Mixed playoff results so far for local teams-Northern edition

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Falmouth’s Lexie Bugbee fires a shot during Saturday’s Class A South preliminary round game against Thornton Academy. Bugbee’s late goal was the difference in a 2-1 victory.

Freeport’s Alexa Koenig (3) lifts teammate Natalie Anderson in celebration  after scoring the go-ahead goal in the Falcons’ 3-2 come-from-behind win over Poland in last week’s quarterfinal.

(Ed. Note: For the complete Falmouth-Thornton Academy girls’ soccer, Freeport-Poland and Freeport-Fryeburg Academy field hockey and Yarmouth-Greely volleyball game stories, see theforecaster.net)

The regular season is in the rear-view mirror in all sports and while cross country is down to its final act (see story), the field hockey, volleyball, football and soccer drama is poised to continue.

Here’s a glimpse at what you might have missed and a look ahead to another exciting week:

Field hockey

Freeport’s field hockey team was preparing to play its biggest game in 18 years at press time as the Falcons have stolen the show in the postseason.

Freeport, the No. 3 seed in Class B South, hosted No. 6 Poland in the quarterfinals last Tuesday and had rally and hold on for dear life to advance, 3-2.

The Knights, who the Falcons beat, 4-0, in the regular season, scored twice in the first seven minutes to stagger Freeport, but the Falcons rallied in the second half to save their season.

Aynslie Decker broke the ice with 21:13 to go and Hannah Groves pulled Freeport even two minutes later. The game was then won by standout Alexa Koenig, who finished off a penalty corner.

“It was kind of miraculous,” said Koenig, who learned Sunday that she’s a finalist for the prestigious Miss Maine Field Hockey award as the state’s finest senior player. “It wasn’t even that cool of a goal. It was a tip-in, but being a game-winner, it’s awesome.”

“I’m so happy to do it with my team,” said goalie Katelyn Rouleau, who made 10 crucial saves. “There are 10 seniors this year and we want it so bad.”

“I’m super-proud of them for coming back from a two-goal deficit,” added Falcons coach Marcia Wood. “It’s a special crew and I know they want it. They keep surprising me.” 

Freeport advanced to meet No. 2 Fryeburg Academy in Saturday’s semifinals. The Falcons lost at home to the Raiders and settled for a tie in Fryeburg during the regular season, but the third time was the charm.

The game was scoreless through regulation, but Koenig took a feed from Kerry Lefebvre and scored the biggest goal of her life 4 minutes, 26 seconds into overtime for a 1-0 victory. 

“That was insane, I am in shock right now,” Koenig said, after being mobbed by her teammates. “It is so cool to be going to a regional final. It feels unreal right now.”

“I felt like we were prepared and we practice so many overtimes, so many corners, so many 7-v-7s, that there was no panic,” said Wood. “When Kerry got that breakaway and Alexa moved to the spot, I just knew it. They kept their composure.”

Freeport moved on to the Class B South Final for the first time and to a regional final in any class for the first time since playing for a state title in Class C in 2000. The Falcons were scheduled to battle top-ranked York (11-3-1) at Biddeford’s Waterhouse Field Tuesday, but bad weather moved the game to Wednesday afternoon (see theforecaster.net for game story). Freeport lost, 2-0, at York Sept. 20. The Wildcats had won both prior playoff meetings: 4-0 in the 2013 Western B quarterfinals and 8-0 in the 2016 Class B South quarterfinals.

If the Falcons were able to move on to the Class B state final, they will battle either Gardiner (15-1) or Winslow (14-2) Saturday at Husson University in Bangor at a time to be announced. Freeport has no history with either potential state game foe.

The Falcons have never won a state championship.

Other local squads weren’t as fortunate.

Greely, the No. 5 seed in Class B South, lost, 2-1, at No. 4 Lake Region in the quarterfinals to wind up 10-5. Delia Knox had an early goal, but the Rangers couldn’t make it hold up.

Yarmouth, ranked eighth in Class B South, gave top-ranked York a battle in the quarterfinals, but lost, 2-1, to finish 7-8. Lydia Guay had the Clippers’ goal.

In Class A South, Falmouth earned the No. 4 seed and downed No. 5 Gorham, 2-1, in the quarterfinals last Wednesday. Keller Gardner and Liberty Ladd, who is also a finalist for Miss Maine Field Hockey, scored the goals. Saturday, the Yachtsmen’s run ended with a 1-0 loss at top-ranked Biddeford as they wound up 10-4-2. Falmouth surrendered a goal in the third minute and Ladd had a penalty stroke saved in the second half.

“We did everything but get the ball in the net,” said longtime Yachtsmen coach Robin Haley. “We had our opportunities.”

In Class C South, North Yarmouth Academy, the No. 7 seed, was ousted in the quarterfinals, 7-2, by No. 2 Spruce Mountain to wind up 7-8. Katie Larson and Amber Rose had the Panthers’ goals.

Volleyball

Falmouth, NYA and Yarmouth’s volleyball teams all made it to the semifinals.

The Yachtsmen earned the No. 1 seed in Class A after a 13-1 regular season which was capped by a 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-9) home win over York last Tuesday. In Saturday’s state quarterfinals, Falmouth swept No. 9 Thornton Academy (25-18, 25-23, 25-12). Katie Phillips had 11 kills and 14 assists, Annika Hester finished with 24 kills and Summer Spiegel added 20 assists. The Yachtsmen advanced to host No. 4 Biddeford (11-4) in Wednesday’s state semifinals (see theforecaster.net for story). On Sept. 27, host Falmouth downed the Tigers in three close sets (25-21, 26-24, 25-22). The teams have met five previous times in the playoffs with the Yachtsmen taking three, including a 3-1 victory in the 2014 Class A quarterfinals, the most recent.

If Falmouth can make it to the Class A Final Saturday in South Berwick, it will meet the winner of No. 2 Gorham (15-0) and No. 3 Scarborough (13-2). The Yachtsmen and Rams didn’t play this year. They’ve split two previous playoff meetings with a 3-0 Falmouth win in the 2009 Class A quarterfinals the most recent. The Yachtsmen beat visiting Scarborough in four-sets Sept. 13. Falmouth is 2-0 all-time versus the Red Storm in the playoffs, with a 3-1 victory in the 2013 Class A state final the most recent.

In Class B, Yarmouth finished 12-2 and second after a 3-0 (25-21, 25-9, 25-18) home win over Kennebunk last Tuesday. Saturday, in the state quarterfinals, the Clippers eliminated No. 7 Greely in straight-sets (25-13, 25-10, 25-18). Dominique Moran had 24 assists and 11 service points. Maggie Murray finished with 10 kills, seven service points and four blocks. Evelyn Lukis added 11 kills.

“Our schedule hasn’t been as strong as in past years, so we were super-excited to play such a competitive team,” Moran said. 

“We were happy that we had a chance to play Greely because we felt that they were the best team that we could have played in the quarterfinals,” said Yarmouth coach Jim Senecal. “We wanted to be challenged.”

The Clippers advanced to host No. 3 Brewer (13-2) in Wednesday’s semifinals. The teams had no history. If Yarmouth gets to the Class B state final Friday at 6 p.m. in South Portland, it would face either No. 1 Cape Elizabeth (14-1) or No. 4 York (10-5). The Clippers lost, 3-0, to the Capers Sept. 14 and twice beat the Wildcats by 3-0 scores this year. Yarmouth has never met York in the playoffs. The Clippers are 0-1 all-time against Cape Elizabeth, losing, 3-0, in the 2015 Class A quarterfinals.

Greely finished 5-10 after its 3-0 loss at Yarmouth. Morgan Selby had eight kills and Bridget Lary added 10 assists.

“I’m proud of my girls,” said longtime Rangers coach Kelvin Hasch. “They didn’t give up. We couldn’t seem to get a break anywhere. It was one of those games.

“I told the girls the difference is night and day from where we started to where we ended up. They worked hard every day.”

In Class C, NYA finished fourth at 9-5 and passed its first playoff test, downing No. 5 Narraguagus in four-sets (25-20, 25-18, 23-25, 25-14) in Saturday’s quarterfinals. Sydney Plummer had 16 kills and 14 digs, Holly Akey had 16 digs and 12 assists, Elizabeth Kennedy finished with 19 digs and Afton Morton added 13 digs and 10 assists. The Panthers advanced to earn a semifinal round match at No. 1 Calais (14-1) Wednesday in the semifinals. The teams had met just once before, a 3-2 Calais win in the 2010 Class B semifinals. 

If NYA was able to make it to the state final for the first time, it will take on either Washington Academy (12-3) or Woodland (13-2) Saturday afternoon in Ellsworth. The Panthers lost in straight-sets at Washington Academy Oct. 13 and have lost both prior playoff meetings (3-0 in the 2015 Class B quarterfinals and 3-0 in the 2016 Class B semifinals). NYA didn’t play Woodland this year and the teams have no postseason history.

Boys’ soccer

All five local boys’ soccer teams entertained title hopes at press time.

In Class A South, Falmouth finished second at 11-2-1 after closing with a 3-0 victory at Massabesic last Tuesday. Charlie Adams, Kyle Bouchard and Gus Ford all scored. The Yachtsmen hosted No. 7 Marshwood (9-4-2) in Tuesday’s quarterfinal round. On Sept. 20, Falmouth blanked the visiting Hawks, 3-0. The teams had no playoff history.

If the Yachtsmen advanced to Saturday’s semifinal round, they’d host either No. 3 Portland (8-3-3) or No. 6 Kennebunk (8-6-1). Falmouth tied the host Bulldogs, 0-0, Sept. 11 and didn’t face the Rams this year. The Yachtsmen are 1-2 all-time versus Portland in the playoffs (a 3-2 loss, 4-3 on penalty kicks, in the 2016 Class A South semifinals was the most recent) and have no playoff history with Kennebunk. 

Four-time defending state champion Yarmouth finished the season 12-0-2 and first in Class B South. The Clippers hosted No. 8 York (7-7-1) in Tuesday’s quarterfinal round (see theforecaster.net for game story). Yarmouth won, 4-1, Aug. 31 at York and downed the visiting Wildcats, 3-1, Sept. 26. The Clippers are 9-5 all-time against York in the playoffs, with last year’s 2-1 regional final victory the most recent.

If Yarmouth moves on to the semifinals, it will host either No. 4 Cape Elizabeth (7-4-3) or No. 5 Lincoln Academy (7-6-1) Saturday. The Clippers swept the Capers (2-1 at home Sept. 4 and 1-0 in Cape Elizabeth Sept. 29) during the regular season and didn’t face the Eagles this fall. Yarmouth is 2-0 all-time against the Capers in the postseason, with a 2-0 win in the 2015 Class B South semifinals the most recent, and is 8-2 all-time against Lincoln Academy in the postseason, with an 8-0 victory in last year’s semifinals the most recent.

Freeport took a 9-3-2 record and the No. 2 seed in Class B South into Wednesday’s home quarterfinal versus No. 7 Leavitt (5-6-4). The teams didn’t play this year and had no playoff history. If the Falcons reach Saturday’s semifinals for the first time since 2008, they’ll host either No. 3 Greely (8-4-2) or No. 11 Gray-New Gloucester (7-6-2). Freeport settled for a scoreless home draw against the Rangers Sept. 5, then beat them for the first time this century, 3-0, Sept. 28 in Cumberland. The teams have played just once before in the playoffs, a 2-0 Greely victory in the 1975 Western B Final. The Falcons downed the Patriots, 4-1, Aug. 31 in the season opener in Gray. Freeport has taken both prior playoff meetings, with a 2-0 victory in the 2011 Western B preliminary round the most recent.

Greely hosted Gray-New Gloucester in the quarterfinals. The Rangers won, 4-0, at Gray Sept. 17 and took a 1-0 home decision Oct. 15. The teams had played just once before in the playoffs, a 3-0 Greely victory in the 2013 Western B quarterfinals en route to its most recent state championship.

If the Rangers advance to Saturday’s semifinals, they’ll either go to Freeport or host Leavitt. Greely beat the Hornets, 1-0, in the 2016 Class B South preliminary round in the only previous playoff meeting.

In Class D South, NYA ended up 12-2 and with the No. 1 seed and hosted No. 8 Pine Tree Academy (9-6) in Tuesday’s quarterfinal round. The teams didn’t play this year and had no playoff history.

If the Panthers advanced, they’ll host either No. 4 Buckfield (10-3-1) or No. 5 Richmond (8-5-1) in Friday’s semifinal round. NYA won, 4-2, at Buckfield Sept. 13, and blanked the visiting Bucks, 7-0, Oct. 9. The teams have no playoff history. The Panthers twice beat the Bobcats, 6-1, at home Sept. 25 and 4-1 in Richmond Oct. 15. NYA is 1-3 all-time in the playoffs against the Bobcats, with a 2-1, double-overtime in win the 1986 Western C semifinals the most recent.

Looking ahead, the regional finals will be contested Wednesday, Oct. 31, on the fields of the higher seeds. The state finals are Saturday, Nov. 3. Classes A and D will be held in Bath and Classes B and C in Hampden.

Girls’ soccer

On the girls’ side, Falmouth and Greely got the playoffs off to a promising start.

In Class A South, the Yachtsmen finished sixth at 8-3-3 after a 1-0 home win over Kennebunk last Tuesday. Madison Wolf had the goal. Falmouth then hosted No. 11 Thornton Academy in Saturday’s preliminary round playoff game. An early goal from Natalie Howard off a corner kick put the Yachtsmen on top, but the Golden Trojans tied things up. Lexie Bugbee then scored the go-ahead goal with 12 minutes left and a critical save from freshman goalkeeper Jordan Wolf preserved the 2-1 victory.

“I think the momentum we’ve gained with the wins we’ve gotten has helped us a lot,” Bugbee said.

“Our forwards were really strong all game and our defense was good about getting the ball to the forwards, so I was confident we’d score,” said Wolf, who made nine saves.

“I’m so happy for the girls,” added Falmouth coach Andrew Pelletier. “We’re so young. We’re probably way ahead of the rebuilding than we should be.”

The Yachtsmen went to No. 3 Cheverus (12-2) for the quarterfinals Wednesday afternoon. Falmouth lost at home to the Stags, 2-0, Sept. 15. The Yachtsmen took the lone prior playoff meeting, 1-0, in the 2014 Western A preliminary round.

In Class B South, Greely wound up 10th after a 6-7-1 campaign, which ended last Tuesday with a 5-1 loss at Gray-New Gloucester (Kaci O’Grady had the Rangers’ goal). After its first sub-.500 season since 1989, Greely enjoyed a 5-0 victory at No. 7 Spruce Mountain in Saturday’s preliminary round. O’Grady and Julia Martel had two goals apiece and Lauren Carrell also scored. The Rangers advanced to visit No. 2 Oak Hill (12-2) in Wednesday’s quarterfinals. The teams didn’t play this year and had never met in the postseason.

If Greely won again, it would go to No. 3 York (10-3-1) or host No. 11 Lake Region (6-7-2) in Saturday’s semifinals. The Rangers lost, 4-0, at York Sept. 6 and fell at home to the Wildcats, 3-0, Oct. 11. Greely beat York in all three prior playoff meetings with a 4-0 win in the 2016 Class B South semifinals the most recent. The Rangers edged host Lake Region, 4-3, Oct. 9. The teams have never met in the postseason.

Two-time defending champion Yarmouth finished the year 9-5 and fourth in Class B South.

Freeport earned the No. 5 spot at 8-4-2.

The teams squared off in the quarterfinals Wednesday. They split in the regular season, as the Clippers won, 4-2, Sept. 11 in Freeport and the Falcons prevailed, 1-0, Oct. 5 in Yarmouth. The teams have split two prior playoff encounters, with the Clippers taking a 5-0 victory in the 2005 Western B quarterfinals and Freeport springing a 1-0 upset in the 2013 Western B quarterfinals.

The winner will advance to visit No. 1 Cape Elizabeth (14-0) in Saturday’s semifinals. The Clippers lost twice to the Capers, 1-0, in double overtime Sept. 4 on the road and 3-0 at home Sept. 29, and the Falcons were also beaten twice by Cape Elizabeth, 3-0, Sept. 17 on the road and 1-0 at home Oct. 12.

Freeport lost its only prior playoff meeting against the Capers, 3-1, in the 2013 Western B semifinals. Yarmouth is 2-1 against Cape Elizabeth, with a 1-0 win in last year’s regional final the most recent.

In Class D South, NYA finished second at 10-3-1 and hosted No. 7 Rangeley (6-5-2) in the quarterfinals Tuesday. The Panthers swept the Lakers this year, 1-0, Sept. 11 at home and 4-2 Oct. 6 in Rangeley. The teams had no playoff history.

If NYA advanced to Friday’s semifinals, it would host No. 3 Greenville (11-2-1) or No. 6 Searsport (6-8). The Panthers have no history with either school.

Looking ahead, the regional finals will be contested Wednesday, Oct. 31, on the fields of the higher seeds. The state finals are Saturday, Nov. 3. Classes A and D will be held in Bath and Classes B and C in Hampden.

Football

Falmouth downed Greely, 21-12, in the “Battle of Route 9” football regular season finale last Friday. The Rangers took a 6-0 first quarter lead on Joey Cassella’s 1-yard touchdown run, but in the second period, Nick Mancini hit Jackman Graiver-Webber for a 36-yard score and a 7-6 halftime lead. That score held into the fourth quarter, where Coleman Allen scored on a 1-yard run to make it 14-6 and after a Mancini interception, Riley Reed scored from 8-yards out for a 21-6 advantage. A 15-yard TD pass from Nick Male to Cassella accounted for the final score.

“We knew this game was basically a playoff game for us,” said Reed, who gained 70 of his 86 yards in the second half. “It was absolutely crucial that we won and secured that higher spot to set us up better for the playoffs.”

Falmouth finished the regular season 5-3 and will be the No. 3 seed for the Class B South playoffs. Friday at 6:30 p.m., the Yachtsmen host No. 6 Noble (5-3) in the quarterfinals. The teams didn’t play this fall and have no playoff history.

Greely finished 4-4 with the loss.

“We play hard,” said Rangers coach Dave Higgins. “They’re a good group of kids. Falmouth is a good team and they beat us tonight.”

Greely will be the No. 4 seed in Class B South and will host No. 5 Biddeford (4-4) in Friday’s quarterfinals. On Oct. 5, the Rangers lost at home to the Tigers, 36-6. The teams have played in the postseason the last two years, with Biddeford taking a 22-6 decision in the 2016 Class B South semifinals and Greely prevailing, 7-0, in last year’s quarterfinals.

Yarmouth dropped a 29-28 home heartbreaker to Cape Elizabeth in its regular season finale last Friday to fall to 3-5. After falling behind, 6-0, after one quarter, the Clippers went on top, 7-6, on a 5-yard touchdown run from Noah Eckersley-Ray. After the Capers returned the ensuing kickoff for a score, Eckersley-Ray and Caden Middleton hooked up for a 60-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-14 at halftime. Cape Elizabeth took a 21-14 advantage to the fourth quarter, where Eckersley-Ray hit Middleton for a 14-yard touchdown and Eckersley-Ray scored on a 4-yard run with just seconds left for a 28-21 lead, but as time expired, the Capers won on a touchdown pass which bounced off a Yarmouth player’s helmet into a receiver’s hands, and a two-point conversion.

The Clippers finished 3-5 and will go to No. 2 Fryeburg Academy (7-1) for the quarterfinals Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Yarmouth lost, 35-0, at home to the Raiders Sept. 21. In the only other playoff encounter, the 2015 Class C South semifinals, Yarmouth won, 54-12.

Freeport finished 7-1 and first in the Class E Developmental League following a 32-6 victory at Sacopee Valley. Adam Ulrickson had touchdown runs of 2- and 3-yards in the first period. Aidan Michaud had a 55-yard TD scamper in the second quarter. Ulrickson ran for a 4-yard score in the third quarter and Tre Morris had a 3-yard TD run in the fourth period. Ulrickson finished with 165 rushing yards.

The Falcons will have a bye into the semifinals Nov. 2 or 3. 

Press Herald staff writers Steve Craig and Mike Lowe and Times Record writer Bob Conn 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.