Local showdowns highlight opening weekend for northern teams
If you were looking for good rivalry matchups to start the 2010 fall sports season, you didn't have to go far last weekend.
Each local school had at least one showdown with a longtime rival as athletes, coaches and fans emerged from the oppressive heat, dodged a hurricane and set the tone for what figures to be a compelling campaign from start to finish.
Here's a glimpse:
The Yarmouth's boys' soccer team wasn't able to repeat as Class B state champion in 2009, but the Clippers promise to be a force this fall. They had their first test Friday afternoon in a physical affair at a Freeport squad that missed the playoffs (a rarity) in 2009.
Yarmouth pulled out a 3-0 victory. The Clippers went up 1-0 eight minutes in when senior standout Luke Pierce headed home junior Ryan Maguire's cross. Later in the first half, Maguire got on the board with a blast from the top of the 18. With 10 minutes to go in the contest, junior Sam Torres scored unassisted, beating Freeport junior goalkeeper Josh Weirich (nine saves). Yarmouth had a 13-0 edge in shots on frame.
"It's a good start," said Clippers coach Mike Hagerty. "We weren't sure of our bench coming in. I really liked the way our freshmen played. Our backs did a terrific job giving us depth. Their shape all game was terrific. (Freeport) has athletic forwards. Our decision making in the back was great today."
Yarmouth hosted Gray-New Gloucester Wednesday, then has its first of likely three showdowns with rival Falmouth Saturday at 7 p.m., on its home turf.
"I think it's great to play a team like this," said Falcons coach Joe Heathco. "It really lets us know where we're at. I'm pleased. We're moving well. Our touches didn't go where we wanted. Hopefully that gets better. I liked our intensity and composure. Our goalie made some great saves. We held our own."
Freeport sought its first victory Tuesday at Fryeburg. Thursday, the Falcons go to Traip. Saturday, they host a vastly improved Gray-New Gloucester squad.
Falmouth, the defending Class B champion, impressed in its opener, beating visiting Fryeburg, 5-1. Senior Michael Bloom led the way with three goals. Seniors Sam White and Drew Segerstrom also tickled the twine, while Bloom, White and junior Andrew Murry each registered assists.
The Yachtsmen were home with Poland Tuesday, host Lake Region Thursday, then go to Yarmouth Saturday night.
Greely is 1-0 after holding off visiting Gray-New Gloucester, 1-0, in its first test. The contest was scoreless until the 66th minute when senior Sean Ross scored.
The Rangers went for two in a row at Wells Tuesday. They host Poland Thursday and Cape Elizabeth Saturday.
In Western C, North Yarmouth Academy, a regional finalist a year ago, began its 2010 season Wednesday at Cape Elizabeth.
On the girls' side, Yarmouth also opened at Freeport, Saturday morning. Just moments into the contest, Clippers senior Danielle Torres was credited for a goal after a miscue.
After several chances, Yarmouth finally made it 2-0 in the second half when senior Devin Simsarian converted sophomore Olivia Conrad's pass. The Falcons, to their credit, didn't wilt. They pulled within 2-1 on a pretty shot from senior Katee Poulin and pushed hard for the equalizer down the stretch, but a couple bids from junior Jess Hench (including one in the waning seconds) were turned aside by Clippers freshman goalkeeper Olivia Smith and the visitors held on for the 2-1 triumph.
"It's a good start," said longtime Yarmouth coach Rich Smith. "It's nice to have a tall goalie. Olivia made some nice saves. The game changed when (Freeport) scored a goal. We were controlling things and had opportunities to score more, then they got some confidence and we got back on our heels."
The Clippers went to Gray-New Gloucester Wednesday and host Falmouth Saturday.
"We're getting there," said Freeport coach Elayna Zachko. "I was really proud of the girls to have the confidence to play with Yarmouth. Our confidence grew and we competed. I keep telling them that we're a great team and we can compete with other great teams and they're starting to believe it.
"We had chances. If that last shot was an inch or two higher, you never know. I told the girls if we're 2-1 against Yarmouth, I'm going to hold them to a high standard. I hope we can come out with as much intensity against the other teams."
The Falcons hosted Fryeburg Tuesday, play at Traip Thursday and welcome Wells Saturday.
Perennial powerhouse Falmouth is 1-0 after blanking Fryeburg, 7-0, in its first contest. Sophomore Cassie Darrow scored three times, including once on a penalty kick and senior Jessie L'Heureux scored twice. Senior Allie Lycan had three assists.
The Yachtsmen were home with Poland Tuesday, visit Lake Region Thursday and go to Yarmouth Saturday.
North Yarmouth Academy eked out a 2-1 victory at Traip in their opener. The Panthers trailed 1-0 until the 74th minute when senior Lily Wellenbach (from junior Hannah Twombly) tied it up. The Panthers won the game on Jillian Bjorn-Caron's strike (from Wellenbach) four minutes into overtime.
NYA was home against Western A contender Cape Elizabeth Tuesday and visits Old Orchard Beach Saturday.
Greely opened Tuesday at home against Wells. Thursday, the Rangers visit Poland.
North Yarmouth Academy's field hockey team, the reigning Western C champion and 2008 state title winner, was scheduled to open at Sacopee last Wednesday, but excessive heat caused that contest to be postponed. As a result, the Panthers began what they hope is another championship run Friday morning at home against Freeport (which opened with a 4-0 home victory over Traip, behind goals from Jenny Breau, Olivia Bubar, Korissa Lavers and Katie Turner).
NYA excelled from start to finish, taking a 5-1 lead at halftime en route to a 10-1 triumph. Junior Katherine Millett had four goals, while classmate Kylie Dalbec added two goals and five assists. Sophomore Hannah Hearn also had two goals, with a pair of assists. Freeport was paced by 18 saves from senior goalie Emily Daniel.
The Panthers were at Traip Tuesday and visit Poland Saturday.
The Falcons hosted Waynflete Tuesday, welcome Old Orchard Beach Thursday and Sacopee Saturday.
In Western B, Greely opened its season with a thrilling come-from-behind victory at Falmouth on Friday.
The Yachtsmen started two days prior with a 2-1 home loss to Wells. Falmouth trailed 2-0 until the 54th minute when senior Courtney Proctor scored. In the final minute, a Proctor shot off a penalty corner went just wide and the Yachtsmen suffered a 2-1 setback.
Friday's loss was worse as Falmouth took a 1-0 lead on senior Stephanie Gramse's first-half goal, only to see Greely tie the score with 10 minutes to play on junior Emily Curato's tally (assisted by Rachel Hanson). The Rangers won it with 3:49 left in the first overtime, when junior Ceci Hodgkins (from Hanson) beat Yachtsmen senior goalie Kelsey Freedman (who made 10 saves).
Greely looked to go 2-0 Tuesday when it played at Wells. Saturday, the Rangers are home against Fryeburg.
Falmouth hoped to get in the win column Tuesday at Cape Elizabeth. Saturday, the Yachtsmen visit Yarmouth.
Speaking of the Clippers, they're still seeking their first victory since Sept. 17, 2008. Yarmouth opened with a 4-0 setback at Cape Elizabeth, then fell, 1-0, at home to Lake Region. The Clippers were at Gray-New Gloucester Tuesday and host Falmouth Saturday.
It's no secret that many of the best cross-country runners reside in our towns and that was borne out over the first weekend.
Greely's boys, the three-time defending Class B champions, joined Yarmouth, Gray-New Gloucester and Poland at Fryeburg. The Rangers won with 48 points, while the Clippers were a close second with 53. Greely senior Sam Johnston led his team with a third-place finish (17 minutes, 44 seconds). Yarmouth was paced by Senior Ben Nickerson (fourth, 18:08).
In the girls' meet, the Clippers won with 25 points, while the Rangers were second with 56. Greely freshman Kirsten Sandreuter came in second (21 minutes). Yarmouth's Sara Becker was third (22:48).
Falmouth and NYA began their seasons at the same meet, which also included host Cape Elizabeth and Lake Region. On the boys' side, the Yachtsmen won with 32 points and the Panthers came in third behind the Capers with 62 points. Falmouth junior Tim Follo was first individually (16:12). NYA was led by junior Cam Regan (fifth, 17:05).
In the girls' meet, won by the defending state champions from Cape Elizabeth, the Yachtsmen were second and the Panthers third. Falmouth senior Maggie Parrish was runner-up (20:19). Junior Hillary Detert was the top NYA finisher (11th, 21:59).
Freeport opened its season at York, along with Merriconeag and Wells. The Falcons boys were second to York, holding off Merriconeag by two points. Merriconeag's Jack Pierce won the race in 15:52. Freeport's top finisher was senior Griffin Day (fifth, 16:57). The girls' race saw York place first, with Merriconeag second and Freeport third. Zoe Chace, of Merriconeag, came in second (20:05). The Falcons were paced by senior Lauren Easler (sixth, 21:12).
Friday, Greely hosts Cape Elizabeth and York, Yarmouth welcomes NYA, Waynflete, Traip and Wells and Saturday, Falmouth and Gray-New Gloucester run at Freeport.
The golf season is also underway in Forecaster Country. Falmouth downed Greely in the teams' mutual opener, 5.5-1.5. Yarmouth won its initial outing, 6.5-0.5. Freeport lost, 7-0, to Wells its first time out. NYA dropped a close 4-3 decision to Old Orchard Beach.
The big news on the volleyball court came on Opening Night when seven-time defending state champion Greely lost at home to highly touted Biddeford in four sets (29-31, 19-25, 25-20, 23-25). The Rangers looked to get in the win column Tuesday at Yarmouth.
The Clippers won their opener in three close sets over visiting Gorham (25-21, 25-21, 25-23). Sophomore Gina Robertson had 12 service points, including six straight in the deciding game. Senior Abbie Hutchinson had 11 kills, junior Suzanne Driscoll finished with 10 digs and senior Mary Sansone added nine. Senior Emily Clark boasted 10 kills and four blocks.
After facing Greely, Yarmouth goes to Scarborough Saturday to meet the Red Storm and Mt. Desert Island.
Falmouth, a state finalist in 2009, got its new season off to a great start when it rolled, 3-0 (25-18, 25-7, 25-13) at Cony in its first match. Senior Kate Sparks led the way with five aces, seven kills and nine digs. The Yachtsmen went to Scarborough Tuesday and host Biddeford in a showdown Friday.
NYA lost in four games (25-23, 14-25, 20-25, 14-25) at home to Kennebunk in its first match. The Panthers were home with Cony Tuesday and play at Gorham Thursday.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com