Select few teams still alive in title chase-Northern edition

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Yarmouth’s Ashlyn Feeley connects with the ball during the Clippers’ 2-0 home win over York in the Class B South semifinals Saturday.

Falmouth captains Teagan McMahon, left, Lydia Abbott and Danielle Casavant, along with their coaches, receive the runner-up trophy after losing, 3-0, to Cape Elizabeth in the Class B volleyball state match Saturday.

(Ed. Note: For the complete Falmouth-Deering and Yarmouth-Freeport boys’ soccer, Yarmouth-York girls’ soccer and Falmouth-Cape Elizabeth volleyball game stories, with photos, see theforecaster.net)

There have been some tough losses so far this postseason, but some local teams have enjoyed success as well and are still alive in their quest for championship glory.

Here’s a look at all the playoff excitement:

Volleyball

Falmouth’s volleyball team played for the Class B state title, going through Yarmouth in the semifinals to get there, while defending Class A champion Greely was also ousted in the semifinal round.

The Yachtsmen, ranked third, went to the second-seeded Clippers last Wednesday in what proved to be an epic semifinal. Yarmouth won the first two sets, 25-20 and 25-17, but Falmouth roared back to win the third (25-7) and fourth (25-14) sets to set up a first-team-to-15-points, winner-take-all fifth set. There, the Clippers again took the lead, but again, the Yachtsmen rallied to win, 15-10, to take the match, 3-2.

Yarmouth’s season finished at 14-2

Falmouth then went to top-ranked Cape Elizabeth for the state match Saturday afternoon and again fell behind, 2-0. After the Capers easily took the first set, 25-13, the Yachtsmen had a golden opportunity to even the match in the second set, leading, 18-12, and later having two set points, but Cape Elizabeth eked out a 29-27 win. This time, the Yachtsmen couldn’t produce a dramatic comeback. Falmouth did rally from an 18-9 deficit to get as close as 21-20, but the Capers closed it out, 25-21, to win, 3-0, and end the Yachtsmen’s season at 12-5.

Katie Phillips had 16 service points and 12 assists and Annika Hester added seven kills, but it wasn’t enough.

“The girls stepped it up after the first set,” Falmouth coach Molly Northway said. “That was really frustrating, because we worked on starting strong. The girls believed in themselves, I believed in them and I’m proud of how far they came this season. The girls developed greatly. We learned so much.”

The Yachtsmen lose several key seniors, but will be back in the title hunt in 2018.

“They didn’t have experience, but the seniors were phenomenal, especially our captains” Northway said. “I can’t say enough good things about them. We’re getting closer. All the girls want it. After a taste of it this year, it will only help us next year.”

Greely, the No. 5 seed, was blanked at Cape Elizabeth in its semifinal (21-25, 12-25, 19-25) to finish 8-8.

Boys’ soccer

Yarmouth’s boys’ soccer team, the three-time defending Class B state champion, was the lone local squad still standing at press time.

The Clippers, seeded first in Class B South after a first-ever 14-0 regular season, blanked No. 8 Freeport, 3-0, in a rainy quarterfinal last Wednesday. Yarmouth got first half goals from Jack Jones, Tahj Garvey and Eric LaBrie and never looked back.

“It was a great start to the game in wet conditions,” Jones said. “We knew it was a playoff game and that anything could happen.”

“(Freeport’s) better than their record and they battled,” Clippers coach Mike Hagerty said. “We had some kids with nerves, but most of them played the way they normally play and we took care of the ball, especially early.”

Saturday, in the semifinals against fourth-seeded Lincoln Academy, Yarmouth produced another prolific first half, getting two goals each from LaBrie and Jason Lainey and a rocket of a free kick from Ben Norton for a 5-0 advantage. LaBrie scored twice more in the second half and Anders Coury added a goal for an 8-0 victory which left the Clippers 16-0 on the season.

Yarmouth advanced to host No. 2 York (14-2) in Wednesday’s Class B South Final (see theforecaster.net for game story). The Clippers twice beat the Wildcats this fall: 3-2 in York Sept. 12 and 1-0 at home two weeks later. Yarmouth is 8-5 all-time against the Wildcats in the playoffs with a 2-0 win in the 2012 Western B semifinals the most recent.

If the Clippers reach the Class B Final for the fourth year in a row, they’ll face either Winslow (14-3), Washington Academy (12-2-1) or Hermon (10-5-1) Saturday at 3 p.m. at Deering High School in Portland.

Freeport finished 9-7 after its quarterfinal round loss to Yarmouth.

“It’s a talented group and I’m very proud of them,” Falcons coach Joe Heathco said. “We could have won even more games this year, but we didn’t take advantage of opportunities. We lose five seniors who were terrific players. They all contributed. We’ll miss them, but the core of this team is young and we’ll look to do better next year.”

Greely finished 9-6-1 after a 2-1 loss at Cape Elizabeth in the Class B South quarterfinals last Thursday. The Rangers got a goal from Evan Goettel, but the Capers scored late to avenge last year’s playoff ouster.

Falmouth, the No. 2 seed in Class A South, blanked No. 7 Deering, 2-0, in its rainy quarterfinal last Wednesday. Nate Arrants scored early and added a second half goal as well (Tom Fitzgerald assisted both).

“We knew it was extra-important to get off to a fast start tonight, especially because of the weather conditions,” Arrants said. “The ball will skip in and the goalies don’t have as much control on nights like this. Tom made it easy for me.”

“Crazy things happen in the tournament and you can’t play not to lose,” said Falmouth longtime coach Dave Halligan. “You have to go with your best and play to win. We had some things we worked on that we thought we could do and we were able to do that.”

The Yachtsmen’s season then came to a painful end Saturday night with a 1-0 home loss to No. 3 Gorham. Falmouth finished the year 13-3.

Girls’ soccer

On the girls’ side, defending Class B champion Yarmouth and 2015 champion Greely still entertained Gold Ball dreams at the start of the week.

The top-ranked Clippers, who went undefeated in the regular season, outscoring the opposition, 80-4, have found scoring more challenging in the postseason, but managed to blanked No. 8 Wells, 1-0, in the quarterfinals and fourth-seeded York, 2-0, in the semifinals. Liv Feeley had the goal against the Warriors and after a slow start, Sara D’Appolonia scored her 32nd goal of the year early in the second half against the Wildcats and later, set up Hannah Merrill for the clincher.

“(The first half) was quite frustrating, but we knew what we had to do and we fixed it,” D’Appolonia said. “We found our rhythm.”

“I just spoke (to the girls at halftime) about not playing with fear,” Yarmouth coach Chris Coleman said. “It’s our home turf. We’re the defending champions. I wanted them to go out in the second half and show them and we did. We were excellent.”

The Clippers (16-0) weren’t sure who they were going to host in the Class B South Final Wednesday or Thursday, as No. 3 Greely (12-3) and No. 7 Cape Elizabeth (10-6) weren’t able to play their semifinal until Tuesday.

The Clippers swept the Rangers in the regular season, winning 4-0 in Cumberland and 6-1 at home. The teams split two prior playoff meetings, with Greely taking a 2-1 decision in the 2015 semifinals and Yarmouth prevailing, 3-1, in last year’s regional final.

The Clippers swept the Capers this fall, rolling to a 7-0 home win before holding on for a 1-0 victory at Cape Elizabeth. The teams met twice previously in the playoffs, with the Capers winning, 1-0, in the 2014 semifinals and Yarmouth prevailing, 3-1, in last year’s semifinal round.

“We can’t let the game get in our heads,” Merrill said. “We have to work together, play as a team and put some in the net.”

The Class B South champion will travel to Deering High School in Portland to meet the champion of the North (either 13-3 Presque Isle or 13-3-1 Hermon) Saturday at 5:30 p.m. for the Gold Ball.

Greely ended Freeport’s season in the quarterfinals. The Rangers got goals from Skylar Cooney, Anna DeWolfe, Julia Martel and Brooke Obar to prevail, 4-0, ending the sixth-ranked Falcons’ season at 11-5.

Football

Falmouth and Greely’s football teams both won their quarterfinal round games last weekend, while Yarmouth’s season came to a close.

The Yachtsmen, the No. 3 seed in Class B South, had no trouble with sixth-ranked Westbrook, rolling, 48-8, to improve to 7-2 on the season. A 16-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Coleman Allen put Falmouth ahead to stay. Jack Bryant added a 43-yard TD pass to Riley Reed and ran for a 6-yard score for a 21-0 advantage after one period. Bryant then threw a 40-yard score to Emilio Micucci and a 31-yard TD pass to Brady Douglas for a 35-0 halftime lead. A 72-yard scoring scamper from Garret Aube and a 32-yard TD run by Sam Kidder in the third quarter accounted for the Yachtsmen’s final points. The Blue Blazes scored in the fourth period, but it was far too little, too late.

Falmouth next goes to second-ranked Kennebunk (8-1), the defending regional champion, for a semifinal showdown Friday night. The Yachtsmen lost a shootout, 51-34, at the Rams back on Sept. 15. The teams have no playoff history.

Greely won a quarterfinal for the third year in a row, blanking visiting Biddeford, 7-0, and avenging last year’s playoff ouster in the process. The fourth-ranked Rangers scored just once, on Nick Male’s 10-yard pass to Nolan Anderson in the second period. Greely’s defense did the rest, flummoxing the fifth-ranked Tigers throughout, and the Rangers advanced to meet top-ranked Marshwood (9-0) in the semifinals Friday in South Berwick. Greely lost at home to the Hawks, 47-14, back on Sept. 8. Marshwood took the lone prior playoff meeting, 34-12, in the 2015 Class B South semifinals.

In Class C South, Yarmouth, the No. 8 seed, was ousted by top-ranked Leavitt, 48-7, to finish 2-7. 

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

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