Scorless tie, but Falmouth and Yarmouth will take it
FALMOUTH—Not a goal could be found Tuesday evening, but the Falmouth and Yarmouth girls' soccer teams both managed to come away feeling pretty good about themselves following their final encounter this fall.
The Yachtsmen, coming off consecutive home losses to rivals and playing without several key players and the Clippers, whose improvement hasn't come with the victories they've felt they've earned, both had their chances, but couldn't finish and they wound up splitting valuable Heal Points on Falmouth's turf field.
Yarmouth had more opportunities, including a couple great looks in overtime, but Falmouth, thanks in large part to a strong showing from freshman goalkeeper Adelaide Cooke, in just her second varsity start, kept the Clippers off the scoreboard.
Falmouth is now 7-2-1 on the year, while Yarmouth sits 4-3-3.
"Obviously we wanted a win," said first-year Yachtsmen coach Andrew Pelletier. "I thought we showed a lot of character with how we came out following the two losses. We had a lot of younger girls filling roles for injured seniors. The biggest thing we'll take out of it is the character and bouncing back from two losses."
"The girls played hard again," said longtime Clippers coach Rich Smith. "Falmouth's a little banged up, which is tough. I thought both teams played well. Both teams played hard, as always. I thought we had an edge in good scoring opportunities, but their defense was strong and their goalie was there."
Fit to be tied
Yarmouth has been up and down this fall, but even when they lose, the precocious Clippers impress. Yarmouth opened with a loss at Greely, 3-0, then the Clippers defeated visiting Freeport (1-0), host York (1-0), host Kennebunk (5-0) and visiting Wells (4-0), before settling for a 1-1 tie at Cape Elizabeth. A 3-1 home loss to Falmouth, a scoreless home tie versus York and Saturday's painful 2-1, double overtime home loss to Cape Elizabeth followed.
The Yachtsmen opened with a 4-0 win over Gray-New Gloucester, triumphed at Kennebunk, 3-0, knocked off Cape Elizabeth, 2-0, on the Capers' turf, beat visiting York (4-1), then won at Poland (3-0), Greely (2-1) and Yarmouth (3-1). After falling from the unbeaten ranks last week against visiting Cape Elizabeth, 2-1, Falmouth lost again at home Saturday, 3-0, to Greely.
Entering Tuesday's game, Falmouth had gone 14-3-5 against Yarmouth since 2001. That includes a 3-1 home win last fall and last week's victory at the Clippers.
This time, nothing was decided on the scoreboard, although both teams did some things well and earned confidence in the process.
Just three minutes in, dynamic Yarmouth freshman Katie Clemmer got a decent look, but shot just wide.
In the fifth minute, Clippers junior captain Emma Torres sent a shot on goal which Cooke, who is filling in for senior Maggie Seitz, handled.
Falmouth's first good chance came with 14:31 to play in the first half when a shot from senior Mary Catherine Kowalsky deflected off a defender out of bounds, setting up the first corner kick of the game, which didn't result in a shot.
At the other end, after a nice rush from Yarmouth junior Sarah Myers, the ball sat dangerously free for a moment in front of the Yachtsmen's goal, but sophomore defender Emma England cleared it from harm's way.
With 7:21 remaining before halftime, Cooke got to a through ball just before Clemmer could get her foot on it.
Then, in the final minute, Clemmer sent a shot on goal, but again Cooke stood tall and made the stop.
The Clippers held a 4-2 shots advantage in the first 40 minutes, but Cooke made three saves. Falmouth had the half's lone two corner kicks.
Both teams pushed for that elusive goal in the second half.
Just 2:22 in, Yachtsmen sophomore Tyler Spence raced into the box, but her rush was slowed by Yarmouth senior captain Abby Belisle-Haley.
Five minutes later, Clippers junior goalkeeper Shannon Fallon got to a feed from Falmouth senior Julia Spugnardi, which was intended for Spence.
With 31:34 to go in regulation, Yarmouth sophomore defender Lauren Bartlett, who had a stellar contest, sent a long shot on target, forcing Cooke to make the save.
"Lauren's probably the calmest person in the back," said Belisle-Haley. "She kicks the ball and gets us together. She stepped up. She usually plays outside, but with (junior) Lane (Simsarian) injured, she stepped into the middle and did a great job. It's really fun working with her."
Two minutes later, Clemmer sent a low shot on net, but Cooke managed to hold on with Clippers freshman Eliza Lunt bearing down.
At the other end, a free kick from Falmouth senior Laura Bauer was saved by Fallon.
With 26 minutes to go, Yarmouth sophomore Lilly Watson had a shot on goal deflected by a defender, but Cooke saved it. Cooke then saved a header by Clemmer off a free kick from freshman Abby Condon.
With 22:10 to play, Lunt had a look, but sent her shot wide.
With 13:30 remaining, the Clippers earned their first corner kick, then got a second, then a third, but had nothing to show for it.
With 11:22 showing, Myers sent a low shot on target, which Cooke momentarily bobbled, but ultimately held.
"My hands and feet were cold," Cooke said. "I couldn't stay warm. I just hoped to stay behind the ball and that it wouldn't get behind me."
After a Yarmouth corner was cleared, Falmouth had the final opportunities of regulation, but a beautiful shot from the side by junior Georgia Babikan that appeared ticketed for the goal was tipped away by Fallon, a low shot from junior Emma VanWickler was saved and a VanWickler blast went wide.
In Maine high school girls' soccer, teams play two five-minute, "sudden victory" overtimes and if no one scores, the game goes into the books as a draw.
That's what happened Tuesday, but not without some anxious moments.
Just 36 seconds into the first OT, Clemmer played the ball down the middle, then spotted Torres open to her right. Torres dribbled in and shot, but Cooke made the save.
Two minutes later, a long bid from Torres landed in front of Cooke and she managed to hold on.
Then, as time wound down, Clemmer appeared on the brink of a breakaway, but was tripped up. A foul was called, but before the Clippers could manage a free kick, the clock hit zero.
Yarmouth had another great chance in the second OT, as with 3:12 remaining, Clemmer again set up a teammate to her right, this time Watson and Watson blasted a shot, but it went just right of the goal.
"Something about scoring goals, it all has to line up just right," said Belisle-Haley. "The play from Katie to Emma and the play from Katie to Lilly were my two favorite plays of the game. If they'd been goals, they would have been even better."
Bartlett looked to win it with 2:43 left, but her long shot was saved.
Falmouth then had a great look with 1:34 showing, as Bauer sent a free kick into the box, but it skipped through untouched.
Then, with 48.1 seconds left, a blast from VanWickler forced Fallon to make a sprawling save.
That was that and the game ended, 0-0.
"We'd like to win," Belisle-Haley said. "We're playing consistent, really good soccer, but I don't think the Heal Points reflect that. The Cape loss in double overtime was one of the best games I've ever played in, one of the most fun games I've ever played, but it was a loss, so it didn't reflect in the Heal Points. We're either getting ties or we show everyone who shows up that we're outplaying teams and are giving them games."
Yarmouth finished with a 14-8 shots advantage (11-6 on frame). The Clippers had four corner kicks to two for Falmouth. Fallon stopped six shots.
"We're getting better, but there are things we have to work on," Smith said. "We have to finish. We'll work on that. It was a good team effort. Kids from every class step up and do what needs to be done."
Yarmouth's fabulous freshmen and super sophomores continue to progress and impress.
"I'm actually really happy with how we're playing," said Belisle-Haley. "We're such a young team. I'm beyond proud of all the freshmen who have stepped up. We had Ella Antolini playing in the back for extended amounts of time. She's not used to that. We had Abby Condon covering one of the best forwards in the state. Katie Clemmer created problems for Laura Bauer in the back. Katie was like, 'I don't know what to do. She's getting so mad.' I told her she was doing it right and to keep going. I'm really proud of the freshmen.
"At the start of the year, the question of senior responsibility and leadership was really up in the air because there's only (me and fellow captain, Julia Primeau), but Emma's done a great job as a junior captain. I was apprehensive at first with all the freshmen, but they've all played together since they were kids. It's almost like we're coming into their team. I wouldn't have it any other way. They're such great additions to our team. They've stepped up."
For Falmouth, Cooke turned heads by making 11 saves.
"It was a big game," Cooke said. "It was a great experience. I love playing with the girls. They're all really nice, supportive. Saturday was my first game and I was really nervous, but it gave me some confidence. My defense is solid. I would have faced harder shots if they didn't pick up the (Yarmouth) girls."
"Adelaide was our starter in the preseason because Maggie was out with a leg injury," Pelletier said. "She's had some varsity experience, but this is the first time we've thrown her in there in a regular game. She was a little nervous against Greely, but I could tell how confident she was tonight in warmups."
Yarmouth (fourth in the Western B Heals) has two home games and two road tilts remaining. After hosting Kennebunk Friday, the Clippers welcome Greely Wednesday of next week. Yarmouth then goes to Poland and Gray-New Gloucester to finish.
"I think we'll finish strong," Belisle-Haley said. "We just need to get healthy. We deserve the goals. We have the scorers."
"We've had a really tough part of our schedule," Smith said. "We hope to get healthy and get back at it."
Falmouth, meanwhile, which is still clinging to the top spot in the Western A Heals, is at York Thursday, hosts Kennebunk Wednesday of next week, welcomes Freeport two days later, then closes at defending Class C champion Waynflete Oct. 21.
"I think we're making our way back to where we want to be," Cooke said. "We had a couple tough games, but we'll make our way back."
"We have to get healthy," said Pelletier, who hopes to get both Seitz and senior scorer Megan Miller back soon. "We have four big games coming up. We have to get a little bit more creative. We've thought about the top seed. We've talked about, but when we get to playoffs, we'll be ready to play whoever we have to play. It would be a dream to play on this field, but if we have to travel, we haven't lost on the road yet."
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.
Recent Falmouth-Yarmouth results
@ Yarmouth 0 Falmouth 0 (tie)
@ Falmouth 3 Yarmouth 1
@ Falmouth 2 Yarmouth 0 (Western B quarterfinals)
Falmouth 1 @ Yarmouth 0 (OT)
Yarmouth 1 @ Falmouth 0
@ Falmouth 4 Yarmouth 0 (Western Class B quarterfinals)
Falmouth 2 @ Yarmouth 1 (OT)
@ Falmouth 1 Yarmouth 1 (tie)
@ Yarmouth 1 Falmouth 0
@ Falmouth 2 Yarmouth 0
@ Falmouth 1 Yarmouth 0
Falmouth 3 @ Yarmouth 0
@ Falmouth 2 Yarmouth 2 (tie)
Falmouth 2 @ Yarmouth 0
@ Falmouth 2 Yarmouth 1 (Western Class B Final)
@ Yarmouth 0 Falmouth 0 (tie)
@ Falmouth 1 Yarmouth 0 (2 OT)
@ Falmouth 1 Yarmouth 0 (OT) (Western Class B Final)
@ Falmouth 2 Yarmouth 1
@ Yarmouth 3 Falmouth 0
@ Yarmouth 1 Falmouth 0
@ Yarmouth 2 Falmouth 1 (Western Class B semifinals)
Falmouth 1 @ Yarmouth 0
@ Falmouth 3 Yarmouth 3
@ Falmouth 3 Yarmouth 1 (Western Class B semifinals)
@ Falmouth 2 Yarmouth 0
@ Yarmouth 1 Falmouth 0 (2 OT)