Many local squads advance in postseason-Northern edition

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Falmouth’s Liberty Ladd handles the ball during the Yachtsmen’s 1-0 loss to Scarborough in last week’s Class A South quarterfinal.

(Ed. Note: For the complete Falmouth-Scarborough and Freeport-Lake Region field hockey game stories, with photos, see theforecaster.net)

While there have been some heartbreaking losses in field hockey, most of the postseason action to date has produced positive results.

As October dwindles, nothing is going to get easier, but local squads are looking forward to the challenge.

Here’s a glimpse at what you might have missed and what’s still to come:

Field hockey

All five local field hockey teams made the playoffs, but none reached the regional final.

Yarmouth advanced the deepest, reaching the Class B South semifinals. The host Clippers, ranked second in the region, downed No. 7 Leavitt in a first-ever postseason meeting in last Wednesday’s quarterfinals, 5-3. Standout Emilie Martin had four goals, while Cate Ralph also rattled the cage.

“A lot of our goals came on breakaways, so they did not have a bunch of people clumped in the center of the circle,” Martin said. “After we put one in, we didn’t let up either and kept hammering it.”

“Today, our game plan was offense,” Yarmouth coach Andrea Musante said. “We have had some letdowns in the regular season, so we were entirely focused on scoring.”

The Clippers were home for Friday’s semifinals against third-ranked Poland, but in a rematch of the final game of the regular season, won by the Knights, 2-1, Poland again prevailed and ended Yarmouth’s season at 11-4-1 with a 2-1 decision. Martin had the Clippers’ lone goal.

The other four squads were all ousted in the quarterfinal round.

Freeport, coming off its best regular season in eight seasons, earned the No. 4 seed in Class B South, but had no answers for fifth-ranked Lake Region in the quarterfinals. The game was scoreless at halftime, but the Lakers erupted for four second half goals to prevail, 4-0, ending the Falcons’ campaign at 9-5-1.

“Kudos to Lake Region for out-hustling us and beating us to the ball,” Freeport coach Marcia Wood said. “We tried to adjust, but they just beat us and that’s the bottom line. They were relentless. The pressure of this, we’re not used to it. The nerves got to us. I told the girls to go home and write in their diaries about how this feels and revisit it next year because we can’t keep saying we’ll do it next time.”

Greely, ranked sixth in Class B South, hoped to advance and gave No. 3 Poland a scare in the quarterfinals, but fell short, 3-2. Sydney Meredith-Pickett scored twice and her second goal gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead, but the Knights rallied to end Greely’s season at 7-7-1. Greely’s best chance to tie came with 2:35 remaining, coming out of a timeout.

“That was probably the last chance I had to do it,” Rangers coach Becki Belmore said. “Just to rally them a little more and pump them up a bit and pick up the intensity.”

Falmouth rode a late-season surge to qualify for the Class A South playoffs as the No. 9 seed. After upsetting No. 8 Marshwood, 2-1, in double overtime, in the preliminary round, on Grace Soucy’s goal, the Yachtsmen went to top-ranked Scarborough for the quarterfinals last Tuesday. The Red Storm scored on an early penalty corner and it held up. Falmouth got three saves from goalie Catilyn Bull, but couldn’t put the ball in the goal and its season ended at 7-9 with a 1-0 setback.

“We were nervous coming in because Scarborough is such an incredible team with a rich field hockey history,” Yachtsmen coach Robin Haley said. “We knew they’d score a goal and I told the girls at halftime that they did and that we had to settle down and play the way we’re capable of playing. Finishing has been a challenge this year. We had opportunities, but we couldn’t score today.

“I’m pleased how we’ve played from the beginning of the season until now. We saved our best for last. Marshwood was great. It gave us confidence coming into this game. Hopefully we start from a stronger place next year. We know what we need to do to be better prepared going into preseason.”

North Yarmouth Academy was ranked fifth in Class C South, but lost, 3-0, at fourth-ranked Dirigo in the quarterfinals. The Panthers were out-shot, 27-0, but stayed in it behind 24 saves from goalie Eliza Todd.

“We knew Dirigo would be a strong team,” NYA coach Julia Sterling said. “In the second half, we wanted our girls to go to the ball. My goalie certainly helped.”

The Panthers finished with a 7-8 record.

Boys’ soccer

Four of five local boys’ soccer teams made the playoffs and all four were still alive heading into the quarterfinal round.

Falmouth finished second in Class A South with a 12-2 mark after closing the regular season with a 3-0 home win over Massabesic (Nate Arrants, Josh LeFevre and Ben Wuesthoff all scored). The Yachtsmen hosted No. 7 Deering (10-4-1) in the quarterfinals Wednesday. Falmouth won the regular season meeting, 2-1, on a late Arrants penalty kick. The teams had no playoff history.

If the Yachtsmen advance, they’ll either host No. 3 Gorham (11-2-1) or No. 6 Cheverus (9-5-1) in this weekend’s semifinal round. Falmouth beat both teams by 1-0 scores in the regular season. The Yachtsmen lost, 2-1, to the Stags in the 2014 Western A quarterfinals in the lone prior playoff meeting between the teams. Falmouth has no postseason history with the Rams.

Three-time defending Class B state champion Yarmouth completed its first-ever 14-0 regular season with a 7-0 home win over Wells last Tuesday. Silas Chappell, Tony Cleaves (his first varsity goal), Max Coury, Tahj Garvey, Gavin Hamm, Eric LaBrie (his 19th goal of the season) and Eric Loomis all tickled the twine. The Clippers earned the top seed in the region and hosted No. 8 Freeport (9-6) in the quarterfinals Wednesday. Yarmouth won the regular season meeting, 6-1.

Freeport advanced to the quarterfinals by virtue of a 7-0 preliminary round win over visiting No. 9 Oak Hill Saturday. Eriksen Shea scored twice and Caleb Arsenault, Jesse Bennell, Nate Thomas and Will Winter had one goal apiece. The final tally came on an “own goal.” 

The Falcons and Clippers had met five previous times in the playoffs. Yarmouth took four of them, including a 1-0 victory in the 2008 Western B semifinals, the most recent encounter.

The Yarmouth-Freeport winner will face either No. 4 Lincoln Academy (9-3-2) or No. 5 Mountain Valley (8-3-3) in the semifinals this weekend. Neither the Clippers or Falcons played either potential foe in the regular season. 

Yarmouth is 7-2 all-time against Lincoln Academy in the playoffs, with a 2-1 double-overtime triumph in the 2007 quarterfinals the most recent, and is 3-0 all-time versus Mountain Valley, with a 6-0 victory in the 2002 quarterfinals the most recent.

Freeport has never faced Mountain Valley in the playoffs. The Falcons are 2-1 all-time versus Lincoln Academy, with a 3-1 victory in last year’s preliminary round the most recent.

Greely earned the No. 6 seed in Class B South after closing with a 1-0 double-overtime victory at Gray-New Gloucester (Quinn Molloy had the goal) and downed visiting 11th-ranked Wells in the preliminary round, 4-1. The Rangers got goals from Brendan Carrell, Jack Libby, Aiden Smith and Hazael Tshituka.

Greely (9-5-1) went to third-ranked Cape Elizabeth (9-4-1) for the quarterfinals Wednesday. In the regular season, the ancient rivals played to a scoreless tie in Cape Elizabeth and the host Rangers lost, 2-1. The teams split 14 prior playoff encounters, with Greely’s 2-1 quarterfinal round upset last fall the most recent.

If the Rangers could spring another upset, they would go to No. 2 York (12-2) or host No. 7 Leavitt (8-4-3) in the semifinals this weekend. Greely lost twice to the Wildcats this year, 3-2 at home and 5-0 in York. The Rangers won both previous playoff meetings: 1-0 in the 2013 Western B semifinals and 3-0 in the 2015 quarterfinals. Greely doesn’t play the Hornets in the regular season. In last year’s preliminary round, the Rangers beat Leavitt, 1-0.

Looking ahead, the regional finals will be Wednesday of next week on the fields of the higher remaining seeds. The Class A state final is Saturday, Nov. 4 at Hampden Academy. The Class B Final is the same day at Deering High School.

NYA closed with a 2-1 win at St. Dom’s last Tuesday (Ryan Baker and Alasdair Swett had the goals) to wind up 4-9-1, but that record was only good for 14th in Class D South, where 12 teams made the postseason. 

Girls’ soccer

On the girls’ side, four local teams made it to the quarterfinals.

Defending Class B champion Yarmouth took a 14-0 record and the top seed in Class B South into Tuesday’s home quarterfinal against No. 8 Wells (10-5). The Clippers and Warriors didn’t meet this season. The teams split two prior playoff meetings, with Yarmouth’s 3-1 victory in the 2002 Western B preliminary round the most recent. 

If, as expected, the Clippers advance to this weekend’s semifinal round, they will host either No. 4 York (8-5-1) or No. 5 Morse (9-3-2). Yarmouth swept the Wildcats this year: 3-0 at home and 4-0 in York. The teams have met six previous times in the playoffs with the Wildcats taking five (a 4-1 York victory in the 2009 semifinals was the most recent). The Clippers don’t play the Shipbuilders in the regular season and the teams have no playoff history.

Greely closed on a seven-game surge, capped by a 5-2 home win over Gray-New Gloucester in the regular season finale (Katherine Clancy, Skylar Cooney, Brooke Obar, Katie Steinberg and Courtney Sullivan all had goals), to finish the  regular year 11-3 and earn the No. 3 seed in Class B South. The Rangers hosted No. Freeport (11-4) in the quarterfinals Tuesday. Greely took the regular season meeting, 3-1, Sept. 7 in Cumberland.

Freeport’s 10-4 regular season mark was the program’s best since 1989. As the No. 6 seed, the Falcons ousted No. 11 Lincoln Academy, 2-1, in the preliminary round Friday. Catriona Gould and Jessie Driscoll had the goals.

Freeport and Greely had met just once previously in the playoffs, a 3-1 Rangers’ victory in last year’s quarterfinals.

The winner between the Falcons and Rangers will either go to No. 2 Oak Hill (13-1) or host No. 7 Cape Elizabeth (9-6) in the semifinals this weekend.

Freeport and Oak Hill have no playoff history. The Falcons are 0-1 versus the Capers, losing, 3-1, in the 2013 semifinals.

Greely and Oak Hill have no playoff history. The Rangers are 10-8 all-time against the Capers in the postseason. Cape Elizabeth won the most recent meeting, 2-1 (4-2 on penalty kicks) in the 2014 Western B Final.

Looking ahead, the regional finals will be Wednesday of next week on the fields of the higher remaining seeds. The Class B Final is Saturday, Nov. 4 at Deering High School.

Falmouth earned the No. 9 seed in Class A South after closing with a 2-1 loss at Kennebunk last Tuesday. The Yachtsmen were then ousted, 1-0, at No. 8 Windham in Saturday’s preliminary round to wind up 6-8-1. 

NYA finished the year 2-12 after closing with a 5-0 home loss to St. Dom’s. The Panthers wound up 10th in Class D South, but only eight teams made the playoffs.

Volleyball

Yarmouth’s volleyball team closed the regular season with a four-set (25-13, 25-19, 20-25, 25-15) win at Kennebunk last Tuesday. The Clippers earned the No. 2 seed in Class B and blanked seventh-ranked Ellsworth in Saturday’s quarterfinals (25-18, 25-15, 25-13). Dominique Moran had 20 assists, Kaitlynn Bennett produced eight kills. Marie Leblanc added seven kills and six aces and Skylar Bennett finished with six aces as well. 

Yarmouth improved to 14-1 and advanced to the Class B semifinals where it hosted No. 3 Falmouth (12-3) Wednesday night. The Clippers won in straight sets over the Yachtsmen in the regular season meeting.

Falmouth won its final three regular season matches (capped by a 3-0 home victory over York in the finale last Tuesday) to wind up third in Class B. Saturday, the Yachtsmen swept No. 6 Cony in the quarterfinals (25-7, 25-13, 25-21). Annika Hester had 14 kills and Lydia Abbott served six aces.

Falmouth and Yarmouth had met just once previously in the playoffs, a 3-0 Yachtsmen victory in the 2008 West Region quarterfinals.

The winner of that match will play for the Class B state title Saturday at 1 p.m. at Cape Elizabeth High School against either top-ranked Cape Elizabeth (15-0) or No. 5 Greely (8-7).

Yarmouth lost once to the Capers (3-1 in Cape Elizabeth) in the regular season, while Falmouth was beaten by Cape Elizabeth twice (3-1 at home and 3-2 on the road). The Clippers beat the Rangers once (3-0 at home), while the Yachtsmen downed them twice by 3-1 scores.

Greely sprung an upset (by seeds anyway) in the quarterfinals, sweeping fourth-ranked Mt. Desert Island (25-20, 25-17, 25-12) to set up a semifinal showdown at Cape Elizabeth. Jane Grandchamp had eight kills and Morgan Selby added six.

In the regular season, the Rangers lost at the Capers in four sets, then fell at home to Cape Elizabeth in five games. The teams met just once before in the playoffs, a 3-2 Capers’ victory in the 2014 Class A semifinals.

Greely is 5-0 all-time versus Falmouth in the playoffs, with a 3-1 win in last year’s semifinals the most recent, and is 2-0 against Yarmouth in the postseason, with a 3-1 win in the 2010 quarterfinals the most recent.

In Class C South, NYA wound up ranked fourth, but dropped a close four-set (25-21, 26-28, 22-25, 18-25) quarterfinal at home to fifth-ranked Narraguagus in Friday’s quarterfinals to finish the season 7-8.

Football

Rivalry weekend answered some questions for local squads.

The biggest winner was Yarmouth, which extended its postseason streak to nine years by rallying to beat visiting Freeport in the “Battle of the Bay,” 27-21. The contest was essentially a play-in game and didn’t start auspiciously for the Clippers, as the Falcons took a 14-0 lead after one quarter and after Noah Eckersley-Ray hit Jack True for a 22-yard touchdown pass, they returned the ensuing kickoff for a TD and a 21-7 advantage at halftime. Yarmouth dominated the second half, however, as Eckersley-Ray scored on a 2-yard run and hit Jack Ricciardi for 7-yards to cut the deficit to 21-19 after three periods. Then, in the fourth quarter, Eckersley-Ray capped the comeback by scoring on a 9-yard run and adding a two-point conversion run to account for the 27-21 final, giving Yarmouth an 8-1 all-time lead in the series.

The Clippers, who won their final two games after starting the season 0-6, earned the No. 8 seed in Class C South and will go to top-ranked Leavitt (7-1) for the quarterfinals Friday. The teams didn’t play this year. In the lone prior playoff meeting, in the 2014 quarterfinals, the Hornets won, 30-6.

Freeport wound up 1-7 and ninth in Class C South, but only eight teams qualified for the playoffs.

In Class B South, Falmouth got a measure of revenge for its playoff ouster a year ago, blanking rival Greely with surprising ease, 38-0. A 35-yard interception return by Riley Reed made it 7-0 Yachtsmen after one quarter. A 31-yard TD pass from Jack Bryant to Brady Douglas and a 26-yard field goal from John Walker pushed the advantage to 17-0 at halftime. Garret Aube then blew it open by returning the opening kickoff of the second half 75 yards for a score. Bryant added a 1-yard TD run in the third quarter and Garret Aube scored on a 17-yard scamper in the fourth to account for the final score, which gave Falmouth a 9-7 all-time lead in the series.

Falmouth earned the No. 3 seed in the region and will host No. 6 Westbrook (4-4) in the quarterfinals Friday night. The teams didn’t play this year and split two prior playoff meetings, with the Yachtsmen’s 32-0 victory in the 2015 Class B South semifinals the most recent.

Greely will be the No. 4 seed in Class B South and hosts fifth-ranked Biddeford (5-3) in Friday’s quarterfinals. The teams didn’t meet this season. In the lone prior playoff encounter, in last year’s semifinals, the Tigers prevailed, 22-6.

Sun Journal staff writers Nathan Fournier, Bob McPhee and Adam Robinson contributed to this story.

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

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