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Regular season almost over

Sports

Regular season almost over

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

The postseason fun is underway and there is plenty more to come in the days and weeks ahead.

Golf's team state match was held Saturday (please see story) and individuals go for glory this coming weekend. Field hockey's regular season has already come to a close for many teams. Soccer and volleyball are nearing their end and cross country's postseason is just days away.

Here's a look:

Boys' soccer

Falmouth and Yarmouth's boys' soccer teams are in a three-horse race with Maranacook for the top seed in Western Class B.

The Clippers appeared to have a leg up after a win at Falmouth Sept. 29, but last Tuesday, despite enjoying a 30-2 edge in shots (10-1 on frame), Yarmouth settled for a 0-0 home tie with Freeport. Thursday, the Clippers improved to 8-0-3 with a 2-1 win at Gray-New Gloucester in sloppy conditions. David Murphy was credited with the first goal when his throw wasn't handled by the Patriots goalie and went into the net. Ben Vigue ultimately broke a 1-1 tie in the second half to give Yarmouth the victory. The Clippers (second to Maranacook in the Western Class B Heal Points standings, as of press time) were at Fryeburg Tuesday, hoping to avenge last year's playoff loss, play host to Greely Thursday (please see theforecaster.net for game story) and close the regular year at home versus York Saturday.

The defending Class B state champion Yachtsmen sat third at 7-1-2 after playing host York to a 1-1 draw last Tuesday in a rematch of last year's regional final. Cooper Lycan had the tying tally. Falmouth faced a test at Cape Elizabeth Tuesday, plays host to Poland Thursday, Greely Saturday and York Tuesday of next week to close the regular year.

Freeport got 10 saves from Brendan Qualls in the tie at Yarmouth. The Falcons fell to 2-7-2 Friday with a 4-1 loss at Cape Elizabeth. Sam Farrar had Freeport's lone goal. The Falcons began the week 12th in Western B, just a fraction of a point out of the No. 11 spot, which is where they need to wind up if they hope to make the playoffs. Freeport was home with York Tuesday, goes to Fryeburg Thursday and closes Monday at home versus Gray-New Gloucester.

In Western A, Greely fell to 7-4 and seventh in the Heals after a 1-0 home loss to Cape Elizabeth last week. The Rangers were back in action Tuesday at defending Class C state champion Waynflete (please see theforecaster.net for game story). Greely goes to Yarmouth Thursday and Falmouth Saturday and if it finishes strong, could move up the standings.

In Western C, North Yarmouth Academy enjoyed a 5-3 win at Sacopee last Tuesday, but lost at Waynflete Friday, 2-0. In the victory, Jacob Scammon had three goals, D.J. Nicholas and Oliver Silverson one apiece. At the Flyers, the Panthers gave up a first half "own goal," their fifth such disaster this season, but pushed hard throughout and almost tied the game on several occasions. With the whole team essentially playing forward, NYA surrendered a second goal with 15 seconds to play.

“It was closer this time," Panthers coach Martyn Keen said. "We had an own goal and they got one at the end. I don't really count that last goal since we were pushing up. We've had three own goals against us in two games (against Waynflete). We had a nice run of wins and came here with confidence, but we didn't get the luck which you need. The kids feel OK about it. Disappointed naturally, but it won't be the end of the world if we have to come here again. I think we're coming along."

NYA (8-4-1 and sixth in the Heals) wrapped up its regular season Tuesday at Gray-New Gloucester.

"We have a ridiculously long break," Keen said. "If we don't have a prelim game, we'll have 15 days off. It's just an anomaly of the schedule."

Girls' soccer

On the girls' side, two-time defending Class B champion Falmouth continues to lead the way in Western B. The Yachtsmen improved to 9-0-1 with a 1-0 home victory over rival York last Tuesday (Alex Bernier had the goal). Falmouth was back in action Tuesday at home versus Cape Elizabeth (please see theforecaster.net for game story), visits Poland Thursday, welcomes Greely Saturday and closes the regular season at York Tuesday of next week.

Freeport began the week ninth in the Heals with a record of 5-6-1 after tying visiting Yarmouth, 1-1, and losing at home to Cape Elizabeth, 4-1, last week. In the draw, Brooke Heathco scored. Maddie Squibb had the goal against the Capers. The Falcons were at York in a playoff rematch Tuesday and close the regular season at home versus Poland Saturday.

Yarmouth is 10th (the top 11 teams make the playoffs) with a 2-5-4 mark following ties last week at Freeport (1-1) and at home versus Gray-New Gloucester (0-0). Eavan O'Neill had the goal against the Falcons. The Clippers were home with Fryeburg Tuesday, welcome Greely Thursday and close at home versus York Saturday.

In Western A, Greely was seventh at press time with a 6-3-1 mark after battling host Cape Elizabeth to a 0-0 tie last week. Rangers goalkeeper Caton Beaulieu made 11 saves.

"We have a high line, so I always have to be up and ready to clear any through balls," Beaulieu said. "We know Cape has quick girls up top, so I had to be ready. If I stay back, that's when I get in trouble. It's frustrating because everyone worked so hard. It would have been nice to have a 'W.' A goal would have been great for everyone's confidence."

"That's a great result for us," said Rangers coach Michael Kennedy. "A win would have been great. It was a hard fought game. Two teams with different styles. We're OK with a tie."

Greely was home with Western C contender Waynflete Tuesday, goes to Yarmouth Thursday and Falmouth Saturday and closes Monday at Lake Region.

"I'm not as worried about playoff seeds as I've been in the past," Kennedy said. "Where we fall in the seeds doesn't matter. I'd like to have a home game for these guys to build a little confidence. If we don't, it's OK, because defense wins championships. If we create chances like we've been doing, we'll be OK."

In Western C, NYA was 2-9 and 13th (the top 11 teams make the playoffs) after home losses to Sacopee (1-0) and Waynflete (3-0) last week. The Panthers were at Traip Tuesday, go to Wells Saturday and close at home against Buckfield Monday.

Field hockey

Two-time defending Class C state field hockey champion NYA was 11-2 and clung to the first spot over Lisbon in the Heals as the final week of the regular season began.

Last Thursday, the Panthers blanked visiting Waynflete, 5-0, as Julianna Tardif had two goals and Maura Anderson, Marina Poole and Lillie Reder one apiece. NYA closed the regular season at Sacopee Wednesday, in a rematch of last year's regional final.

Freeport was fifth in Western C at 5-7-1 after a 2-1 overtime loss at Old Orchard Beach and a 1-0 setback at Yarmouth last week. Abigail Smith scored against the Seagulls.

"We're playing really hard and getting opportunities, but we're just not getting the job done," said Falcons coach Sara Dimick. "We have a lot of injuries and illnesses, but we're playing well in spite of that."

The Falcons closed at home versus Traip Wednesday.

"It would be nice to get a spot for homefield advantage," Dimick said. "I told (the girls) it's a matter of time until we get the extra heart and hustle back."

In Western B, it looks like two of three local teams are playoff-bound, but the big news revolves around the one which will likely fall short, Greely, which hasn't missed the postseason since 1996 and was one of the region's preseason favorites.

Monday, the Rangers hosted rival/nemesis York, a team it had lost to nine straight times, in what was essentially a win-and-get-in contest. Greely countered an early Wildcats goal with a tally from Jess Wilson, but York scored before halftime and fought off several Rangers' surges in the second half to drop the Rangers to 2-9-2 with a 2-1 decision.

"This is symbolic of the season, unfortunately," said Greely coach Kristina Prescott. "We had plenty of chances. It was a great game. Both teams were very skilled. We needed this game to make playoffs. Unless there's some big upset, I don't see us going on."

The Rangers were 12th in the Heals heading into Tuesday's finale versus visiting Wells (which isn't worth much in the way of points), but only the top 11 teams qualify for the postseason.

Look for Greely to return with a vengeance in 2013.

"We lose 14 seniors, but our JV has demolished every other team," said Prescott. "Same with our first team. This won't happen again. Having this many seniors and knowing them as well as I do, it's tough to not see them succeed and make their goals."

Falmouth moved up to sixth at 7-4-2 after a 2-0 home win over Cape Elizabeth last Thursday. Mikey Richards and Jillian Rothweiler had the goals and the Yachtsmen's defense held the Capers at bay.

"This means everything," said Falmouth's Bri Hughes, who along with classmate Katie Cooleen and others helped clamp down defensively. "All we were thinking coming out for the second half was we want it. We had to keep our heads up and fight for it."

"We're playing better," said Yachtsmen coach Robin Haley. "You hope to peak at a certain time. (The girls) did a great job. Great energy all the way through. I thought we played well as a team tonight."

Falmouth closed at home versus Wells Wednesday. The Yachtsmen will likely host a preliminary round playoff game Saturday.

"I think we're heading in the right direction," Richards said. "We had that slump, but now we have momentum and heart and we want it. Hopefully we go far in the playoffs."

Yarmouth bounced back from a 4-0 loss at York by edging visiting Freeport, 1-0 (on Kallie Hutchinson's rocket off a penalty corner 10 minutes in) and blanking visiting Poland, 3-0, to improve to 7-5-1 and eighth in Western B. Hutchinson, Lily Daggett and Emma Peterson had goals against the Knights, as the Clippers ensured a winning regular season record for the first time since 2000.

"We're doing a much better job and our confidence is growing," said Yarmouth coach Mandy Lewis. "Our goal was to get at least a prelim spot. We're headed in that direction. We met our goal of making the playoffs last year. Meeting our goal of hosting would be awesome for these girls. It's been a fun year and I only have two seniors."

The Clippers closed at Cape Elizabeth Wednesday and could host a playoff game for the first time since 2001.

"The top teams have a lot of wins, but I think anyone's beatable," Lewis said.

The field hockey playoffs begin with the preliminary round Saturday, continue with the quarterfinals Tuesday and Wednesday of next week and the semifinals Oct. 20. Each of those rounds will be hosted by the higher ranked team. The regional finals are Oct. 23, at Scarborough High School. The state championship games are Oct. 27, at the University of Maine-Orono.

Cross country

The cross country regular season came to a close last week at a couple of venues.

Greely hosted Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth and Yarmouth.

In the boys' meet, the Yachtsmen were first, Clippers second and Rangers third. Individually, Greely's Nathan Madeira had the fastest time (17 minutes, 9 seconds). Yarmouth was paced by Braden Becker (second, 17:28). Falmouth's top finisher was Josh Simensky (fourth, 18:07).

On the girls' side, the Rangers came in first, with the Clippers second and the Yachtsmen third. Greely was paced by Kirstin Sandreuter (20:02) and Eva Bates (20:23) who went 1-2. Yarmouth's fastest girl was Caitlin Teare (third, 21:08). Geneva Waite led Falmouth by placing fourth (21:27).

NYA welcomed Freeport, Merriconeag and Sacopee Valley.

In the boys' meet, the Falcons were first, Merriconeag second and the Panthers finished third. Merriconeag's Jack Pierce won the race in 16:23. Freeport was paced by Mark Donahue (18:01). Matt Malcolm led the way for NYA with a third-place showing (18:10).

On the girls' side, the teams finished in the same order, Falcons first, Merriconeag second, Panthers third. Individually, NYA's Hannah Austin had the top time (20:33). Freeport's Nina Davenport was runner-up (21:38). Samantha Pierce of Merriconeag placed third (21:57).

The Western Maine Conference meet is Friday, at St. Joseph's College in Standish. The regional championship are Oct. 20, at Twin Brook Recreation in Cumberland. The state championships are Oct. 27, in Belfast. The New England championship meet is Nov. 10, back at Twin Brook.

Volleyball

Greely's defending Class A state champion volleyball team is striking fear into the hearts of the opposition by peaking at the end of the regular season. Last week, the Rangers extended their win streak to five matches with impressive 3-0 victories at last year's state match foe Scarborough and reigning Class B champ Yarmouth.

Against the Red Storm, Greely raced to a 20-6 lead in the first set and never look back, prevailing, 25-14, 25-13, 25-17.

"We're playing together really, really well," said Kristen Atwood, who had nine kills. "Everyone's talking and being positive and it's really helped. At the beginning of the season, there was a little uncertainty, but now everyone knows where they're supposed to be and it's great."

"We're starting to click," said Rangers coach Kelvin Hasch. "When it gets close to the end, we'll be there. It was experience and getting a few people to play as a team. I use eight players. It's hard to get eight players to play as a team. Now, we're jelling and playing together."

At Yarmouth, the Rangers romped in the first set, 25-5, thanks to the service of Lexi Foster, winning 18 straight points at one stretch, held on for a 25-22 victory in the second set, then closed it out, 25-15.

Greely (9-2 and second to Biddeford, the lone team it's lost to this fall, in the Class A Heals) was at Cape Elizabeth Wednesday, visits Falmouth Friday and closes the regular season Monday at home versus Cheverus.

"We're peaking," Atwood said. "I think we'll do well. There's going to be some competition out there. That makes it fun. We'd like another championship. That would be nice."

"I think we're starting to peak," Hasch said. "We've still got room to improve. It's a whole new season in the playoffs. The Heals don't matter then. No one should be overlooking Greely."

Elsewhere in Class A, Falmouth began the week 9-4 and seventh after winning at Kennebunk 3-1 and dropping a five-set (25-21, 23-25, 28-26, 23-25, 10-15) decision to visiting Scarborough last week. The Yachtsmen finish the regular year Friday at home against Greely.

Yarmouth fell to 9-4 and fourth with the loss to Greely. The Clippers finished the regular season Wednesday at NYA. They likely face at least one long road trip in the postseason.

NYA was 0-8 and ninth in Class B prior to hosting Yarmouth. The Panthers close the regular season with matches at Lake Region, Narraguagus, Sumner, Jonesport-Beals and Machias.

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