and the Yachtsmen were firmly in control.
As Falmouth’s defense was securing its seventh straight shutout, the offense struck one more time in the second half, as with 10:12 to play, sophomore Gus Ford fought his way to the ball and finished.
The Yachtsmen went on to a 3-0 victory, made it four straight victories, improved to 7-0-1 on the season and in the process, dropped the Rams to 4-4.
“We’re coming,” said longtime Falmouth coach Dave Halligan. “We get better each time out and we’re headed in the right direction. We have some tough games ahead of us, but we’re getting where we want to be.”
Last fall, in the first-ever countable encounters between the programs, Falmouth won both meetings, 2-1, at home on Nate Arrants’ late penalty kick, and 2-0 in a Class A South quarterfinal played in a downpour.
This season, both teams have lived up to billing as two of many contenders in a deep and balanced region.
Falmouth started with a 2-1 loss at Cheverus, then blanked visiting Bonny Eagle (3-0) and Noble (5-0). After settling for a 0-0 tie at Portland, the Yachtsmen blanked visiting Sanford (2-0), host Westbrook (5-0) and visiting Marshwood (3-0).
Deering struggled out of the gate, falling at Scarborough (3-0) and at home to Gorham (4-1). The Rams then defeated host Biddeford (1-0), visiting Massabesic (1-0, in double-overtime), host Noble (1-0) and visiting Kennebunk (2-0) before their four-game streak ended last Thursday at Windham with a 1-0 setback.
Tuesday, again in the rain, Falmouth continued its surge.
Hester had the game’s first shot, but Deering junior goalkeeper Max Morrione made the save.
In the seventh minute, the Rams bid for the lead, but a cross from sophomore Calvin Benider trickled through the box untouched.
With 29:48 remaining in the first half, off a corner kick, the Yachtsmen got the jump, as senior captain Kyle Bouchard served the ball in and Hester soared and headed it past Morrione for a 1-0 lead.
“Coach keeps telling me to get my head on it and put it in,” said Hester, who was the tallest player on the field by several inches. “They actually had a smaller guy on me on that one. I put it where I wanted.”
“(Nik’s) a tough matchup because he’s athletic and he’s big and he’s skilled,” Halligan said. “If they give him too much attention, someone else will sneak in there.”
Ford and Bouchard tried to double the lead and failed to do so.
The Rams then hoped to pull even, but a shot by senior Fuad Umer was saved by Falmouth sophomore goalkeeper Alvaro Fuentes-Cantillina.
With 10:40 to play, junior Thomas Fitzgerald was taken down in the box and a penalty kick was awarded to the Yachtsmen.
Hester did the honors and fired a low shot to a diving Morrione’s right, just inside the post, for a 2-0 advantage.
“I knew exactly where I was going, bottom left, and kicked it as hard as I could, in that corner,” Hester said.
“He’s a senior captain and he wanted it,” Halligan said.
Late in the half, Fuentes-Cantillina denied senior Chris Komba and senior Mohamed Abdurhaman and Falmouth took its two-goal lead to the break.
In the first 40 minutes, the Yachtsmen enjoyed a 5-4 edge in shots on frame and a 5-0 advantage in corner kicks.
The rain picked up in the second half and Falmouth was never seriously threatened.
The Rams hoped to cut into the deficit, but sophomore Carlo Demucci shot high and on a free kick from junior Monte Almaskoor, Fuentes-Cantillina bobbled the ball and the rebound trickled off the post.
With 10:12 to play, the Yachtsmen added to the lead, as Ford battled past a defender before shooting the ball into the net.
Falmouth didn’t allow another good Deering chance from there and went on to a 3-0 victory.
“Our defense is super-solid and we get better on offense every day,” Hester said. “The communication is really strong and we cover for each other.”
“It was a tough night, but we enjoyed the result,” Halligan said. “We have good overall depth. A lot of guys have scored. We have good balance. We play good defense and we have an outstanding goalkeeper.”
The Yachtsmen out-shot the Rams, 9-7, and got seven saves from Fuentes-Cantillina. Falmouth also took nine corner kicks to Deering’s one.
The Rams got six saves from Morrione.
Deering (10th in the Class A South Heal Points standings at press time) looks to get back on track Thursday at Cheverus. The Rams host Bonny Eagle next Tuesday, then play at rival Portland two days later.
Falmouth (fifth in Class A South) is back in action Saturday at home versus South Portland. Tuesday of next week brings a showdown at Scarborough.
“We have stay solid in the back and get better every day on offense,” said Hester. “I think we can keep winning.”
“There are some things we can do better and we’ll work on that,” Halligan said. “We want to get a little better each day.”
Falmouth junior Josh LeFevre heads the ball.
Falmouth senior captain Kyle Bouchard and Deering sophomore Ben Chatterjee fight for the ball.
Deering junior Khalid Shati boots the ball.
Falmouth senior captain Kyle Bouchard serves up a corner kick.
Deering junior goalkeeper Max Morrione reaches in vain for Nik Hester’s header as Falmouth scores the game’s first goal.
Deering sophomore Henrique Muaka tries to get possession from Falmouth sophomore Ben Greene.
Deering junior goalie Max Morrione punches the ball away from Falmouth junior Tom Fitzgerald as Rams senior Chris Kombo defends.