Soccer and volleyball playoff thrills continue; Football posteason kicks off Friday

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(Ed. Note: For the complete Yarmouth-Falmouth boys’ soccer and Greely-Gorham volleyball game stories, with additional photos, see theforecaster.net)

The soccer and volleyball postseasons have already produced great drama and now, it’s time for football to get in on the fun.

Here’s a glimpse:

Volleyball

Yarmouth’s volleyball team won the 2011 and 2013 Class B championships, but this year’s squad (so far) is something special. The Clippers finished a 13-1 regular season with a 3-0 victory at Windham, which extended their win streak to 13 matches.

“I think the girls are as proud of what they’ve accomplished this year as I am of them,” said Yarmouth coach Jim Senecal. “We’ve been together through summer sessions, preseason and a full regular season and I still can’t wait to come to practice every day. I know most of the kids feel the same way. They absolutely love playing together. I think that’s the thing I’m most proud of. Our goal as coaches every year is win or lose, we try to create a memorable experience for the girls to take with them long after high school is over.

“I thought going in we might struggle early due to having only one senior and four returning players with any varsity experience. I knew we had talent, but I wasn’t sure if we could put it all together. After losing our first match to a great Greely team, we rolled up 39 set wins and lost only two the rest of the season and had seven match victories against Class A opponents.”

As the top seed in the Class B playoffs, Yarmouth earned a bye into Wednesday’s semifinal round where the Clippers hosted No. 4 Woodland (11-4). The teams didn’t play this year and had no prior playoff history (see theforecaster.net for match story).

If Yarmouth prevailed, it would go to Ellsworth Saturday at 2 p.m. for the Class B Final against either Machias (13-2) or Washington Academy (11-4). The Clippers won at both schools by 3-0 scores in the regular season.

Yarmouth beat Machias in the 2011 quarterfinals (3-0) and lost to the Bulldogs in the 2012 quarterfinals (3-1). Last fall, the Clippers rallied to beat Washington Academy in a thrilling state final, 3-2.

“We’re excited about our chances to get another opportunity to play in a state final, but we don’t take anything for granted,” Senecal said. “We know that we’re considered the favorite in Class B and that puts additional pressure on a young team. If our girls can manage that and play their best volleyball the rest of the way, I believe that we have a great chance at another title.”

North Yarmouth Academy finished 3-11 and ninth in Class B, but only seven teams qualified for the playoffs.

In Class A, Greely earned the top seed after a 12-2 campaign, but entered the postseason having lost two of its last three matches. The Rangers welcomed No. 8 Gorham for a quarterfinal round match Saturday night. Greely won the regular season encounter, 3-0, and had won all five prior playoff meetings.

Saturday, the Rangers quickly took care of business, winning in straight sets.

Greely rode the strong passing and serving of Kayley Cimino and solid net play from Lauren Weickert to a 25-17 first set victory.

“I’d say we really brought up the energy this time,” Weickert said. “We had low energy against Falmouth and Greely, but we came ready to win this game. We wanted it more.”

“We’re in the same rotation, we’ve just worked with (setter) Hannah (Butland) setting me a little more and same thing, with me setting her a little more so we can get our right side offense going,” said Cimino.

In the second set, Alex Tebbs put on a serving clinic and Greely rolled, 25-11.

“(Serving’s) a mental thing,” said Tebbs. “You get one in and you keep going. I’ve been working on it practice.”

With the eighth-seeded Rams trying to rally in the third game, the Rangers refused to buckle and went on to a 25-18 victory to take the match, 3-0.

“The girls know what to do,” said longtime Rangers coach Kelvin Hasch. “They know they have to play together and work hard. We had to go do it. It’s a new season. We didn’t mess around. We made very few errors and moved the ball around. The hitting was pretty evenly dispersed. Our serving was a nice to thing to see.”

The Rangers split two straight sets encounters with Cape Elizabeth this fall. The teams had no playoff history.

“We need work on being quick on the court,” Tebbs said. “We can’t let them go on long runs.”

“We don’t feel pressure,” Weickert said. “We have a long history of being the 1 seed. We have to stay strong as a team and be together mentally.”

“We have to work hard and get prepared to do our thing,” Hasch added. “You don’t win championships without beating the best. I’d just assume beat the best to get there and then there’s no discrepancy.”

Falmouth, the defending Class A state champion, was a solid 11-3 in the regular season and earned the No. 3 seed. Saturday, the Yachtsmen hosted No. 6 Biddeford, a team they beat, 3-0, in the regular season and held a 3-2 all-time edge over in the postseason.

This time, Falmouth won in four sets (25-17, 21-25, 25-11, 25-9) to advance. Wednesday, the Yachtsmen made the long trip up the coast to battle second-ranked Mt. Desert Island (14-1). Falmouth didn’t face the Trojans this year. The Yachtsmen beat MDI, 3-0, in the 2010 semifinals.

The Class A state match is Saturday at 1 p.m., at Biddeford High School. If the Yachtsmen and Rangers square off, it would mark the second time the rivals have met in the state finals (Greely won, 3-0, in 2009). Falmouth has no playoff history with Cape Elizabeth.

Boys’ soccer

Four of five Forecaster Country boys’ soccer teams reached the playoffs and at press time, three remained.

NYA capped a 7-5-2 regular season with a 6-2 win at Poland last Tuesday (senior standout D.J. Nicholas had three goals). The Panthers earned the No. 8 seed in Western C and played host to ninth-ranked Sacopee Valley in Friday’s preliminary round. NYA beat the Hawks twice in the regular season (4-0 away and 5-1 at home), but this time, the Panthers couldn’t find the net and a second half goal from Sacopee Valley spelled a 1-0 defeat. NYA finished 7-6-2 and Nicholas ended up with a program-record 93 goals in his stellar career.

Falmouth, Greely and Yarmouth earned byes into Tuesday’s quarterfinals.

The Yachtsmen, despite a 3-0 home loss to Yarmouth in last Tuesday’s regular season finale, earned the No. 2 seed in Western A with an 11-1-2 record.

“I’m pleased with what we’ve accomplished, but I feel we can accomplish a lot more,” longtime Falmouth coach Dave Halligan said. “It will be interesting to see how these guys respond.”

The Yachtsmen hosted seventh-ranked Cheverus (7-4-4) in the quarterfinals. The teams had no history.

“I think we can make a run,” Halligan said. “We’ve played well. Anybody can win.”

If Falmouth was able to advance, it would welcome third-ranked Gorham (11-0-3) or No. 6 South Portland (9-4-2) in Saturday’s semifinals. The Yachtsmen didn’t play either team this fall and have no playoff history with either program.

In Western B, Yarmouth’s win over Falmouth locked up the top seed. Senior standout Adam LaBrie had three goals as the Clippers avenged a 5-2 home loss from earlier in the season.

“We wanted to get one back tonight,” said LaBrie. “We knew what they were going to do. We did a good job defending.”

“This was so much fun,” said senior captain Ben Vigue. “We wanted to go into playoffs strong. We remembered how they beat us last time. It was a great team effort. We moved the ball well and communicated well. It was a great team win tonight.”

“The three-goal differential was certainly unexpected,” said Clippers coach Mike Hagerty. “I thought there would be three goals tonight, but not all three for us. We were confident that if we played our style, it would be better than their style. The first half, our production was excellent. In the second half, we sat back a little bit. When we got back to possessing the ball, we were fine.”

Yarmouth (10-2-2) hosted No. 8 Fryeburg Academy (6-6-3) in Tuesday’s quarterfinals. The teams didn’t play this year, but have met in each of the past three postseasons. Last year, the Clippers won in the quarterfinals, 7-0. Yarmouth also beat the Raiders in the 1986 quarterfinals (3-1), 1998 quarters (8-0), 2008 quarterfinals (5-1) and 2012 quarterfinals (3-1) and were upset by Fryeburg Academy in the 2011 quarterfinals (1-0).

‘We’ve accomplished so much,” LaBrie said. “We just need to play our game, play team soccer, Yarmouth soccer. When we do that, we’re unstoppable. We’re very confident.”

“We’ve come together as a team at the right time,” Vigue said. “We’re looking good. We just have to play hard and play our game. If we focus on what we can do, we should be fine.”

“We’re playing with passion and heart,” Hagerty added. “We like that we’ll be on our turf. We’re playing well.”

If, as expected, Yarmouth advanced, it will host either No. 4 Gray-New Gloucester (7-5-2) or fifth-ranked Lincoln Academy (7-4-3) in Saturday’s semifinals. On Oct. 14, the Clippers erupted for seven second half goals in an 8-1 win at the Patriots. Yarmouth didn’t meet Lincoln Academy this fall.

Yarmouth beat Gray-New Gloucester in the 1977 quarterfinals (3-2, in seven overtimes) and the 1999 quarterfinals (8-2). The Clippers beat Lincoln Academy in the 1973 regional final (4-2), the 1979 semifinals (3-1), the 1990 regional finals (1-0, in overtime), the 1996 quarterfinals (4-1), 1997 semifinals (7-0), the 1998 semifinals (2-1) and the 2007 quarterfinals (2-1 in double overtime) and lost in the 1987 semifinals (4-3) and 1988 regional final (3-2).

Greely, the defending Class B champion, wound up 9-3-2 after closing with a 3-0 home win over York (Paul Bischoff, Hunter Graham and Nick Pronovost all scored) and earned the No. 2 seed for the playoffs. The Rangers hosted No. 7 Wells (7-6-2) in Tuesday’s quarterfinals. The teams didn’t play this fall and had no playoff history.

If Greely moved on, it would likely host No. 3 Cape Elizabeth (8-4-2) in Saturday’s semifinals. During the regular season, the Rangers beat the visiting Capers, 2-1, and lost at Cape Elizabeth, 2-1. The teams have squared off a dozen times in the postseason (all in Class A) in a three decade span from 1978 through 2007 with the Capers taking seven of the games. The most recent encounter resulted in a 3-0 Rangers’ victory in the 2007 quarterfinals as Greely went on to a championship.

Freeport finished 4-9-1 and 11th in Western B, but only 10 teams made the cut. The Falcons closed with a 1-0 home loss to Waynflete last Tuesday.

Looking ahead, the regional finals are Wednesday of next week on the fields of the higher remaining seeds. The state finals are Saturday, Nov. 8, with Class A being contested in Hampden and Class B being held in Portland at Deering High School.

Girls’ soccer

On the girls’ side, Falmouth, Greely and Yarmouth all qualified and all took part in quarterfinals Wednesday.

In Western A, the Yachtsmen earned the seventh seed and hosted No. 10 Cheverus in a preliminary round contest Saturday. The first-ever meeting between the programs resulted in a 1-0 Falmouth victory on Grace Connolly’s second half goal.

The Yachtsmen advanced to visit second-ranked Scarborough (12-1-1) in the quarterfinals. The teams had no history.

If Falmouth was able to spring an upset, it would visit third-ranked Marshwood (11-2-1) or No. 6 Kennebunk (7-4-3) in Saturday’s semifinals. The Yachtsmen didn’t play the Hawks this fall. Falmouth did have two close games with the Rams, tying them in Falmouth, 1-1, then dropping a wild 6-5 double overtime decision at Kennebunk. The Yachtsmen have no playoff history with either school.

In Western B, Greely locked up the top seed after an 11-2-1 campaign, which was capped by a 2-0 home win over York (standout Jocelyn Mitiguy had both goals). Wednesday, the Rangers welcomed No. 9 Fryeburg Academy (6-7-2) in the quarterfinals. Way back on Sept. 5 in the season opener, Greely won at Fryeburg, 4-0. The teams had no playoff history.

If, as expected, the Rangers advanced, they would host No. 4 Lincoln Academy (8-3-3) or fifth-ranked York (7-5-2) in Saturday’s semifinals. Greely doesn’t play Lincoln Academy in the regular season and the teams have no playoff history. In addition to the win over York last week, the Rangers settled for a scoreless tie at the Wildcats Oct. 2. Last fall, Greely beat York, 1-0, in the semifinals in the only prior postseason encounter.

Yarmouth locked up the No. 2 seed at 8-3-3 after a strong finish to its season and hosted No. 10 Gray-New Gloucester (8-6-1) in Wednesday’s quarterfinal round. On Oct. 14, the Clippers beat the visiting Patriots, 3-1. Yarmouth downed Gray-New Gloucester in the 1996 quarterfinals (2-1), the 2003 quarterfinals (4-1) and the 2010 quarterfinals (4-0).

If the Clippers made it to the semifinals for the first time since 2010, they would welcome either third-ranked, defending state champion Cape Elizabeth (9-4-1) or No. 6 Morse (9-3-2) in Saturday’s semifinals. Yarmouth has never faced the Shipbuilders. The Clippers beat the visiting Capers, 2-1, and lost at Cape Elizabeth, 1-0, in the regular season. The teams have no postseason history.

Freeport finished 4-8-2 and 13th in Western B, but only 10 teams qualified for the playoffs.

NYA wound up 1-11-2 and 16th in Western C, but only 13 squads made the cut.

Looking ahead, the regional finals are Wednesday of next week on the fields of the higher remaining seeds. The state finals are Saturday, Nov. 8, with Class A being contested in Hampden and Class B being held in Portland at Deering High School.

Football

Two rivalry games produced lopsided results last weekend and cleared up the playoff picture in the process.

For the second time in three seasons, poor weather forced the Falmouth at Greely “Battle of Route 9” showdown on to the Yachtsmen’s turf and Falmouth, after falling behind early, romped, 42-12, to finish 7-1 and third in Western B, while the Rangers dropped their third in a row, wound up 4-4 and will be the No. 4 seed in the region.

Greely took a 6-0 lead on Sam Peck’s short touchdown run, but a 28-yard TD run from George Gilbert and Connor Aube’s 4-yard scoring run made it 14-0 Yachtsmen after one quarter. A second Aube run, this one of 7-yards, and a Noah Nelson to Matt Edmonds 32-yard TD strike opened the lead to 28-6. Peck caught a touchdown pass from Matt Pisini to pull the Rangers within 28-12 at halftime, but Aube (25 rushes, 130 yards, four TDs) scored on runs of 2- and 4-yards to ice it.

Falmouth will host No. 6 Morse (4-4) Friday evening in the quarterfinals. The Yachtsmen handled the visiting Shipbuilders, 55-14, on Sept. 12. The teams have no playoff history.

Greely will welcome familiar foe Westbrook (3-5), the No. 5 seed, in a quarterfinal Friday. The Rangers beat the visiting Blue Blazes, 31-6, Sept. 26, but lost at home to Westbrook in last year’s quarterfinals, 26-19.

Yarmouth went to Freeport Saturday and won the “Battle of the Bay,” 40-6, to finish 5-3 and end the Falcons’ season at 2-6.

A Jack Snyder touchdown run and a John Thoma to Cody Cook TD pass were sandwiched around an Andrew Beatty field goal for a 17-6 lead after one period. After a scoreless second quarter, the Clippers erupted for 23 points in the third to put it away, as Cook had three touchdown runs and Yarmouth added a safety to account for the final score.

The Clippers earned the No. 5 seed in Western C and will have a showdown at No. 4 Cape Elizabeth (6-2) Friday evening in the quarterfinals. On Oct. 10, host Yarmouth rallied from a 28-6 second half deficit to pull even, but the Capers kicked a field goal at the horn for a 31-28 triumph. Last year, in the quarterfinals, Cape Elizabeth came to Yarmouth and won, 27-14.

“We’re very excited about the opportunity to play Cape again,” said Clippers coach Jason Veilleux. “Obviously we are disappointed with the way our last game ended. I felt we were a different team in the second half and I’m hoping we continue to be that team going into this game.  We just can’t afford to put ourselves into a hole in the first half and then decide we want to win the game at halftime and fight our way back out, but, that is what this team does best, they fight to the very end. I love that about these kids. They never let up. All season long we’ve managed to keep all of our games against the current top three seeds close. That says a lot about what this team is capable of if we decide to play our style of football. I truly hope this is the week we decide to take the next step for our program and win the big game.  Regardless of the outcome, I know our kids will fight to the very end.” 

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

Sidebar Elements


Yarmouth senior standout Adam LaBrie fights his way past Falmouth sophomore Jonah Spiegel during the rivals’ regular season-ending showdown last Tuesday night. LaBrie had all three goals in the Clippers’ rainy 3-0 victory.

Greely junior Alex Tebbs beams after the Rangers win a point during Saturday’s 3-0 win over Gorham in the Western A quarterfinals.

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