Questions remain as playoffs near

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(Ed. Note: For the complete Yarmouth-Cape Elizabeth football, Falmouth-Greely, Freeport-Greely and Greely-Cape Elizabeth field hockey and Falmouth-Greely volleyball game stories, with photos, see theforecaster.net)

Golf’s state match got the postseason going Saturday (see story). The other fall sports remain compelling as well and with their postseasons looming, there’s a lot of drama to come.

Here’s a glimpse at what’s transpired, what’s to come and what it all means as we hit the middle of October.

Football

Falmouth was the lone local football winner last weekend, rolling at Fryeburg, 41-6. The Yachtsmen scored first when Connor Aube converted a 23-yard run. After a Raiders’ touchdown, Falmouth took a 19-6 lead after one quarter behind a 42-yard run from George Gilbert and a 26-yard Noah Nelson-to-Aube pass. A 30-yard TD pass from Nelson to Austin Wheeler and a two-point conversion rush from Aube made it 27-6 at halftime. A 1-yard touchdown run from Nick Wissemann and a 23-yard Aube scamper accounted for the final score. Aube had 150 yards on 10 carries. Gilbert rushed for 76 yards on five attempts.

Falmouth (now 5-1 and third in the Western Class B Crabtree Points standings) welcomes 1-5 Mt. Ararat in its home finale Friday. Last year, the Yachtsmen beat the Eagles in Topsham, 20-7. Falmouth closes with a trip to Greely Oct. 24.

Speaking of the Rangers, they hung tough Friday, but lost at undefeated York, 31-12, to fall to 4-2 as their four-game win streak was snapped. Greely fell behind 14-0 early, but got back in it when quarterback Matt Pisini hit Alex Kroot for a touchdown pass. The Wildcats added a field goal for a 17-6 halftime lead, then clinched it with two third quarter touchdowns. A long TD run from Andrew Ray accounted for the final score.

Greely (fourth in Western B) goes to defending state champion Cony (4-2) Friday. Last year, the Rangers enjoyed their biggest victory at home over the Rams and their Fitzpatrick Trophy-winning quarterback Ben Lucas, 35-21. Greely finishes the regular season Oct. 24 at home versus Falmouth.

In Western C, Yarmouth almost pulled off a dramatic rally Friday, but lost at home to Cape Elizabeth, 31-28. The Clippers fell behind, 21-0, but Cody Cook had an 81-yard kickoff return for a TD to give his team life. After the Capers went up, 28-6, another long Cook return set up a 1-yard touchdown run from Lucas Uhl. After Cook caught a 20-yard TD pass from quarterback John Thoma (and added the two-point conversion rush), Uhl scored from the 1 and Cook added the two-point conversion to tie the score. Yarmouth even got the ball back and had a chance to win it, but couldn’t and punted to Cape Elizabeth, which moved from its 14 to the Clippers’ 19 in 31 seconds to set up a 36-yard Ben Ekedahl field goal as time expired to break Yarmouth’s heart.

“Losing is never fun,” Cook said. “It’s really tough, especially when we battled back. I’m really proud of how we fought and of our heart.”

“We’ve come out slow all season,” first-year Clippers coach Jason Veilleux lamented. “We don’t play four full quarters. When our kids realize it’s time to play, they respond. When they respond, they’re tough to stop. I’m proud of how they came back. The kids fought hard.”

Yarmouth (3-3 and fifth in Western C) hosts 2-4 Poland Friday in its home finale. Last year, the Clippers won at the Knights, 41-14. They close at Freeport Oct. 25. A playoff rematch at Cape Elizabeth is distinctly possible.

“This loss hurts, but we’re on the right track,” Veilleux said. “We’ll build on this one. I don’t think anyone wants to see us in the playoffs. If we can tidy some stuff up, we’ll be a team to deal with.”

Freeport fell to 1-5 with a 28-14 loss at Lake Region, its fourth in a row. The Falcons (ninth in Western C) are home against 2-4 Mountain Valley Saturday. Last year, Freeport beat the Falcons in Rumford, 20-8. The Falcons finish the regular season at home versus Yarmouth Oct. 25 and will need to win that one to make the playoffs.

Boys’ soccer

Falmouth’s boys’ soccer team stayed undefeated last week by blanking visiting Cape Elizabeth (3-0) and eking out a 2-1 double overtime victory at York. In the shutout, the Yachtsmen got two goals from Matt Polewaczyk and one from Ben Wuesthoff. Luke Velas tied the game against the Wildcats and Jake Grade had the winner. Falmouth (second to Scarborough in the Western A Heal Points standings at press time) was home against Freeport Tuesday, welcomes Kennebunk Thursday and closes with a home showdown versus rival Yarmouth Tuesday of next week.

Speaking of the Clippers, they’ve struggled to score of late. Last week, Yarmouth settled for a 0-0 draw at York, then edged visiting Kennebunk, 1-0, to improve to 7-2-2 and second in Western B. In the win, Nick Kamra had the goal, with Matt Dostie was credited for the assist. Yarmouth was at Gray-New Gloucester Tuesday, has a pivotal showdown at Greely Friday (see theforecaster.net for game story), then closes at Falmouth Tuesday of next week. The top seed in the region is still very much in play for this team.

Top-ranked Greely, the defending Class B champion, enjoyed a 4-1 home win over Kennebunk, then lost, 2-1, at Cape Elizabeth last week to fall to 7-2-2. Hunter Graham had all four goals in the victory. Ben Ingraham scored in the loss. The Rangers were home against Lake Region Tuesday, welcome Yarmouth Friday and close at home versus York Tuesday of next week.

Freeport was 11th in Western B (only 10 teams make the playoffs) at the start of the week after losses at Poland (2-1) and Traip (3-0) last week. Caleb Abbott scored against the Knights. The Falcons (3-7-1) were at Falmouth Tuesday, host Poland Saturday and close at home versus Waynflete Tuesday of next week.

In Western C, North Yarmouth Academy was eighth at 6-3-2 after a 3-2 win at Lake Region and a 2-2 home tie against rival Waynflete. D.J. Nicholas had two goals and Xander Bartone one in the victory. The Panthers host Gray-New Gloucester Thursday, go to Wells Saturday and close at Poland Tuesday.

Girls’ soccer

On the girls’ side, Greely continues to lead the way, improving to 9-1-1 and first in Western B after a 5-0 home win over Kennebunk and a dramatic 2-1 double overtime home victory over defending state champion Cape Elizabeth. In the shutout, Jocelyn Mitiguy scored twice, while Allison Coon, Izzy Hutnak and Caroline Swaney all had one goal. Hutnak had the tying goal and Mitiguy the winner against the Capers. The Rangers were at Lake Region Tuesday, host Yarmouth Friday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and close at home against York Tuesday of next week.

Yarmouth enjoyed a key 2-1 win at York last Tuesday, then let a two-goal lead slip away in a 3-3 home tie versus Kennebunk Saturday. In the victory, Cory Langenbach and Lilly Watson scored. Gretchen Barbera, Katie Clemmer and Eavan O’Neill had the goals against the Rams. The Clippers (5-3-3 and sixth in Western B) were home with Gray-New Gloucester Tuesday, visit Greely Friday and close at home against Falmouth Monday.

Freeport began the week 3-6-2 and 13th in Western B (only 10 teams make the playoffs) after a 1-1 home tie against Wells and a 2-0 home victory over Traip. Becca Cameron scored in the draw, while Julia Smith had both goals against the Rangers. The Falcons were home against Falmouth Tuesday, host Poland Saturday and close at two-time defending Class C champion Waynflete Monday.

In Western A, Falmouth fell to 5-4-2 and fifth after losses at Cape Elizabeth (2-1) and at home to York (4-0). Lucy Mahoney scored against the Capers. After visiting Freeport Tuesday, the Yachtsmen go to Kennebunk Friday and close at Yarmouth Monday.

In Western C, NYA was 1-10-1 and 16th (13 teams make the playoffs) after a 1-0 home loss to Lake Region and a 3-0 loss at Waynflete. The Panthers were at Old Orchard Beach Wednesday and finish the year Tuesday at home versus Poland.

Field hockey

Greely’s field hockey team is making a late push to qualify for the playoffs. Last week, the Rangers tied visiting Cape Elizabeth, 1-1, then earned a key 2-0 home win over Freeport. Against the Capers, Charlotte Benoit scored in the first half, but Greely couldn’t hold on and a breakway bid from Sophie McMonagle at the end of overtime was denied.

“We’re definitely very proud of ourselves,” Benoit said. “We stayed intense and aggressive the whole game. It was one of our best games this season.”

“We were close again,” Rangers coach Becki Belmore said. “The girls played with intensity for a whole game and that was our goal for this game. We didn’t give up. We haven’t given up in any game all season. I’m so proud of them.”

In the victory, which avenged a playoff loss from last autumn, Kayla Barry and Hogan Reed scored, while freshman goalie Lizzie Brown made nine clutch saves.

“It makes me really happy,” Barry said. “I played in the playoff game last year. We were really disappointed after we lost.”

“We have a lot of team spirit,” Reed said. “We stayed intense and went out and did it. I’m really excited. We’re getting some pep.”

“This is a big win,” Brown said. “We knew this was a pivotal game in our season.”

Monday, Greely went to Falmouth, needing a win to secure a postseason bid, but the Rangers were denied, 2-0.

“We let some emotions and frustrations come through, but the girls didn’t give up,” said Belmore. “They believed they were in it until the end. We were a step behind, but we didn’t take quick shots.”

Greely (now 4-8-1 and 10th in the Western Class B Heals, where just nine teams make the playoffs) still has one more chance when it hosts Fryeburg Academy Wednesday.

“We haven’t seen Fryeburg yet., so we don’t have any expectations,” Belmore said. “(A win) could swing it enough. It’s going to go down to the last game. In a way that’s good, because the girls will take it seriously.”

Freeport has struggled to score goals, preceding its 2-0 loss at Greely with a scoreless home tie versus Kennebunk.

“We haven’t scored a goal in three games,” Falcons coach Marcia Wood said. “I have no idea why not.”

Freeport (7-5-1 and eighth in Western B) closed with a home showdown versus Yarmouth Wednesday (see theforecaster.net for game story).

Speaking of the Clippers, they bounced back from their lone loss with wins last week over visiting Wells on Senior Night (5-0) and at Traip (3-0) to improve to 12-1 (third in the Western C Heals). Fiona Clarke, Georgia Giese, Kallie Hutchinson, Abby McDowell and Bre Morrill scored against the Warriors. Hutchinson, Giese and McDowell had the goals against the Rangers. Yarmouth finished its best season this century at Freeport Wednesday.

NYA began the week 10-3 and fourth after winning at Waynflete, 1-0, and losing at home to Sacopee Valley, 1-0, last week. Marina Poole had the goal in the victory, while standout goalie Elizabeth Coughlin played well in both games. The Panthers closed the season at undefeated, defending Western B champion York Wednesday.

In Western A, Falmouth enjoyed a 3-1 home win over Poland last Thursday, then improved to 9-4 and fourth in the Heals with Monday’s 2-0 home victory over Greely. Against the Knights, Sydney Bell, Elle Fitzgerald and Keunjoo Kim had the goals. In the win over the Rangers, Fitzgerald had both goals, giving her 16 of the team’s 24 on the season. Bell had an assist.

“They kept us on our feet,” Bell said. “We knew they’d come in strong because they needed a win, but that made us want to play harder and it pushed us to play how we did.”

“I’m a little sad because this was my last home field hockey game,” Fitzgerald said.

“What I’m happy about is that we were able to maintain our composure,” added Yachtsmen coach Robin Haley. “We knew if we moved the ball well, we’d have success and that’s what happened. We kept the pressure on and stayed in the moment.”

The Yachtsmen closed at Gray-New Gloucester Wednesday.

“We’ll probably play (on the road in the playoffs) on grass,” Fitzgerald said. “We’ve been pretty successful on grass. I think we’ll adjust well. We’ll give it our all. We’re not ready to stop now. We hope to have a nice run.”

The preliminary round of the playoffs will be contested Saturday. The quarterfinals are Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

Volleyball

Falmouth’s defending Class A volleyball state championship team knocked Greely from the unbeaten ranks last week. The Yachtsmen, who lost an earlier 3-0 decision at the Rangers, swept them this time. Falmouth, coming off a 3-0 (25-19, 25-9, 25-17) win at Thornton Academy, came out and erased an early first set deficit against the Rangers and behind the passing of Megan Tammaro and stellar net play from Leigh Bernardy and Ally Hickey and junior Lydia Farmer, enjoyed a 25-17 victory. The Yachtsmen were even better in the second game, never trailing, and cruising to a 25-14 triumph. Greely made things tougher in the third set, but Falmouth got clutch play from Callie McMahon and consecutive kills from Sophie Emple slammed the door on a 25-17 triumph which ended the match.

“We were very confident,” Tammaro said. “We had a feeling at the beginning of the game that it was ours. Beating Greely never gets old. It feels good. Especially with their record.”

“This was really important for us,” said McMahon. “Greely’s been our rival for many years. Winning states last year set up for expectations this year and we’re finally living up to them.”

“We knew coming in that it would be a tough game,” Falmouth coach Gary Powers added. “(Last time) we only lost by a total of eight points and we missed eight serves and had six net violations. We tried to limit them to one serve every time.”

The Yachtsmen (10-2 and second in the Class A Heals) played at Gorham Tuesday and finish the regular season at Scarborough in a state game rematch Thursday.

The Rangers were undefeated going to Falmouth, coming off a 3-0 (25-15, 25-20, 25-22) home win over Kennebunk, but they didn’t have an answer for the Yachtsmen.

“We probably didn’t come to play,” Greely coach Hasch said. “If you can’t pass and hit, it’s easier for them to play defense. When we hit them the ball, we gave it to them in their sweet spot.”

The Rangers (11-1 and first in Class A) looked to get back in the win column Tuesday at South Portland. They close the regular season Thursday at dangerous Cape Elizabeth.

Defending Class B champion Yarmouth continues to roll along en route to the top seed for the playoffs. Last week, the Clippers won in three games at Cony (25-14, 25-14, 25-20) to make it 10 straight match wins and improve to 10-1. Liz Clark had 15 service points and 14 assists. Heather Clark added six kills and Libby King had three aces. Yarmouth (first in Class B) was home against Cheverus Tuesday and hosts NYA Thursday before closing at Windham Monday.

NYA lost in three sets to visiting Cape Elizabeth (16-25, 12-25, 17-25) despite 15 digs fro Marina Stam and 11 digs and eight assists from Anya Siviski. After playing at Yarmouth Thursday, the Panthers (3-9 and ninth in Class B, where just seven teams make the playoffs) finish at South Portland Monday.

Cross country

The cross country regular season came to a close last week.

Freeport played host to Greely, NYA and Fryeburg. In the boys’ race, the Rangers were first, Falcons third and Panthers fourth. Individually, Freeport’s Chandler Vincent placed first in 16 minutes, 57.20 seconds. Greely was paced by Ryan Morrison (fourth, 17:21.88). NYA’s top individual was Henry Quesada (11th, 18:23.87).  The girls’ meet finished in the same order. Individually, the Rangers placed Katherine Leggat-Barr (19:12) and Izzy Evans (19:27.26) first and second, respectively. The Panthers were led by third-place finisher Hannah Austin (20:06.48). The Falcons’ top runner was Lily Johnston (ninth, 21:48).

Falmouth joined Lake Region, Wells and York at Traip. The Yachtsmen won the boys’ race as Bryce Murdick (15:49) and Spencer Brown (16:17) were the top two individuals. Mira Wyman’s first-place showing (19:14) led the girls to the top spot.

Yarmouth (with Kennebunk and Waynflete) ran at Sacopee Valley. The boys were second even though Luke Laverdiere (17:04) and Sammy Potter (18:55) were first and second individually. In the girls’ race, the Clippers were second, as Madeline Christie came in second individually (22:08).

Merriconeag, along with Gray-New Gloucester and Poland, competed at Cape Elizabeth. The boys were second as Tucker Pierce was the individual runner-up (16:25). On the girls’ side, Merriconeag was second as Olivia Skillings (20:06) and Samantha Pierce (20:22) were the top two individuals.

This weekend, local schools compete in the Western Maine Conference championship meet at St. Joseph’s College.

The regionals are Saturday, Oct. 25, at Twin Brook in Cumberland and the state meet is Saturday, Nov. 1 in Belfast.

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

Sidebar Elements


Yarmouth’s Cody Cook breaks free for a kickoff return touchdown during Friday’s down-to-the-wire battle against Cape Elizabeth. Despite Cook’s heroics, the Clippers lost in a playoff rematch, 31-28.

Falmouth senior Elle Fitzgerald tries to get past Greely junior Alyssa Casarez during the Yachtsmen’s 2-0 win Monday night. Fitzgerald scored both goals.

Falmouth senior Sophie Emple soars for a kill during last week’s 3-0 home win over previously undefeated Greely.

Freeport’s Chandler Vincent heads for a first-place finish in last week’s home cross country meet versus Fryeburg, Greely and North Yarmouth Academy. The Falcons were third as a team, as the Rangers placed first.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.