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Playoffs underway, more drama to come

Sports

Playoffs underway, more drama to come

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

The postseason is now in full swing for every sport save football (please see story). Cross country had its conference championship meet Friday (please see story). Golf wrapped up its 2012 campaign with individual championships Saturday. Field hockey's playoffs are underway and soccer and volleyball will commence starting this weekend.

Here's a glimpse:

Golf

Golf's individual championships were held Saturday at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro.

In the girls' final, Yarmouth standout Monica Austin finished one shot shy of the title, as her round of 85 was only bested by Bangor's Alice Hwang (84). Greely's Sarah Hansen tied Westbrook's Paige Fogg for third (86). Yarmouth's Grace King placed fifth with an 87. Yarmouth's Jordan Brown tied Mt. Desert Island's Morgan Kelley for ninth with a 92.

In boys' action, in Class A (won by Gorham's Mike Caron with a 75), Greely's Kyle Bickford tied Scarborough's Kyle Parrott for 10th with an 82. Greely's Kyle Megathlin and Tom Buchholz finished in a four-way tie for fourth, with Bangor's Drew Powell and Gorham's Spencer LaPierre, with a round of 83. Falmouth's Joe Lesniak tied Gorham's Andrew Scontras, Lewiston's Cameron Marquis, Oceanside's Nick Mazuerk and Thornton Academy's Brett Baasch for 17th with an 88. Greely's Tucker Hawkinson and Bailey Train tied Lawrence's Tyler Boudreau for 30th with a 94.

In Class B, Yarmouth's Red DeSmith shot a 77 and tied Maranacook's Luke Ruffin for second behind champion Reese McFarlane of Cape Elizabeth (74). Yarmouth's Cal Cooper tied Wells' Nick Audet for ninth with an 82. Freeport's Nick Cartmell tied Hermon's Tyler Thayer and York's Luke Claflin for 13th with a round of 86. Yarmouth's Nick Lainey shot an 88 and tied Camden Hills' Julian Starbird and Lake Region's Adam Falk for 19th.

In Class C, North Yarmouth Academy's Brad Potter was 27th (95) and teammate Ryan Walters placed 28th (96).

Field hockey

Four of five Forecaster Country field hockey teams qualified for the postseason and all four were still alive at press time.

In Western B, Falmouth finished the regular season 8-4-2 with a 4-0 home win over Wells last Wednesday, as Elle Fitzgerald, Mikey Richards, Jillian Rothweiler and Leika Scott had goals.

"Our goal was to qualify for playoffs," said Falmouth coach Robin Haley. "I'm happy about that. Overall, I'm very pleased with the season. Early on, we had to fill some big shoes. There were some games I would have liked to see go the other way, but we continued to improve and we were competitive."

The Yachtsmen finished sixth in the Heal Points standings and hosted No. 11 Poland in the preliminary round Saturday. The teams didn't play in the regular season and had no postseason history. Falmouth shot to a 2-0 lead at halftime and went on to a 5-0 triumph behind two goals from Richards and one each from Rothweiler, Sarah Sparks and Ruth Shaw. Fitzgerald and Hayley Winslow had assists.

"The girls started out a little nervous since it was a playoff game, however, they were able to move the ball around and keep it in the offensive end for the majority of the time," said Haley. "Both Sarah Sparks and Katie Cooleen had a great defensive game."

The Yachtsmen advanced to play at No. 3 Leavitt (11-3) in the semifinals Tuesday. The teams don't play in the regular season. The lone prior playoff meeting resulted in a 2-0 Falmouth win in the 2009 quarterfinals.

"We saw Leavitt during preseason, however, they were missing many of their starters," Haley said. "Leavitt is fast, strong and highly skilled. We anticipate a very competitive game. Hopefully, we will make a smooth transition from turf to the grass. This season has really been about the team who makes the least amount of mistakes. Most of our games, along with Leavitt's, have been decided by one goal."

If Falmouth sprung the upset, it would go to No. 2 Fryeburg (12-2) or host No. 7 Cape Elizabeth (9-6) in the semifinals Saturday. During the regular season, the Yachtsmen lost twice to Fryeburg, 2-1 at home and 3-1 away, and swept the Capers, 3-0 away and 2-0 at home.

Yarmouth finished the regular year 7-6-1 after a 2-1 loss at Cape Elizabeth last Wednesday. Kallie Hutchinson had the goal in that one. The Clippers earned the No. 9 seed and had to travel to No. 8 Mountain Valley in Saturday's preliminary round. The teams don't play in the regular season. The lone prior playoff meetings came in the 2000 second round (a 2-0 Yarmouth triumph), the 2001 preliminary round (a 3-1 Clippers' victory) and the 2002 preliminary round (a 2-1 Yarmouth win in overtime).

Saturday, Yarmouth fell behind early, 1-0, but drew even on Emma Peterson's goal (assisted by Carlene Shaw). Peterson scored again after halftime (from Hutchinson) to give the Clippers a 2-1 lead, but the Falcons tied the score and forced overtime where Hutchinson played the hero, scoring on a penalty corner to give Yarmouth a stirring 3-2 triumph, its first in the postseason since 2004.

"The girls played great on Saturday," said Clippers coach Mandy Lewis. "They came out with intensity and set the tone early. We ended the first half with even more effort and intensity than we came out with at the start of the game. We created more offensive opportunities than we have seen yet in a competitive game this season. At the end of regulation, the girls were ready to take them on 7 vs. 7.  It didn't take long for us to force an offensive corner and put one in the net for sudden victory. As a coach, you always hope your team will peak at the right time, and it definitely feels like that is happening for us."

Yarmouth's reward for the victory was a trip to No. 1 Lake Region (13-1) in the quarterfinals Wednesday. The Clippers lost at home to the Lakers, 4-1, and also fell in Naples Sept. 27, 2-0. Last fall, Lake Region ousted Yarmouth in the preliminary round, 4-0. The teams also met in the 1999 semifinals (a 2-1 Clippers' triumph) and the 2003 preliminary round (a 3-1 Lake Region win).

"We are in great shape to face Lake Region," Lewis said. "We lost during our season opener, but were tied at the half. We lost when we traveled to Lake Region a few weeks ago, an improvement from the opening loss, but were down a few key players. Now in postseason play, everyone is healthy and we are putting all of the pieces together for a major upset. The girls are so excited."

If Yarmouth was able to shock the world, it would go to either No. 4 York (10-3-1) or No. 5 Spruce Mountain (11-2-1) in the semifinals Saturday. The Clippers don't play the Phoenix in the regular season. They did fall at York in the lone regular season meeting, 4-0.

Greely wound up 2-10-2 and finished 12th in Western B, but only 11 teams made the postseason.

In Western C, two-time defending state champion NYA ended another stellar season 12-2 with a 1-0 win at Sacopee Wednesday.

"With a 12-2 record and losses only to two excellent Class B teams, York and Falmouth, we are very happy with the team’s regular season play," said Panthers coach Tracy Quimby. "This year’s defense, with a year of experience behind them, has been solid. Also as anticipated, our midfielders have stepped up the game’s offense. Eight players have scored and five forwards share the majority of goals and assists."

The Panthers earned the No. 2 seed in the Heals behind Lisbon and hosted No. 7 Sacopee (2-11-1) in the quarterfinals Tuesday. In addition to the season finale, NYA handled the Hawks at home, 4-0, on Sept. 18. In previous playoff meetings, Sacopee triumphed, 1-0, in overtime, in the 1997 quarterfinals, 2-1, in the 1999 quarterfinals, 2-0 in the 2000 quarterfinals and 2-1 in the 2006 quarterfinals. The Panthers beat the Hawks, 4-0, in the 2007 quarterfinals and 2-1 in last year's regional final.

"Going into the playoffs in second place has been good to us," said Quimby, alluding to last year's title run. "And, we have already played five of the seven teams in the playoffs twice each. We know our competition. They have challenged us and we look forward to our next game. Nothing is a given. Nothing will be handed to us. This team knows that they will have to work hard for every win they earn. They have the talent and the determination. It is up to them. "

A quarterfinal win would allow the Panthers to either host No. 3 Waynflete (8-4-2) or No. 6 Dirigo (5-8-1) in the semifinals Saturday. NYA didn't play Dirigo this year. The Panthers swept the Flyers, 4-0 away and 5-0 at home. NYA also beat Waynflete in the 2010 quarterfinals, 10-0.

Freeport finished the regular season 5-8-1 with a 3-2 loss to visiting Traip last Wednesday. The Falcons got goals from Sydney Ambrose and Emily Sturtevant. Tallie Martin made six saves. Freeport earned the No. 5 seed in Western C and the Rangers wound up fourth, sending the Falcons to Traip for a quarterfinal round game Wednesday. Freeport lost, 1-0, at the Rangers Sept. 18. In last year's quarterfinals, Traip beat the host Falcons, 4-1. The teams also met in the 1991 quarterfinals (a 2-0 Freeport victory ) and the 1992 quarterfinals (a 1-0 Traip win).

If the Falcons survived the quarterfinals, they'd go to top-ranked Lisbon (13-0-1) or host No. 8 Old Orchard Beach (3-11) Saturday in the semifinals. Freeport doesn't face the Greyhounds in the regular season. The Falcons beat the visiting Seagulls, 5-0, and lost at Old Orchard Beach, 2-1, in overtime, in the regular year.

Looking ahead, the regional finals are Tuesday at Scarborough High School. The state finals are Saturday, Oct. 27, at the University of Maine in Orono.

Boys' soccer

The boys' soccer regular season came to a close Tuesday night and while final playoff positioning was yet to be determined, all five local teams had hopes of earning a postseason spot.

In Western A, Greely closed with a flourish, winning games at defending Class C champion Waynflete (4-1), longtime nemesis Yarmouth (2-0) and reigning Class B champion Falmouth (1-0) to wind up 10-4.

Against the Flyers, Greely got a goal from Ben Ingraham just 95 seconds in, then got a pair of tallies from Jacob Nason and a late score from Matt Crowley in the second half.

"I feel like we moved the ball more today," Crowley said. "We weren't selfish and we played smart."

"It was workmanlike," said Greely coach Mike Andreasen. "We needed this to help distance ourselves a little bit. That's what we did. The score looks like we won comfortably, but we didn't."

At Yarmouth, the Rangers snapped a five-year, nine-game losing streak to the Clippers. After a scoreless first half, Greely got the only goal it would need just 74 seconds into the second half, thanks to a great individual effort from Mitchel Donovan. With 27:16 to go, Nason finished a feed from junior Crowley and goalkeeper Elijah Leverett and the Greely defense did the rest, slamming the door on a 2-0 win.

It feels so good," said Leverett, who had previously lost to Yarmouth as the starting goalie as a sophomore, junior and senior. "We knew they'd come out as hard as we do, so that meant we had to go that much harder. We knew we could win it."

"It's big for us going into the playoffs," said Donovan. "It made us feel like we can go in strong and win some games. It's been a long time. It's great to get a win over them at their own house."

At the Yachtsmen, after an even first half with good, yet futile opportunities on both sides, Falmouth controlled play in the second half, but couldn't break through. Then, with 8:42 to play, Greely got a rare chance and Nason delivered.

"It feels great," Nason said. "We really brought it. I knew we could do it. In practice, we started to peak this past week. It's paid off."

"We got back on the map last year," said Andreasen . "This year, we wanted to go a step further and make a dent. We've made strides. I didn't think we'd get to 10-4 when we were 7-4, but the kids persevered and were mentally tough."

The Rangers will likely be the No. 3 seed and will have a bye into the quarterfinals. They next take the field Wednesday of next week.

"I think we have a good run in us," said Nason. "We'll have a good week of practice. I think we're in good shape."

In Western B, Yarmouth will either finish first or second, depending on how Maraancook did in its finale, at Winslow, Tuesday. The Clippers finished 10-1-3 after sandwiching wins at Fryeburg (2-1, in overtime) and at home over York (2-1) around the 2-0 home loss to Greely.

Against the Raiders, David Clemmer (from Wyatt Jackson) had the lone goal. In the loss, goalkeeper Andrew Fochler made three saves. Against the Wildcats, the Clippers rallied from down 1-0 in the second half, tying the score on David Murphy's tally with 21 minutes left. Eleven minutes later, a Murphy corner kick was headed home by Max Watson for the winner.

Yarmouth didn't finish undefeated, but considering all the holes the Clippers had to fill and all the young players who see huge chunks of playing time, the regular season was excellent.

"We never mentioned the fact we hadn't lost this year," said Yarmouth coach Mike Hagerty. "With our schedule, we don't expect to go undefeated. It's really hard to do that. Our goal seems silly, but we always worry about the next game."

Falmouth entered its regular season finale versus visiting York third in Western B with an 8-3-2 record. The Yachtsmen sandwiched 1-0 losses at Cape Elizabeth and at home to Greely around a 3-0 home victory over Poland last week. J.P. White had two goals and Cooper Lycan one in the win. Against the Rangers, Falmouth had great chances, but couldn't finish.

"You don't get points for possession," said Yachtsmen coach Dave Halligan. "You have to put the ball in the net. I'm not upset at my players. I wish I could be upset with something we didn't do, but we just didn't put the ball in the net. If we hadn't created opportunities, I'd be more concerned."

Falmouth will likely either be third or fourth for the playoffs.

"We don't worry about the (Heal Points)," Halligan said. "We just worry about what we can take care of. We had a tough ending stretch with Cape, Yarmouth, York and Greely. I think we're making progress."

The Clippers and Yachtsmen will open the playoffs Wednesday of next week in the quarterfinals.

Freeport still had hope entering its finale, versus visiting Gray-New Gloucester, Tuesday. The Falcons fell to 2-9-2 with losses last week to visiting York (3-0) and at Fryeburg (4-2). Connor Dietrich and Jack Davenport had the goals against the Raiders. Freeport was 12th in Western B entering the finale, but would make the cut and earn a road preliminary round test Saturday with a win over the Patriots.

In Western C, NYA closed with a 3-1 loss (D.J. Nicholas had the goal) at Gray-New Gloucester last Tuesday to finish 8-5-1 and seventh in the Heals. The Panthers will likely have a quarterfinal round test at old rival St. Dom's Wednesday of next week.

Girls' soccer

On the girls' side, Greely went 3-0-1 down the stretch to wind up 9-3-2. The Rangers blanked visiting Waynflete, 3-0, rallied for a 2-1 triumph at Yarmouth, settled for a 1-1 draw at Falmouth, then closed with a 10-0 romp at Lake Region.

Against the Flyers, Izzy Hutnak scored twice and Julia Mitiguy had one goal. Mitiguy and Gabby Morris had assists. In the win over the Clippers, Hutnak and Mitiguy both scored in the second half. Mitiguy and Young had assists.

"We definitely picked it up, came out and set the tone," said Mitiguy. "We were first to the ball and set the pace. We didn't come out ready to play. They set the tone in the first half, but we turned that around and had more intensity in the second half. It's important to score early in the second half."

"(The girls) did a good job keeping their composure," said Greely coach Michael Kennedy. "Second half, we played our line higher and played better. There's still a ways to go. It's a younger team. We're still getting it."

In the draw, Kristina Volta scored. Goalkeeper Caton Beaulieu preserved the tie with 12 saves.

"We wanted to win," said Kennedy. "I think (Falmouth) played for the tie. We played well and outpassed them. We really moved the ball we wanted. They packed it in a little bit."

In the finale, Hutnak, Mitiguy and Morrill all had two goals.

"We'll be 5 or 6 (in the Heals), which gets us a home prelim (Friday)," Kennedy. "We're playing the way I want. We're unbeaten in our last eight games and only gave up two goals."

In Western B, Falmouth entered its finale at York Tuesday hopeful of ending its late season struggles and leapfrogging Morse for the top spot in the standings. Last week, the Yachtsmen fell at home to Cape Elizabeth (3-1), at Poland (1-0) and played visiting Greely to a 1-1 tie.

Tyler Spence had the lone goal in the loss to the Capers.

"I welcome adversity," said Falmouth coach Wally LeBlanc. "I really do. Games like tonight are what help us grow and hopefully strengthen us down the road. When you cruise through the season and everything goes right, you just think it will. Let's face it. In the playoffs, anything can happen."

Against the Rangers, Julia Spugnardi scored.

"We knew the last four games of the season would be difficult," said LeBlanc. "I like the way the girls worked as a team for each other today. We'll try to figure out how to finish strong going into the playoffs."

Falmouth will open its title defense Tuesday in the quarterfinals.

Yarmouth and Freeport appear prelim-bound, as the Clippers were seventh and the Falcons eighth in the Western B Heals at press time.

Yarmouth sandwiched home wins over Fryeburg (1-0) and York (2-0) around a 2-1 home loss to Greely last week to finish 4-6-4. Against the Raiders, Tess Merrill had the goal. In the loss, Merrill scored again, but the Clippers couldn't hold a 1-0 halftime lead.

"The second half, (Greely) put more numbers up and we didn't mark them like we needed to," Yarmouth coach Rich Smith said. "They're definitely a good team and they stepped up. We didn't match them. I feel like we're close. We're as good as anybody. When the girls put their minds to it, they can do it. We've played good teams tough."

Against the Wildcats, Merrill and Eavan O'Neill had the goals.

Freeport lost, 1-0, at York last Tuesday, but beat visiting Poland, 1-0, in the finale Saturday to wind up 6-7-1. Ashley Richardson had the goal in the victory.

In Western C, NYA finished 3-11 and 12th in the Heals, but only the top 11 teams qualified for the playoffs. After falling at Traip (4-0) and Wells (2-1, in double overtime), the Panthers closed with a 3-0 home win over Buckfield.

Volleyball

Reigning Class A volleyball state champion Greely finished the regular season on an eight-game win streak, closing with victories at Cape Elizabeth (3-0), Falmouth (3-2) and at home over Cheverus (3-0). The Rangers (12-2) will be the No. 2 seed for the playoffs and will likely host No. 7 Falmouth Saturday.

The Yachtsmen finished 9-5 after Friday's 3-2 home loss to Greely.

Defending Class B champion Yarmouth closed the regular season with a 3-0 win over NYA to wind up 10-4 and fourth in the standings. Grace Mallett had 13 service points and seven aces in the finale. Kate Myers finished with eight service points and six kills. The Clippers will likely host Machias in the quarterfinals Saturday.

NYA finished 1-12 and ninth in Class B (where the top seven teams qualify). Last weekend, the Panthers lost to Narraguagus (3-2), Jonesport-Beals (3-0) and Machias (3-1) and defeated Sumner (3-1).

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

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