Fri, Aug 29, 2014 ●
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Local teams hit their stride

Sports

Local teams hit their stride

(Ed. Note: For the complete Falmouth-Greely, NYA-Waynflete and Yarmouth-Cape Elizabeth boys' soccer, Falmouth-Greely and Freeport-Waynflete girls' soccer and NYA-York field hockey game stories, please visit theforecaster.net)

The fall sports season has benefited from wonderful weather, which, along with stellar local athletes, has made for a most entertaining time for area fans.

Several teams are already closing in on the midway point and here's a glimpse at what you may have missed and what's to come.

Boys' soccer

Defending Class B boys' soccer state champion Falmouth produced one of the most dramatic chapters in program history last Tuesday at Greely. Quite a statement when you consider the Yachtsmen's pedigree (eight Class B titles since 2000).

After a slow start led to a 2-0 deficit at the hands of the rival Rangers, Falmouth crept back within a goal at halftime. The Yachtsmen were still trailing, 2-1, as time wound down, but in arguably the most exciting game-tying sequence in program history, J.P. White ran down a long, desperation lead pass from Alex Gowen and beat Greely goalkeeper Elijah Leverett to tie the score with just 3.4 seconds to go in regulation.

"I kind of thought the game was over, but Alex Gowen just played a perfect ball over the top," said White. "He put it between the defenders and it was one-on-one with the goalie. I was just trying to keep the ball down and keep it on frame. I knew there were about 10 seconds left. I figured I'd get it off. I've never scored that late before."

Then, with only 43 seconds remaining in the second overtime, who other than Mr. Clutch himself, last year's playoff hero Grant Burfeind, put the finishing touch on the breathtaking rally when he scored from Luke Andrews to give Falmouth an improbable and scintillating 3-2 triumph.

"J.P. had the ball in the corner and he played it back to me," Andrews said. "I saw a defender coming toward me. I made a quick move by him and just sent the ball far post and luckily, Grant was there to tap it in. He's pretty clutch."

"We got it back to Luke on the side," Burfeind said. "He had plenty of time to play it in. We had those looks all game and finally got one in. I was just in the right place at the right time."

"It's tough to come back against a good team when you're down two, never mind one, but it showed the resiliency of our kids," Falmouth coach Dave Halligan added. "We had 12 one-goal games last year with a young team. We know to play until the end. Greely will always be a battle. They did a great job early in the game, but we made adjustments. We started controlling play a little better, but you have to give them credit. It was a good game."

The Yachtsmen (4-0 and third in the latest Western Class B Heal Points standings) returned to action Tuesday at Freeport. Falmouth hosts Gray-New Gloucester Thursday, has a showdown at Yarmouth Saturday afternoon (please see theforecaster.net for game story) and goes to Traip Tuesday of next week.

Yarmouth is up to second in Western B (behind York) with a 4-0-1 record after a pair of wins last week. The Clippers edged host York, 1-0, last Thursday on Ben Vigue's rebound goal, his first as a varsity player. Andrew Fochler stopped three shots in goal. Saturday, at Cape Elizabeth, a team the Clippers had beaten, 4-1, a week prior, they were down, 1-0, early, but drew even late in the first half on Ben Decker's goal. Adam LaBrie put Yarmouth ahead in the second half and the Clippers held on for a 2-1 triumph.

"It's a big emotional victory," said Decker. "Everyone gave their all. Even the bench cheered us on. It was good. We knew (Cape) wanted to win. This is the kind of game we like. When we want to win and they want to win and we know it will be a fight. It was a lot of fun out there."

"It means a lot for us," LaBrie said. "It gives us a big push into the big games coming up. We had the attitude to keep playing. We just had to get on the board. In the second half, we played harder, stayed composed and played Yarmouth soccer."

"That first game was an oddity," Clippers coach Mike Hagerty said. "I think we played about as well as we've played in a bunch of years and we caught (Cape) on a good night for us and a bad night for them. I thought this game would be more indicative of how good they are. They'll be worth some Heal Points down the road. I was pleased with our depth. We subbed in six or seven guys. I feel like that was the difference in the second half. We're not the biggest team, but I don't think anyone works harder than us when it comes down to it. Tonight, we came back from 1-0 down. I'm proud of how we played."

The Clippers were home against Poland Tuesday, welcome rival Falmouth Saturday afternoon and play at Greely and Falmouth the following week.

Yarmouth feels it's up for the challenge.

"When we go Cape-York-Cape, you think it can't get any harder, but it can when you go Falmouth-Greely-Falmouth," Hagerty said. "If we keep using our depth, we should have  the legs to do it. I'm excited."

Freeport began the week 1-4-1 and 12th in Western B after losses last week at Gray-New Gloucester (4-0) and Waynflete (6-1). Connor Dietrich made nine saves in the loss to the Patriots. Against the Flyers, Landon Easler's goal in the 79th minute avoided a shutout. Nick Nelsonwood made six saves. The Falcons hosted Falmouth Tuesday and go to North Yarmouth Academy Friday.

In the agonizing loss to Falmouth, Greely got a pair of goals from freshman Jacob Nason to grab a 2-0 lead, but wound up suffering its first setback in improbable fashion.

"It's a tough one," said Rangers coach Mike Andreasen. "I can't think of a loss off the top of my head that's worse. Things just didn't work out well for us. It's high school sports. As tough as it is, it's small in life. We wanted to at least come out with a draw. I thought we were OK, but we had a breakdown. We didn't pull the defense out on the corner kick. The last two goals were breakdowns. We feel we can play with anybody and we can. Playing with and beating teams like (Falmouth) are different things. We have to be able to close the deal. We didn't get it done. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. We'll get better for it."

Greely bounced back with a 4-0 home win over Poland as Nason, Ben Giffard, Ben Ingraham and Nick Shain scored. Saturday, the Rangers fell to 3-2 with a 1-0 loss at York. Greely (12th in the Western A Heals) was at Fryeburg Tuesday, goes to rival Cape Elizabeth Friday, hosts Gray-New Gloucester Monday and Yarmouth Wednesday.

In Western C, NYA began the week 2-3-1 and sixth in the Heals. Last week, the Panthers enjoyed a 13-0 win at A.R. Gould (D.J. Nicholas scored four times), then lost at home to rival Waynflete, 5-0, and at Fryeburg, 2-1.

"If you analyze the goals, every one came on a free kick or corner," said Panthers coach Martyn Keen, after the loss to the Flyers. "Every one. We were very naive and we were exposed there. The kids were very honest and open about that afterwards. Waynflete's perennially a good team. We were ready, but it went south in a hurry after that first goal. The game was over by halftime. It was a nothing second half, really. We weren't coming back from 3-0 down. We gave away too many free kicks in dangerous areas. We shot ourselves in the foot."

NYA hosted Wells Wednesday and welcomes Freeport Friday.

Girls' soccer

Falmouth's girls' team is also undefeated in its title defense. The Yachtsmen edged host Greely, 1-0, last Tuesday, then improved to 5-0 Saturday after a 3-1 victory at Gray-New Gloucester. Against the Rangers, Cassie Darrow scored the lone goal and Falmouth held on for dear life down the stretch to prevail.

"The team had a lot of belief in each other," said Darrow. "We trusted each other, I think that was the most important part. When it got hard, we looked at each other and dug deep. I don't think you ever get used to winning hard games. There are always obstacles you have to overcome. We came out with the mentality that they wanted it just as much as we did. It's always a good match between us."

"Not a lot of people have talked about Greely, but they're very intelligent and hard working," said Falmouth coach Wally LeBlanc. "A quality club. I thought our girls came out fairly strong, then Greely won 50-50 balls and took control of the game. I felt at halftime we made some nice adjustments. It was tough to hold on. They put pressure on us. The worst thing in a one-goal game is to sit back and try to protect it. What I did like was our midfield play and trying to identify how they were changing field. I love when we have pressure games. It reveals our weaknesses and allows us to grow."

After hosting Freeport Tuesday, the Yachtsmen (second to Morse in the Western Class B Heal Points standings) go to Yarmouth Saturday.

Greely had its chances against Falmouth in last week's loss and even hit the post once, but fell short.

"This is game two for us, so we're having to learn this on the fly," Rangers coach Michael Kennedy said. "This team is different from last year. We have to replace 40 goals. Although we have a ton of talent up top, putting balls in the net takes time, especially against a quality team. We outshot them, 18-5. In previous years, if we got that many shots, we'd score three or four goals. We had great opportunities. We hit the post. We had a couple really close ones."

Greely bounced back from its Falmouth loss with a 2-0 win at Poland. Izzy Hutnak scored twice. Caton Beaulieu stopped five shots. Saturday, the Rangers fell to 2-2 with a 1-0 loss at York. Beaulieu made four saves. Greely (seventh in Western A) was home with Fryeburg Tuesday, has a big home test versus rival Cape Elizabeth Friday and visits Gray-New Glucester Monday.

Freeport enjoyed 2-1 wins at Fryeburg and at home over Gray-New Gloucester (in double overtime) before falling at home to Waynflete, 3-2. In the win over the Raiders, Julia Smith and Jocelyn Davee had goals. Davee had the winner against the Patriots and Smith also scored. The Falcons led the Flyers, 2-0, behind goals from Ashley Richardson and Maddie Squibb, but Waynflete rallied late to tie, then scored in the final minute of the first overtime to leave Freeport distraught.

"It's kind of growing pains right now," said Falcons coach Elayna Girardin. "We were down two starters and we lost a third starter today. I had a freshman score one of our goals. We're trying to adjust the best we can. We got a little on the freaked out side. We've worked hard and had some great wins. This would have been a great win to finish the week off with. It's a learning experience that even when you're up two, you have to keep playing the whole game."

Freeport (3-3 and seventh in Western B) was at Falmouth Tuesday, visits Old Orchard Beach Friday and hosts NYA Monday.

Yarmouth battled host York to a scoreless tie before falling, 2-1, to visiting Cape Elizabeth last week. The Clippers (1-3-1 and ninth) host Falmouth Saturday, go to Wells Monday and Greely Wednesday.

In Western C, NYA lost at Waynflete, 2-0, last Thursday, to drop to 1-4. The Panthers (16th in the Heals) visited Old Orchard Beach Wednesday and go to Freeport Monday.

Field hockey

Don't look now, but the Freeport field hockey team is on a roll. After losing in their opener, at two-time defending Class C state champion NYA, the Falcons have won five straight, capped by a 3-2 win at Poland and a 7-3 home victory over Gray-New Gloucester last week. Against the Knights, Olivia Bubar had two goals, while Korissa Lavers scored once. Tallie Martin made 10 saves. In the win over the Patriots, Bubar had two goals, Sydney Ambrose, Dani Foster, Dayze Gaulin, Megan Peacock and Abby Smith also rattled the cage. Freeport (5-1 and fourth in the Western C Heals) was at Traip Tuesday, welcomes NYA Thursday and Poland Saturday and visits Waynflete Monday.

Speaking of NYA, the Panthers' suffered their first loss of the season last Wednesday, 2-0, to visiting defending Western B champion York. NYA had the better of play in the first half, but couldn't rattle the cage and the Wildcats scored twice in the second half to win it.

"I knew it would be a tough game coming in," said NYA coach Tracy Quimby. "(York's) a great team. They're in it every season. The first half was great. We came out second half and the pace changed. We lost track of players we couldn't lose track of. The kids will learn from their mistakes and move on.."

The Panthers bounced back with a 1-0 win at Traip (on Bailey Clock's penalty stroke goal and nine saves from goalie Elizabeth Coughlin) and a 4-0 triumph at Waynflete (Clock, Maura Anderson, Olivia Madore and Juliana Tardif had the goals, as Coughlin stopped eight shots). NYA (5-1 and second behind Lisbon in the standings) hosted Sacopee Tuesday in a rematch of last year's regional final. After going to Freeport Thursday, the Panthers host Old Orchard Beach Saturday and Traip Monday.

In Western B, Falmouth went to rival Greely Tuesday afternoon in a game where both squads were desperate for a victory (please see theforecaster.net for game story).

The Yachtsmen, who won their first three games, lost, 2-1, to visiting Fryeburg Friday to fall to 3-3. Jillian Rothweiler had the goal. Falmouth (sixth in Western B) hosts York in another pivotal contest Thursday, visits Gray-New Gloucester Saturday and plays at Wells Tuesday of next week.

The Rangers suffered a 3-1 loss at Fryeburg last Wednesday (despite a goal from Jess Wilson). Monday, Greely improved to 2-5 with a 4-1 win at Wells (Wilson and Rachel Hanson both scored twice). The Rangers (12th in Western B) are home with Cape Elizabeth Thursday and Yarmouth Saturday, then play at Lake Region Monday.

Yarmouth won its third straight, 2-1, at Waynflete, last Wednesday to improve to 4-2. Katie Overhaug and Emma Peterson scored. The Clippers (eighth in Western B), after seven days off, host Fryeburg Thursday, go to Greely Saturday and welcome Gray-New Gloucester Monday.

Cross country

Both Falmouth teams came in first in a meet last weekend at Freeport (which also included Fryeburg). Falmouth's Bryce Murdick was second individually in the boys' race (17 minutes, 9 seconds). The Falcons came in third as a team. Abrim Berkemeyer (third, 17:17) was their top runner. In the girls' race, Madeline Roberts (20:25), Geneva Waite (21:33) and Abby Payson (21:38) went 1-2-3 for the Yachtsmen. Freeport (second as a team) was paced by Nina Davenport (fourth, 21:77).

Greely (with Sacopee, Traip and Waynflete) ran at Wells. The Rangers boys were first as Nathan Madeira finished second in 18:12. The girls also placed first and were paced by individual winner Eva Bates (20:30).

Yarmouth hosted NYA, Gray-New Gloucester and Lake Region. The Clippers were first in the boys' race, while the Panthers came in second. Individually, Yarmouth's Braden Becker was first (16:37). NYA was paced by runner-up Matt Malcolm (17:14). The Clippers also won the girls' race, while the Panthers finished second. Sarah Becker of Yarmouth was first in 20:11. NYA's Hannah Austin was runner-up (20:19).

Merriconeag joined Cape Elizabeth and Poland at York. The boys took third place, but Jack Pierce was the top individual (16:54). The girls were second to the Capers, as Samantha Pierce placed fourth (21:57).

This weekend, Freeport, Greely, Merriconeag and NYA travel to New Hampshire to take part in the Manchester Invitational. Falmouth hosts Poland, Sacopee, Traip, Wells and York. Yarmouth (along with Cape Elizabeth and Lake Region) runs at Gray-New Gloucester.

Golf

Yarmouth's golf team continued its stellar season with recent victories at Freeport (7-0) and at home over Waynflete (6.5-0.5) to improve to 6-0. The Clippers have a big test at rival Cape Elizabeth Thursday.

Defending Class A champion Falmouth stayed perfect with a win at Deering (9-4), but then dropped a 7-6 decision to Scarborough Monday to fall to 4-1. The Yachtsmen host Cheverus Friday.

Greely dropped back-to-back matches last week, including a 13-0 blanking by Gorham, but improved to 4-2 Monday with a 13-0 home victory over Bonny Eagle.

NYA made it six straight match victories last week by downing host Old Orchard Beach (6-1) and Gray-New Gloucester (6-1).

Freeport got its first victory last Wednesday, 5-2, over Waynflete. The Falcons then lost to Wells (4.5-2.5) and Yarmouth (7-0) before beating Sacopee Monday (5-2) to improve to 2-4.

Volleyball

Greely's defending Class A state champion volleyball team bounced back from its loss to Biddeford in the opener with four straight wins, capped by a 3-1 (25-4, 22-25, 25-17, 25-10) home victory over Kennebunk and a 3-0 (25-6, 25-9, 25-6) triumph at NYA last week. The Rangers (fifth in the Class A Heals) had a chance to avenge their only loss Wednesday when they host Biddeford (see theforecaster.net for match story). Greely welcomes Windham Monday.

Falmouth improved to 3-2 and sixth in Class A after a 3-0 (25-14, 25-9, 25-16) home victory over first-year program Cheverus Friday. The Yachtsmen were home with Windham Wednesday, welcome Biddeford Friday and play at Lake Region Monday.

In Class B, defending state champion Yarmouth fell from the unbeaten ranks last Wednesday with a 3-0 (20-25, 12-25, 10-25) home loss to Gorham. Gina Robertson had nine service points and Maddy Mairhofer had 20 digs. Friday, the Clippers improved to 5-1 with a 3-0 (25-12, 25-11, 25-10) home victory over Lake Region. Robertson had seven aces and five kills. Grace Mallet added five aces and 12 assists and Lindsay Taylor finished with 10 digs. Yarmouth (first in the Class B Heals) goes to Cheverus Friday and Cony Monday.

NYA began the week 0-4 and eighth in Class B after a 3-0 (6-25, 9-25, 6-25) home loss to Greely Friday. Charlotte Esancy had 12 attacks and four kills, Grace Gilbert four aces, seven attacks and four kills, Katherine Roche three aces, Lizzie Roche 10 digs, Anya Siviski nine service points and 10 assists and Adela McVicar a pair of blocks. The Panthers hosted Cony Wednesday, visit Kennebunk Saturday and Cape Elizabeth Monday.

Falmouth and Greely took part in the Maine Games' Bruce Churchill Memorial Volleyball Festival Saturday. Each of the 12 participating teams raised money for the ALS Association of Northern New England in the name of Churchill, the former Greely assistant, who recently lost his five-year battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or "Lou Gehrig's Disease."

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