Tue, Sep 16, 2014 ●
BathHarpswellTopshamBrunswickCumberlandNorth YarmouthFalmouthFreeportPortlandCape ElizabethScarboroughSouth PortlandChebeague IslandYarmouth

Field hockey, soccer, volleyball playoffs heating up

Sports

Field hockey, soccer, volleyball playoffs heating up

(Ed. Note: For the complete Falmouth-Sanford, NYA-Telstar, Yarmouth-Oak Hill and NYA-Yarmouth field hockey and the Falmouth-Biddeford volleyball game stories, with photos, please visit theforecaster.net)

The field hockey and volleyball playoffs have already produced an abundance of drama and soccer is about to follow suit.

Here's what you might have missed and a glimpse at what's to come.

Field hockey

At press time, only the North Yarmouth Academy field hockey team remained alive, as three others saw their title dreams dashed last week.

The Panthers, ranked second in Western C after an 11-2-1 regular season, eked out a 1-0 win over Telstar in the quarterfinals, thanks to an early goal from Marina Poole.

"It's never easy," Poole said. "It was definitely a tough game. It was good competition. We wanted to play our game, NYA field hockey. That's all we could do."

NYA then hosted Yarmouth Saturday in the semifinals, the first postseason showdown between the neighbors since 1995.

The Clippers, ranked third after a 9-4-1 campaign, won their quarterfinal, 2-1, over No. 6 Oak Hill, thanks to two second half goals from standout Kallie Hutchinson, one on a penalty stroke, the other off a corner.

"Last year, winning a prelim was big for us, but winning in the quarterfinals, Wow!" said Hutchinson. "It's been forever (2000) since we've done it. It's been forever since it's been at our field. I can't explain how much it means to these girls and to our program. We've come a long way."

"It was a great game," Yarmouth coach Mandy Lewis said. "It's very exciting. (Winning in this round) was a goal. These seniors have earned it. They've seen the program grow. We're here because of them. I'm incredibly proud of this group of girls."

Saturday, NYA, which won both regular season meetings, took a 1-0 lead over the Clippers just 58 seconds in on a goal from Juju Tardif, who tipped home Kayla Rose's shot.

"It was exciting (to score that fast)," Tardif said. "We came out hard and we wanted it."

After Panthers goalie Elizabeth Coughlin made a clutch save on a Hutchinson blast off a corner, the Rose-Tardif combination hooked up again for a 2-0 lead at halftime. NYA held on from there and advanced, 2-0.

"We knew it's hard to beat a team three times, but that's just a statistic and we knew we could do it," said Rose. "We knew playing our game would beat them. We were prepared. I couldn't have been more prepared for a game."

Yarmouth's best season since 2000 ended at 10-5-1.

"Honestly, today was the first time we had trouble coming out from the first minute and they scored in the first minute," Hutchinson lamented. "After that, we picked it up and dominated the rest of the first half. It was frustrating. (Fighting to the end) shows we really wanted it. We had a lot of seniors and we were playing for them."

"It was a tough ending to a good season," said Lewis. "We talked about 30 minutes of hockey is a long time and that we could do it. We played hard in the second half."

Graduation will do a number on the program, but Hutchinson is an ideal foundation to build around and with sophomore Bre Morrill, who had several key goals this fall, as well as goalie Tori Messina back, Yarmouth can't be overlooked.

"I like being the underdog," Hutchinson said. "I like having teams not expect us to be competitive. Yeah, we'll be young, but I think we'll have confidence. It's going to be great. I'm looking forward to it."

NYA advanced to meet No. 1 Lisbon (13-2-1) in the Western C Final Tuesday (see theforecaster.net for game story). The teams don't play in the regular season. NYA is 2-1 all-time against Lisbon in the playoffs. Last fall, Lisbon ended the Panthers' two-year title reign with a 1-0 decision in the regional final.

"(Winning is) a tradition for us," Rose said. "We want to keep our reputation going. We're looking to get some revenge on Lisbon. We had an off game last year. Now, we want it more than ever."

"Lisbon's a strong team," NYA coach Tracy Quimby said. "The girls knew last year's game was a bad game and you can't have those. I'm hoping they come in and know they have to be good from the get-go. I think they'll be ready."

If the Panthers advanced, they would meet either Foxcroft Academy (15-0-1) or Winslow (15-1) in the state final Saturday at Yarmouth High at a time to be announced.

In Western A, Falmouth, the No. 3 seed, hosted No. 11 Sanford in its first-ever Class A playoff game last Wednesday and behind a first half goal from Mikey Richards and two second half tallies from Elle Fitzgerald and another from Sydney Bell, prevailed, 4-0.

"We had drive," said Richards. "We wanted to step up. For the seniors, it's the first time in three years we've done it. We wanted it so badly. It's a great step."

"We didn't live on the edge tonight," Fitzgerald said. "We wanted to get past the quarterfinals. None of us have been past the quarterfinals and we really wanted it."

That win sent Falmouth to No. 2 Massabesic for the semifinals Saturday. The teams had no history. The Mustangs took a 1-0 lead in the first half and added a second half tally to end the Yachtsmen's season at 13-3 with a 2-0 decision.

"It was just a tough game," said Falmouth coach Robin Haley. "We had some difficulty on grass executing our offensive game. They were one or two steps closer to the ball. We didn't have it in their end a lot. We had two or three corners at most. Just a couple chances.

"I'm really proud of what we accomplished this year as a program. We graduated a number of seniors. We had key individuals back, but we also had a lot of young talent that thrived. Going 12-2 was second to only York in our class. It's something to be really proud of. It was nice get one win in the Class A playoffs."

Falmouth loses six seniors, but will be right back in the hunt in 2014.

"We lose kids who were a big part of the program," said Haley. "Hillary (Nash) was a three-year starter at goalie. Mikey and Jillian (Rothweiler) were two of our top three scorers. Leika (Scott) and Hayley (Winslow) are big losses and Youngjin Kim was a great leader. We will have talent back and hopefully next year, we'll have more confidence with the unknown in the playoffs. We'll keep trying."

In Western B, following its preliminary round over Greely, No. 8 Freeport went to top-ranked, undefeated York for the quarterfinals last Tuesday and lost, 4-0. The Falcons were down by that margin at halftime, but played a strong season half as their season ended at 6-10.

Volleyball

At press time, three of four local volleyball teams still had their sights set on winning a state title.

In Class A, Falmouth wound up second after a 12-2 regular season. The Yachtsmen hosted No. 7 Biddeford, a state finalist last year, in the quarterfinals Saturday. Falmouth showed its mental toughness by prevailing, 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-22), behind 16 kills from Riley Burfeind, seven kills and four aces from Katrina Meserve and four aces from Julia Treadwell.

"We got pumped up and realized we wanted it so badly," said Burfeind. "We knew we could do it. We didn't want to go to a fourth game."

"It wasn't easy," said setter Megan Tammaro. "We tried to work together as a team. They took us to five games last time, but today it worked out for us."

"It's exciting for us," Falmouth coach Gary Powers added. "(Winning this round was) one of our goals. We want to make it to the final."

The Yachtsmen hosted No. 6 Cape Elizabeth (13-2) in the semifinals Wednesday night. Falmouth won a 3-1 decision in the regular season. The teams had no playoff history.

"We want this so badly," Burfeind said. "We're working so hard. We hope this is our year."

If the Yachtsmen advanced to their third state match in five seasons, they would play either two-time defending champion Greely (11-4) or undefeated, top-ranked Scarborough (15-0) Saturday at 10 a.m., at Windham High School. Falmouth lost two matches this fall to the Red Storm and swept the Rangers.

Speaking of Greely, which is ranked fifth, it went to No. 4 Ellsworth for the quarterfinals Saturday and enjoyed a 3-0 (25-14, 25-19, 25-18) victory. Kayley Cimino (seven aces, five kills, 25 assists), Krystyna Rybka (six aces), Emily Warnock (nine kills) and Jordynne Copp (11 kills) excelled.

The Rangers were at No. 1 Scarborough in Wednesday's semifinals. The Red Storm entered 2013 having never beaten Greely, but downed the Rangers in both regular season encounters.

In Class B, top-ranked Yarmouth (13-1) earned a bye into Wednesday's semifinals, where it hosted No. 4 Calais (9-6).

Calais is where fifth-ranked NYA played its first-ever postseason match Saturday in the quarterfinals. The Panthers played hard and extended the match to the limit, but lost, 3-2 (19-25, 25-17, 15-25, 25-16, 4-15), as the best season in program history ended at 7-8.

"It was a very exciting match, going back and forth," said NYA coach Nora Krainis. "We are very happy with the season as a whole, since it's the best record we have ever had and since we made our goal to reach the playoffs.  The team as a whole improved significantly in every way during the season and we are looking forward to another good season next year. Next year, we will have 12 seniors on the team, and four of them were starters this season."

Yarmouth was hoping to beat Calais and make it to the state match for the second time in three seasons. If the Clippers advanced, they would play No. 2 Washington Academy (11-4) or No. 3 Machias (12-3) Saturday at 1 p.m., at Windham High School.

Boys' soccer

The boys' soccer playoffs began Saturday when Freeport went to Fryeburg for a Western B preliminary round game. The Falcons wound up ninth in the region after a 4-8-2 regular season. Freeport and Fryeburg couldn't score in regulation or the first overtime, but the Raiders finally broke through in the second OT on a penalty kick and ended the Falcons' season at 4-9-2 with a 1-0 decision.

"I am really pleased with how the boys played Saturday," said Freeport coach Joe Heathco. "Both teams had some good chances and players came up with big plays at several points. It was a very good and exciting game. Brendan Qualls had a great individual effort as our keeper, as well as seniors Nick Nelsonwood and Harry Stivers on the defensive end. All the guys played their hearts out and I am very proud of the effort by all of our players. 

"As far as the season goes, we had hoped to do a little better. We had a couple of disappointing results early on and then I thought the level of play for the entire league was outstanding this year with just a couple of exceptions. I am proud of how the group pulled together and made the playoffs and then of how we played in the prelim.
 
"For next year, we are hoping to continue to build and develop. Every season is a fresh start and an opportunity to achieve at the highest level. I am hopeful that this years juniors in particular will pick up the mantle of success and carry us on to bigger and better things."

That sent Fryeburg to top-ranked Yarmouth, which went 11-0-3 in the regular season, for a quarterfinal round game Wednesday. The teams didn't play this year. Just two years ago, the Raiders went to Yarmouth and shocked the then-defending champion Clippers in the quarterfinals, 1-0.

If Yarmouth advanced, it would host either No. 4 Cape Elizabeth (5-5-4) or No. 5 Lincoln Academy (2-5-7) in the semifinals Saturday. The Clippers went overtime twice this fall with the Capers, winning, 1-0, at Cape Elizabeth and settling for a 3-3 draw at home. If the longtime rivals meet in the playoffs, it would mark the first time that's happened, as the Capers moved down from Class A this fall. Yarmouth doesn't play Lincoln in the regular season.

Greely, the No. 2 seed, in Western B after a 10-2-2 regular season, hosted No. 7 Gray-New Gloucester (6-7-2) Wednesday night. On Sept. 16, the Rangers edged the visiting Patriots, 1-0. With Greely residing in Class A for the past 37 seasons, the teams had no prior playoff history.

If the Rangers advanced, they'd welcome No. 3 York (4-4-6) or No. 6 Spruce Mountain (7-6-1) Saturday in the semifinals. Greely beat the host Wildcats, 3-0, and tied them at home, 0-0, in the regular season. The teams haven't met in the playoffs. The Rangers and Phoenix have no history.

In Western A, Falmouth, the two-time defending Class B champion, which moved up for the playoffs this fall, wound up with the No. 6 seed after an 8-4-2 regular season. The Yachtsmen hosted No. 11 Bonny Eagle in their first Class A playoff game, a prelim, Saturday, and won easily, 5-0, behind a hat trick from Luke Velas.

Falmouth advanced to the quarterfinals, where it visited No. 3 Portland (10-2-2) Wednesday night (see theforecaster.net for game story). The teams have no history.

If the Yachtsmen sprung an upset, they'd go to  No. 2 Noble (11-2-1) or host No. 7 Cheverus (10-4-1) in the semifinals Saturday. Falmouth has no history with either school.

In Western C, NYA's first-ever 14-0 regular season was only good for the No. 3 seed behind defending regional champion Hall-Dale and Maranacook.

"There appears to be a chemistry and camaraderie with these boys that only comes about very occasionally," said Panthers coach Martyn Keen. "The good thing is that we reached our 14-0 by winning in all types of ways, some by blowout, some coming from behind and on occasion, losing a lead only to dig deep and regain it later in the game."

NYA hosted rival No. 6 Waynflete (9-4-2) in the quarterfinals Wednesday afternoon (see theforecaster.net for game story). The Panthers won both regular season games: 1-0 at Waynflete and 3-0 in Yarmouth. The teams have met each of the past three postseasons, with the Flyers taking two of those meetings, including last year's surprisingly one-sided 7-1 romp in the quarterfinals.

"Waynflete is our longtime nemesis," Keen said. "This is the fourth time in five seasons we've faced each other after dueling twice in the regular season."

If NYA advanced, it will either go to No. 2 Maranacook (12-0-2) or host No. 10 Wiscasset (9-4-2) in Friday's semifinals. The Panthers didn't play either team this fall.

Looking ahead to next week, the regional finals are Wednesday, on the fields of the higher remaining seeds. The Class A state final is Saturday, Nov. 9 in Bath, while the Class B and Class C state games are at Hampden Academy.

Girls' soccer

On the girls' side, NYA played its first postseason game in four seasons and hosted one for the first time since 2006 when it welcomed Monmouth last Friday in a Western C prelim. The Panthers had chances, but couldn't finish, and the Mustangs got a goal in overtime to win, 1-0, and end NYA's season at 7-6-2.

"We pushed the whole game and we had opportunities, but if you don't score, you don't win," lamented Panthers first-year coach Josh Thornton. "The goal they got has been our downfall all season.

"I have some very talented players who worked hard. They moved the ball around and did the right stuff. They had the success they deserved. My target was to beat last year's record. We won three games last year and this year we did that in the first week-and-a-half. We were pleased with that. The girls started to believe in themselves and that we had a talented team. I'm really proud of them.

"I look forward to the future. Fingers crossed, we'll have a strong team again."

In Western A, three-time defending Class B champion Falmouth (which moved up for the playoffs for the first time this fall) earned the No. 2 seed after an 11-2-1 season. The Yachtsmen hosted No. 7 Biddeford (11-3-1) in the quarterfinals Tuesday. The teams had no history.

If Falmouth advanced, it would host No. 3 Thornton Academy (12-1-1) or No. 6 Deering (11-3-1) in Saturday's semifinal. The Yachtsmen haven't played either team in a countable game.

In Western B, No. 4 Yarmouth hosted No. 5 Freeport in a compelling quarterfinal Tuesday night. The Clippers entered the playoffs 8-3-3 and were one of the hottest teams around after winning their final four games. The Falcons went 9-5 in the regular season. Back on Sept. 16, host Yarmouth beat Freeport, 1-0. The teams met just once before in the playoffs, a 5-0 Clippers win in the 2005 quarterfinals.

The winner will likely go to No. 1 Cape Elizabeth (11-2-1) in Saturday's semifinals. In the regular season, Yarmouth tied the host Capers, 1-1, and dropped a gutwrenching 2-1 double overtime decision at home to Cape Elizabeth. Freeport lost at home to the Capers, 5-0. Neither the Falcons or Clippers have met Cape Elizabeth (which moved down from Class A this fall) in the playoffs.

Greely, the No. 2 seed in Western B after a 9-4-1 campaign, hosted No. 7 Leavitt (6-7-2) in the quarterfinals Tuesday. The teams had no history.

If the Rangers prevailed, they would welcome No. 3 Morse (9-3-2) or No. 6 York (5-6-3) in the semifinals Saturday. Greely has no history with the Shipbuilders, either in the regular or postseason. The Rangers beat visiting York, 3-0, and tied the Wildcats on their field, 0-0, in the regular season. The schools have no playoff history.

Looking ahead to next week, the regional finals are Wednesday, on the fields of the higher remaining seeds. The Class A state final is Saturday, Nov. 9 in Bath, while the Class B and C state games are at Hampden Academy.

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