The field hockey playoffs are set to begin and two local teams, Greely and North Yarmouth Academy, are definitely in, with Falmouth and Freeport still clinging to hope at press time.
Greely will be the lone Western B representative from Forecaster Country. A year after falling in the quarterfinals, the Rangers have legitimate hopes of advancing much deeper and making a run at their first championship since 2003.
Greely finished the regular season 10-4 after 1-0 home wins over Cape Elizabeth and Wells last week. Against the Capers, junior CeCi Hodgkins scored in the first half. Hodgkins also scored against the Warriors, but it took until the second overtime.
“It’s a good win,” said Rangers coach Kristina Lane Prescott. “Unfortunately, playing in overtime is one of our strong points. CeCi is tenacious. She doesn’t give up and goes for every ball. That’s why she’s our leading scorer.”
Greely won two more games than it did a year ago and could finish anywhere from second to fourth in the final Heal Points standings. The Rangers are guaranteed at least one home playoff game.
“I’m very happy with the season,” said Prescott. “The crazy thing is that there’s no standout team this year. Every single game has been tough. Playing at home is huge for us. We have a great field.”
Falmouth was hoping to extend its postseason streak to 14 years. The Yachtsmen, who struggled all autumn to score goals (mustering just 11 in 14 games), lost their final four outings, including home setbacks to NYA (2-0) and Cape Elizabeth (2-1) to end the campaign. Junior Catherine Hebson had the goal versus the Capers. Falmouth was eighth in the Heals at the start of the week and was hoping to hold off Lake Region for the final spot.
Yarmouth failed to qualify, but finished the season strong. After failing to win a game in 2009, the Clippers started 0-10-1 this fall, but last Thursday, for the first time in 35 games, they got in the win column, by virtue of a 1-0 win over visiting Freeport. Junior Sarah Gorman had the goal. Two days later, also at home, Yarmouth edged Gray-New Gloucester, 3-2, in overtime, for their first winning streak since the end of the 2007 season. In that one, senior Lindsey Purpura scored twice and junior Rachel Nixon added a goal. The Clippers were 2-10-1 and 10th in Western B entering Tuesday’s finale at Lake Region.
In Western C, NYA posted yet another stellar record. The 2008 state champions and 2009 runners-up won 13 of 14 games, including road decisions over Falmouth (2-0) and Waynflete (5-1) to end the year. Against the Yachtsmen, junior standout Katherine Millett had a pair of early goals. The Panthers won’t have homefield advantage as they did a year ago as they appear ticketed for third behind Telstar and Livermore Falls.
“We’ve had a very good season,” said NYA coach Julia Sterling. “They’re so good and such good kids. We have a tremendous junior class. If they want it, they can get it.”
Freeport dropped its final five outings, including games at Yarmouth (1-0) and Sacopee (3-1) last week, to finish 6-8 (eighth in Western C, at press time). Against the Clippers, senior goalie Emily Daniel made 18 saves. Freshman Patricia Lyons had the goal versus the Hawks. Daniel stopped 20 shots.
“This season was certainly a building one,” said Freeport coach Sara Dimick. “We had one senior on our team, but we played like we had more. We faced a lot of ups and downs and I believe the team became closer through the season.”
The quarterfinals are Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. The semifinals will be played Saturday, Oct. 23. Games in both rounds will be hosted by the higher rated teams. The regional finals are Tuesday, Oct. 26, at Scarborough. This year’s state finals for all classes will be Saturday, Oct. 30, at the University of Maine in Orono.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com
Junior Megan Fortier and her NYA teammates are eying a third straight Western C championship as the playoffs commence.