Stretch run arrives for Forecaster Country teams

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With October upon us, it won’t be long before local athletes and teams will be taking part in the postseasons of their respective sports. Golf’s team championships are just days away and field hockey’s regular season will be done by this time next week. Here’s a look at where your favorite teams stand as the days grow shorter and the games become more meaningful:

Boys’ soccer

The Falmouth’s boys’ soccer team struggled earlier this autumn, losing back-to-back games at Yarmouth and Cape Elizabeth, but as expected, the Yachtsmen have returned to form.

Falmouth has won four in a row and is now fourth in the Western Class B Heal Points standings. Last week, the Yachtsmen blanked host Freeport (4-0) and visiting Greely (3-0) to improve to 7-2. Against the Falcons, senior standout Sam White had three goals. White and seniors Michael Bloom and Nick Bachman had goals against the Rangers in Falmouth’s first game on its new turf field.

“We’re making progress,” said Yachtsmen coach Dave Halligan. “We’ve tweaked some things and gotten some kids back off of injury. I’d like to be playing a little better, but I’m sure we’ll get there. We just want to get in (the playoffs). We’ll have some good training time at the end.”

Falmouth was at York Tuesday, hosts Cape Elizabeth Thursday, then gets a rematch with Yarmouth at home Tuesday of next week. The Yachtsmen also host York and visit Waynflete before the end of the regular season.

Yarmouth remains unbeaten and is second to Maranacook in the Heals. The Clippers were 1-0 home winners over North Yarmouth Academy and 4-1 victors at York last week. Junior Ryan Maguire had the goal versus the Panthers and senior Cotter Jackson scored twice in the win over the Wildcats, an effort Yarmouth coach Mike Hagerty called his team’s best of the season. The Clippers (8-0-1) hosted Freeport Tuesday and welcome Cape Elizabeth Saturday night. Tuesday, they have a showdown at Falmouth. Home tilts with York and Greely complete the regular season.

Freeport has a lot of work to do in a short time if it hopes to reach the postseason. Last week, the Falcons lost, 3-0, at Greely and 4-0 at home to Falmouth to drop to 2-7-1 and 13th in Western B (only eight teams make the playoffs). Freeport coach Joe Heathco feels his team’s record isn’t indicative of its play.

“We’re playing a lot better than a couple weeks ago,” Heathco said. “We’re figuring out where guys are and feeling comfortable, but we make a lot of mistakes. We need to steal a couple and we might slip in.”

The Falcons were at Yarmouth Tuesday, go to Waynflete Friday, then close with home games versus Cape Elizabeth and NYA.

The Panthers were 3-4 and ninth in Western C (only eight teams make the playoffs) at press time. NYA dropped a pair of 1-0 decisions last week, at Yarmouth and at home versus Waynflete. The Panthers host Fryeburg Thursday, Lake Region Saturday and Sacopee Tuesday. Games at Wells, Traip and Fryeburg complete the schedule.

In Western A, Greely is in a fight for its postseason life. The Rangers (playoff participants every season since 2000) entered the week 5-4 and ninth in the Heals (nine teams qualify). Greely was a 3-0 home winner over Freeport last Tuesday, then lost, 3-0, at Falmouth. In the victory, senior Jon Coyne had two goals and classmate Sean Ross was credited for the third on an own goal. The Rangers were at Cape Elizabeth Tuesday, visit York Thursday, then host the Wildcats next Tuesday. Trips to Waynflete and Yarmouth finish the regular season.

Girls’ soccer

While the Yarmouth girls’ soccer team continues to chug along without a defeat (please see story), the Clippers’ neighbor to the north continues to put together a solid season.

Freeport started the year 5-1-1, but is now 5-4-1 after hard-fought losses to defending Class B champion York (5-0), Greely (4-1) and Yarmouth (2-1). Against the Rangers, a goal from senior Kelly Edwards gave the Falcons the early lead. It was a 1-1 game at half before Greely pulled away. Sophomore Ciera Wentworth’s goal gave Freeport a 1-0 halftime advantage at Yarmouth, but the Clippers answered with two quick goals in the second half. The Falcons had their chances late, but couldn’t manage the equalizer.

“I think the nice thing about the girls this year is that they’ve found a desire to win,” said second-year Freeport coach Elayna Zachko. “We’re not satisfied to just play close against top teams. We want to play hard and win. We had shots at the end.”

The Falcons are currently ninth in the Western B Heals and are in a fierce battle with Mountain Valley for the eighth and final playoff spot. Freeport hosts NYA Thursday and goes to Old Orchard Beach Saturday. The Falcons close the regular season next week with games at Cape Elizabeth and Wells.

“We need wins,” Zachko said. “We deserve to be in the playoffs. It would be sad if we don’t get there.”

Falmouth entered the week 6-3 and sixth in Western B after a pair of losses last week, 1-0, at York and 5-0, at home to Greely (in the team’s first game on its new turf field). The loss to the Rangers was the Yachtsmen’s most lopsided this century. Falmouth had a chance to get back on track Tuesday when it hosted York. Thursday, the Yachtsmen welcome Cape Elizabeth. Falmouth closes the regular season with home tilts versus Yarmouth, Gray-New Gloucester and Waynflete.

In Western A, Greely’s wins over Freeport and Falmouth propelled it to the No. 6 spot in the Heals. Against the Falcons, senior Kelly Burrell tied the game, junior Audrey Parolin put the Rangers ahead to stay and sophomore Sammi Toorish scored twice to account for the 4-1 final. Burrell and Toorish both had two goals against the Yachtsmen, while Parolin added the fifth. Freshman Leah Young had two assists. Junior goalkeeper Lindsey Arsenault stopped five shots.

Greely took a 6-3 mark and a four-game win streak into Tuesday’s home contest against Cape Elizabeth. The Rangers then play York twice in six days, Thursday in York and next Tuesday at home, before closing the regular season with home games against Waynflete and Yarmouth.

In Western C, NYA’s 13-year playoff streak is in jeopardy. The Panthers were 1-5-2 and 12th in the Heals (only the top nine qualify) after a 1-0 home loss to Yarmouth and a 0-0 home tie versus Waynflete last week. Sophomore goalie Savanna Poole made eight saves against the Flyers. NYA was home against Poland Tuesday, visits Freeport Thursday and goes to Sacopee next Tuesday.

Field hockey

NYA’s field hockey team, the two-time defending Western C champion, took an 11-1 record and the No. 3 ranking to Falmouth Tuesday. The Panthers dominated visiting Traip (9-1) and Poland (10-0) in recent games. Junior Katherine Millett had four goals and junior Megan Fortier added a pair against the Rangers. In the win over the Knights, Millett, sophomore Hannah Hearn and senior Frances Leslie all scored twice. NYA closes the regular season Thursday at Waynflete.

Freeport is the hunt for one of the final Western C playoff spots. At press time, the Falcons were 6-5 and seventh (only the top six get in). Freeport lost, 5-4, in overtime, at Waynflete last Wednesday. Junior Mia Thomas had three goals and junior Jenny Breau scored the other. Senior Emily Daniel stopped seven shots. The Falcons were at Old Orchard Beach Tuesday, visit Yarmouth Thursday and close Saturday with a pivotal contest at Sacopee.

In Western B, Greely entered the week 8-4 and second to York in the Heals. The Rangers won, 2-1, at Lake Region last Wednesday, then dropped an agonizing 1-0 (double OT) decision to York Saturday. Junior CeCi Hodgkins had both goals in the victory. Greely hosted Cape Elizabeth Tuesday and welcomes Wells in the finale Thursday.

Falmouth is seventh and clings to the last playoff spot in Western B. The Yachtsmen earned a huge 2-1 win at Wells last Wednesday (senior Courtney Proctor and junior Catherine Hebson had the goals), then lost, 1-0, at Fryeburg Saturday and 3-0 at home to York Monday to fall to 4-8. Falmouth hosted NYA Tuesday and welcomes Cape Elizabeth Friday in the regular season finale. It’s likely the Yachtsmen need to win at least once to make the postseason for the 15th year in succession.

Yarmouth is 0-9-1 and 12th in the region entering the week. The Clippers, who need to make up a rainout at Lake Region, were at York Tuesday, host Freeport Thursday and welcome Gray-New Gloucester Saturday.

Cross-country

Falmouth, NYA and Yarmouth’s cross-country teams took part at the Festival of Champions in Belfast Saturday. The Yachtsmen boys were second to Scarborough. NYA was 12th out of 55 schools, while Yarmouth placed 16th. Individually, the top local finisher was Falmouth junior Tim Follo (fourth on the 5-kilometer course in 16 minutes, 29.51 seconds). The Clippers were led by senior Ben Nickerson (23rd, 17:11.19). The first Panther to finish was junior Cam Regan (28th, 17:17.67).

In the girls’ competition, won by Cheverus, Falmouth was fourth out of 46 teams, Yarmouth came in eighth and NYA was 26th. Individually, Yachtsmen senior Maggie Parrish was 26th (20:54.73), Clippers junior Sarah Becker came in 32nd (21:07.14) and Panthers junior Hillary Detert placed 40th (21:19.88).

Freeport hosted Merriconeag and Poland Friday. The Falcons won the boys’ meet and placed second in the girls’. Merriconeag took the girls’ competition and was second on the boys’ side. Jack Pierce of Merriconeag won the boys’ race with a time of 17:09. Freeport’s Griffin Day was second (17:40). On the girls’ side, Merriconeag’s Zoe Chace was third (22:14), while Freeport’s Lauren Easler came in fifth (22:32).

Greely did not compete last week.

Thursday is the Western Maine Conference championship meet in Falmouth. The boys begin at 3:30 p.m. The girls run at 4 p.m.

Golf

Golf will hold its team state championships Saturday at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro and several local squads hope to be there. The Western Maine Conference qualifying round was supposed to be last Friday, but rain moved it to Wednesday. The individual state matches for boys and girls will be Saturday, Oct. 16, also at Natanis.

Last Thursday was the girls’ qualifier at Willowdale in Scarborough. Nine local girls made the cut, led by Greely’s Laura Grant, who shot a 79. Teammates Megan Bickford (82), Edith Aramando (84), Emma Seymour (91) and Sarah Hansen (95) and Yarmouth’s Monica Austin (81), Jordan Brown (96), Emily Lunt (100) and Grace King (108) also qualified.

Volleyball

Despite having the only perfect record in Class A volleyball, Falmouth has dropped to third in the Heal Points as of Tuesday behind Mt. Desert Island and Biddeford.

The Yachtsmen enjoyed a 3-0 (25-12, 25-18, 25-18) win at Gorham last Thursday, then blanked visiting Kennebunk, 3-0 (25-11, 25-16, 25-9), Monday night to improve to 9-0. Falmouth was at Biddeford in a pivotal match Wednesday, hosts Cony Friday and visits Yarmouth Saturday. Next week brings two showdowns with seven-time defending champion Greely, Tuesday at home and Thursday in Cumberland, which will wrap up the regular season.

The Rangers have been much more mortal this fall and were 7-3 and fourth in Class A at press time after going 1-2 last week. Greely held off host Scarborough, 3-2 (25-12, 25-18, 26-28, 14-25, 15-11), then lost 3-0 (19-25, 23-25, 20-25) at Biddeford and 3-1 at MDI. The Rangers hoped to get back on track Wednesday when they hosted Yarmouth. Greely then has the two showdowns with Falmouth next week.

The Clippers were 5-5 and clinging to sixth place in Class A (only six teams qualify for the playoffs) at press time. They fell, 3-0 (22-25, 15-25, 15-25), at Biddeford last Tuesday (senior Mary Sansone had 20 digs, while seniors Abbie Hutchinson and Emily Clark had eight and nine kills respectively), then bounced back with a 3-0 (25-13, 25-12, 25-9) victory at NYA Thursday (junior Bailey Sheehan had six service points and junior Amelia Gallay added three kills) and a 3-1 (25-12, 19-25, 25-18, 25-22) home win over Cony Monday. Sansone finished with 16 digs, Clark had eight service points and four blocks and Hutchinson had seven kills.

“Cony made it very interesting,” said Yarmouth coach Jim Senecal. “We had a hard time stopping them. We played a really good game one, like we should be playing, but we let them back in game two and gave them confidence. They had momentum and the rest of the games were close. We got it done.”

The Clippers have several opportunities to lock up a playoff spot. After going to Greely Wednesday, they host Falmouth Friday and Scarborough Tuesday. The regular season comes to a close Oct. 15 at Kennebunk.

“We feel like we can play with the best teams in the state,” Senecal said. “We have a real test Wednesday. Greely’s still Greely. It’s a great opportunity for the program. We’re right on the bubble. We need to beat Greely, Falmouth or Scarborough. We can’t lay an egg against Kennebunk either.”

In Class B, NYA was 2-8 and eighth in the Heals after recent losses to Yarmouth (junior Anna Lyden had four aces and classmate Chelsea Muller added three), and Cony (3-1: 21-25, 23-25, 25-20, 14-25). Against the Rams, senior captain Jenny Sharp had eight aces and six kills, sophomore Grace Gilbert finished with eight kills and Lyden added four aces. The Panthers are at Kennebunk Thursday, host Sumner Saturday, visit Cony Tuesday and close at home against Cape Elizabeth Oct. 15.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net

Sidebar Elements


NYA sophomore Molly Strabley controls the ball in front of a Waynflete player during the teams’ 0-0 tie Saturday afternoon.

Merriconeag’s standout runner Jack Pierce runs through the rain en route to a first place finish at Friday’s meet against host Freeport and Poland.

Yarmouth sophomore Red DeSmith launches a shot during last week’s match against Cape Elizabeth. The Clippers beat the Capers, 4.5-2.5.

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