Postseason around the corner for North area golf and field hockey; soccer, cross country showdowns aplenty
While it seems like only yesterday that we were previewing the fall sports season, the fact of the matter is that the playoffs are right around the corner.
The field hockey regular season comes to an end this week and the golf state match is Saturday in Vassalboro. While football, soccer and cross country still have a few weeks remaining, we're closer to the end of the season than the beginning.
With that in mind, several local teams have ample reason for optimism and excitement.
Here's a glimpse at where things stand after Mother Nature finally made her presence felt the first weekend in October.
The next chapter of the Falmouth-Yarmouth boys' soccer saga will be written Thursday night when the undefeated rivals do battle in Falmouth (please see Web site for full game story). They played to a 1-1 draw the first time around, Sept. 17 in Yarmouth.
The defending Class B champion Clippers were 6-0 home winners over York last Wednesday to improve to 7-0-1. Junior Luke Pierce and sophomore Ryan Maguire (who missed the first half of the season with mono) both scored twice and senior assist machine Ebrahim Fazeli set up three goals, giving him 12 assists for the season. Yarmouth (second to Maranacook in the latest Western B Heal Points standings) was supposed to go to Cape Elizabeth Saturday night, but that game was postponed due to bad weather and moved to this coming Saturday (5:30 p.m. start). Prior to their showdown with Falmouth, the Clippers played at Lake Region Tuesday.
The Yachtsmen also ended last week at 7-0-1 after winning 8-0 at Gray-New Gloucester and getting rained out at home versus Greely. Falmouth (third in Western B) was at Cape Elizabeth Tuesday night, hosts Yarmouth Thursday and has a makeup at home with the Rangers Saturday at 7 p.m.
Freeport is 3-2 in its last five games and is now 3-6-1 on the year, good for 11th in the standings. The Falcons were 6-0 home winners over Wells last Wednesday (junior Ryan Farley scored twice in the team's biggest offensive output of the year), then lost 2-0 at home to defending Western C champion Waynflete Saturday. Freeport hosted Gray-New Gloucester Tuesday, then sits idle for a week before welcoming Falmouth on Oct. 13.
In Western A, Greely earned a huge victory last Thursday night when it rallied for a 3-2 win at Cape Elizabeth. Junior John Coyne scored twice in the second half. The Rangers (7-2 and fifth in the Heals) were rained out at Falmouth Saturday. They hosted York Tuesday, play at Gray-New Gloucester Thursday and have a makeup game at Falmouth Saturday night.
In Western C, North Yarmouth Academy is 5-3-1 (eighth in the Heals). The Panthers were home with Traip Tuesday in their first countable contest in eight days. NYA is home with Fryeburg Thursday and goes to Waynflete next Tuesday.
The Falmouth and Greely girls' teams couldn't decide anything in two meetings this fall. After playing to a 1-1 draw in Falmouth on Sept. 8, the fierce rivals took their show to Cumberland Friday night, but neither could find the net in a 0-0 tie.
The defending Class B champion Yachtsmen (who had defeated Gray-New Gloucester 5-0 two days prior behind junior Abby Cavalero's two goals) took a 6-0-3 mark and the No. 2 ranking in the Western B Heals into Tuesday's home game against Cape Elizabeth (see Web site for game story). Thursday, Falmouth is home with Yarmouth. Tuesday of next week, the Yachtsmen welcome Freeport.
As for Greely, it eked out a 3-2, come-from-behind home win over Cape Elizabeth on sophomore Audrey Parolin's decisive second half goal (see Web site for game story) two days before the tie against Falmouth. The Rangers (third in Western A) went to York Tuesday, host Gray-New Gloucester Thursday and are at Cape Elizabeth next Tuesday.
Yarmouth has struggled without injured top offensive weapon senior Lizzie Fischman. The Clippers have dropped to 11th in the Western B Heals with a 4-3-1 mark after falling 5-2 at York last Wednesday. Yarmouth was supposed to play at Cape Elizabeth Saturday, but that game was rained out and rescheduled for this coming Saturday at 7:30 p.m. First, the Clippers hosted Lake Region Tuesday and went to Falmouth Thursday. Tuesday of next week, Yarmouth plays host to York.
Freeport is 1-8-1 and 16th in Western B. The Falcons fell to 2-1 at Wells last Wednesday in their last game. Freeport was at Gray-New Gloucester Tuesday and plays at Falmouth next Tuesday.
In Western C, North Yarmouth Academy earned a huge win Saturday. Coming off a shocking 2-1 loss at Old Orchard Beach three days prior, the Panthers hosted rival and defending Class C champ Waynflete in the rain and quickly delivered payback for a 1-0 double-overtime loss 11 days earlier. NYA took it to the Flyers for 80 minutes, but the result was still in doubt at halftime as the hosts only scored once, on freshman Molly Strabley's goal in the 14th minute. Senior standout Courtney Dumont then took over in the second half, scoring on a penalty kick, then adding two more to lead the Panthers to an emphatic 4-0 triumph.
"We changed our formation today," Dumont said. "We came into today feeling like we had nothing to lose. They'd already beat us once. Last time we were nervous."
"We tried to concentrate on players filling their roles and doing the right things," added NYA's first-year coach Charles Fischman. "It was tough conditions today. The team did a good job adjusting to the conditions and keeping their concentration. I think we've been gradually improving over the course of the season. The game Wednesday was a bit of an anomaly for us. This continues our improvement and building on things we've learned over the course of the season.
"I think Courtney played very well today. She was terrific. It always helps when you have a talented senior play well in a competitive situation. That was a big boost for the team as a whole."
The Panthers improved to 7-2-1 (fourth in the Western C Heals) with the victory. They were at Traip Tuesday and visit Fryeburg Thursday.
The defending Class C state champion NYA field hockey team finally got a bit of a challenge Saturday. The Panthers, who had beaten visiting Freeport 5-0 (sophomore Kate Millett had three goals) and host Waynflete 7-0 (behind four goals from sophomore Kylie Dalbec) earlier in the week, found themselves tied at 1-1 at halftime with visiting Old Orchard Beach. NYA came alive in the second half, however, scoring three times to win 4-1, as Dalbec and senior Lianna Hachborn both had two goals.
"Our kids were slow in the first half to get the ball moving around side to side," said Panthers coach Julia Sterling. "We had a good halftime talk and pulled them together. We scored some quick ones in the second half. I think our defense did well. This was good for us. We're getting better and better."
NYA took a 12-0 mark and the No. 2 spot in the latest Western C Heals into its final two games, at Gray-New Gloucester Wednesday and at Traip Thursday.
"I don't think we can catch Telstar (for the No. 1 seed)," said Sterling. "As long we're 1 or 2, we'll be on turf and that's a great advantage for us."
Freeport followed its loss to NYA (a game which saw senior goalie Hannah Schuchert make over 50 saves) with a 2-1 setback at Old Orchard Beach Thursday (Schuchert made 19 saves and sophomore Katie Turner had the goal) and a 5-1 home loss to Sacopee (freshman Korissa Lavers' goal averted a shutout).
Monday, however, the Falcons improved to 7-4-1 and ended their three-game skid with a 3-1 victory at Gray-New Gloucester. Senior Eliza Price, Turner and sophomore Jenny Breau had the goals. Schuchert made 13 saves. Freeport (fifth in the Western C Heals) was at Traip Wednesday and closes the regular season at home Friday versus Poland.
In Western B, Falmouth enjoyed victories over Lake Region (3-1) and Fryeburg (2-0) last week, but couldn't hold a late lead Monday and suffered a painful 2-1 overtime loss to visiting Wells to fall to 7-3-1. Senior Jacki Aaskov had two goals against the Lakers. Junior Stephanie Gramse scored twice against the Raiders. Junior Courtney Proctor had the goal in the loss to the Warriors. The Yachtsmen (sixth in the Heals) was at York Tuesday and visited Greely Wednesday. They wrap up the regular year Saturday at Cape Elizabeth.
Greely is also in the playoff mix. The Rangers won 3-0 at Fryeburg last Tuesday (behind sophomore CeCi Hodgkins' two tallies). Thursday, Greely hosted defending Class B champ York and forced a halftime tie when junior Jackie Andrews scored on a penalty stroke (after missing one moments earlier). The Wildcats scored with 12:24 to play, however, and handed the Rangers a 2-1 loss.
"We played well," said Greely coach Kristina Prescott. "I'm proud of them. We just lost our fire in the last five minutes, but it was a strong game. We're encouraged we played them close. If we can come this strong against a No. 1 team, we'll get there. It doesn't matter how you get there as long as you get there. We'll try being the underdog this time."
The Rangers bounced back Monday with a 1-0 win at Cape Elizabeth behind sophomore Julia DeWolfe's goal. Greely (7-4 and eighth in the Heals) was at Wells Tuesday, hosted Falmouth Wednesday and closes the regular year Friday at Yarmouth.
The Clippers fell to 0-11 Monday with a 2-0 home loss to York. Last week, Yarmouth was blanked by Cape Elizabeth (1-0) and Lake Region (2-0). Yarmouth (15th in the standings) played at Fryeburg Tuesday and Wells Wednesday before bringing the curtain down on its season Friday at home versus Greely.
The Falmouth and Yarmouth cross country teams competed in the Festival of Champions in Belfast last weekend. The Yachtsmen came in seventh on the boys' side and 11th in the girls' race. The Clippers were 13th in the boys' race. Their girls came in 22nd.
Greely hosted rival Cape Elizabeth, Fryeburg, NYA, Waynflete and York last weekend. The Rangers won the boys' race and came in third in the girls' meet. NYA's boys were fourth. Its girls placed sixth.
Freeport played host to Lake Region, Merriconeag and Poland. The boys were first and the girls finished second.
All five local teams will converge on Falmouth's Community Park Thursday for the Western Maine Conference championship meet. The girls' race starts at 3:30 p.m. The boys begin at 4 p.m.
The first of two qualifying rounds for Western Maine Conference golf teams to secure a date in Saturday's state championships was held last Wednesday (part two was this Wednesday). Falmouth (294) and Yarmouth (307) in Class B and NYA (325) in Class C appeared on track to earn a berth. Freeport didn't compete as a team. Greely (which is in Class A for golf) participated in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference qualifier Tuesday.
The Greely girls qualified all seven players for their championship. Laura Grant led the way with an 81. Kerri Grant (88), Edith Aromando (89), Emma Seymour (90), Meagan Bickford (91), Sara Hanson (98) and Katie Whittum (98) all will take part in the state match.
While Falmouth was beating Greely in a heavyweight bout Monday night (please see story), Yarmouth continues its march to the playoffs.
The Clippers lost 3-0 at Greely last Tuesday (17-25, 20-25, 21-25), but downed visiting NYA 3-0 Thursday (25-20, 25-21, 25-17), then earned a huge dose of confidence Saturday with wins over Class B power Mt. Desert Island and host Cony. Against MDI, which was 9-1 coming in, Yarmouth eked out a 25-20, 21-25, 25-18, 19-25, 15-10 triumph. The Clippers then downed Cony in four games (22-25, 25-16, 25-21, 25-23).
"(Beating MDI) was a real statement for us and it moved us up in the Heal Points to third place behind Falmouth and Greely," said Yarmouth coach Jim Senecal. "We lost the first game against Cony as our emotions and our energy were drained a bit from the MDI match, but we recovered after that and won three close games."
The Clippers (9-3) went to Cape Elizabeth Wednesday and close the regular season at home at Scarborough Friday, Oct. 16.
North Yarmouth Academy has made some big strides as well. After dropping their first nine matches, the Panthers were 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 26-24) home winners over Cony Friday. It was NYA's first win in 29 matches. Senior Thu-Trang Ho had eight aces and five assists. Senior co-captain Hannah Bewsey had six kills and two blocks. Senior co-captain Rachel Clegg finished with seven aces. Junior Jenny Sharp added four kills and five aces. Freshman Grace Gilbert had three kills and two aces and sophomore Elsa Marin added two kills and four aces.
The Panthers moved up to seventh in the Class B Heals with the win (the top five teams make the playoffs). NYA was at Cony Tuesday, hosts Biddeford Thursday and welcomes Gorham next Tuesday.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org