Time to think postseason

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(Ed. Note: For the complete Falmouth-Yarmouth and Yarmouth-Cape Elizabeth boys’ soccer, Yarmouth-Cape Elizabeth girls’ soccer and Falmouth-Cape Elizabeth, NYA-Yarmouth and Yarmouth-Sacopee field hockey game stories, see theforecaster.net)

The football season is hitting its stretch run (see story), but the postseason is either near or here in other fall sports.

Golf’s state match will be contested Saturday. Field hockey’s regular season comes to a close next week, with soccer and volleyball ending the next week. The regional cross country championships are drawing near as well.

Here’s a glimpse at what happened last week and what’s to come:

Boys’ soccer

Falmouth’s boys’ soccer team has returned to its spectacular form. Last week, the Yachtsmen solidified themselves as top title contenders, following up a victory at defending Class B champion Greely with a surprisingly easy 5-2 triumph at ancient rival Yarmouth.

After the Clippers scored first, Falmouth drew even when Jonah Spiegel’s shot deflected off a Yarmouth defender into the net. With 10:57 remaining, the Yachtsmen’s stellar striker, Luke Velas, got his chance after a turnover and he wouldn’t be denied to put Falmouth on top to stay.

“We know they’d come out aggressive and if they put a goal in, we’d had to keep working,” Velas said. “We got our confidence back (when Jonah scored) and that allowed us to get a few more.”

Then, with 9:20 to go, after another failed clear, Jake Grade scored to make it 3-1, capping a three-goal surge in slightly less than 15 minutes of play.

Early in the second half, Falmouth freshman Ben Wuesthoff ensured that he is now a household name by producing one of the most amazing goals you’ll ever see at this level, a bicycle kick, to make it 4-1.

“I can’t even remember it that well,” said Wuesthoff, who will have a pretty tough time coming up with an encore for the memorable goal he delivered in just his ninth varsity game. “All I know is that the ball was up in the air. I was facing away from the goal and I saw the ball and I didn’t even think about it. I just went up, kicked it and it went in. I had a sense it was a good shot.”

Velas’ second goal, with 23:16 to play, ended the Yachtsmen’s onslaught and while Yarmouth did score a second goal, two minutes later, that was a mere speed bump as Falmouth put the finishing touches on an emphatic 5-2 triumph.

“This is a serious confidence boost,” Wuesthoff said. “Yarmouth’s a great team. This is amazing to come in here and do so well.”

“We played very well against a very good team,” Yachtsmen coach Dave Halligan said. “We didn’t get a lot of shots, but we were opportunistic on the shots we did have.  These kids have been very focused this year. I think last year was an aberration. These kids have seen Falmouth’s (previous) success and they want to be part of it. They aren’t going to be denied.”

The Yachtsmen have moved into the top spot in the Western Class A Heal Points standings with a 7-0-2 record. They hosted rival Cape Elizabeth Tuesday, go to York Thursday and play host to Freeport Tuesday of next week.

In Western B, Yarmouth was coming off an inspirational 2-1 win at Cape Elizabeth behind goals from Walter Conrad and Patrick Grant.

“The game went by so slowly the last 26 minutes,” Grant said. “It was the slowest 26 minutes I’ve ever played.”

“They give us a good test every time, so I expected it would be a fight,” Conrad said. “I knew we’d have to play hard to win.”

“It was a fabulous game,” added Clippers coach Mike Hagerty. “I thought the kids showed great character. I thought the kids played calm in a hard place to play against a very good team.”

Yarmouth got two goals from Adam LaBrie versus Falmouth, but they were sandwiched around the Yachtsmen’s five goal explosion.

“I thought we’d play better tonight,” Hagerty said. “What’s disappointing is that it should have been closer. I think a more fair result would have been 3-2. I don’t think we played well enough to win by any means and they’re a much better team than they were a year ago. Give Falmouth credit. They did a great job.”

The Clippers (second to Greely in Western B with a 6-2-1 mark) played at York Tuesday, host Kennebunk Saturday and visit Gray-New Gloucester Tuesday of next week.

Greely followed up its home loss to Falmouth with a 1-1 draw at York (Paul Bischoff had the goal). The Rangers (6-1-2) hosted Kennebunk Tuesday, go to Cape Elizabeth Saturday and welcome Lake Region Tuesday of next week.

Freeport is putting it together. Last week, the Falcons got in the win column with a 2-1 triumph at Lake Region, then beat visiting North Yarmouth Academy, 3-0.  Jack Davenport scored twice, while Josh Spaudling also had a goal against the Panthers. Freeport (2-6-1 and 11th in Western B, where 10 teams make the playoffs) was at Poland Wednesday, visits Traip Friday and plays at Falmouth Tuesday.

In Western C, NYA began the week 5-3-1 and eighth after a 5-1 home win over Sacopee Valley and a 3-0 loss at Freeport. In the victory, D.J. Nicholas had three goals, while Jacob Sturgess and Jeremy Thelven also scored. The Panthers go to Lake Region Thursday and host rival Waynflete Saturday.

Girls’ soccer

On the girls’ side, Falmouth has come to life.

Last Tuesday, the Yachtsmen fell behind visiting Greely, 2-0, but rallied for a 3-2 double overtime win. Lucy Mahoney and Emma England scored goals to force OT and Georgia Babikian won it. Thursday, Falmouth rallied to tie visiting Yarmouth, 1-1, on Mahoney’s goal. The Yachtsmen (5-2-2 and second to defending state champion Windham in the Western A Heals) were at Cape Elizabeth Tuesday, host York Friday and play at Freeport Tuesday of next week.

In Western B, Greely’s run at perfection ended with a 3-2 overtime loss at Falmouth. Ellie Schad and Jocelyn Mitiguy had goals. The Rangers then settled for a scoreless tie at York. Greely (7-1-1 and first in the Heals) was home against Kennebunk Tuesday, welcomes Cape Elizabeth Friday and goes to Lake Region Tuesday of next week.

Yarmouth fell at Cape Elizabeth, 1-0, last Tuesday, then played host Falmouth to a 1-1 draw Thursday before finally rediscovering its offense with a 7-0 romp at Wells Saturday to improve to 4-3-2 (sixth in Western B). Against the Capers, Yarmouth was frustrated as its scoreless streak hit 232 minutes.

“I thought we had equal opportunities,” said Clippers coach Rich Smith. “We just missed. I feel like it’s going to happen. A step here or there and we’d have three or four goals. We’ll keep working and fighting. As long as we stay positive, we’ll be fine.”

Katie Clemmer had the goal in the tie against Falmouth. In the win at Wells, Eavan O’Neill had two goals, while Abby Condon, Meredith Lane, Cory Langenbach, Lane Simsarian and Emma Torres also scored. Yarmouth went to York Wednesday, welcomes Kennebunk Saturday and hosts Gray-New Gloucester Tuesday.

Freeport was 2-6-1 and 14th at the start of the week. Only 10 teams qualify for the postseason. Last week, the Falcons settled for a 1-1 tie at Lake Region (Julia Smith had the goal), then won at NYA, 3-0. Freeport was home against Wells Tuesday, welcomes Traip Friday and plays host to Falmouth Tuesday of next week.

In Western C, NYA fell to 1-8-1 and 16th (only 13 teams make the cut) after 3-0 losses at Sacopee Valley and at home to Freeport last week. The Panthers welcome Lake Region Thursday, visit two-time defending Class C champion Waynflete Saturday and go to Old Orchard Beach Wednesday of next week.

Field hockey

The town of Yarmouth was the center of the local field hockey world last week as the Clippers were perfect until they had to make a trip to NYA.

Yarmouth improved to 10-0 last Wednesday by outlasting visiting Sacopee Valley, 1-0, on Abby McDowell’s goal in the second overtime.

“It’s the biggest goal I’ve scored,” McDowell said. “It was so exciting. It was so stressful, but it felt so good to end it. We really wanted it. We knew we could do it. We kept pushing.”

“I think the challenge was good for us,” said Clippers coach Mandy Lewis. “We had to persevere and work through frustration. We know that as the season progresses, each game will get more competitive.”

Friday, Yarmouth made the short trip across Route 1 to NYA and took a quick 1-0 on lead on Kallie Hutchinson’s goal off a penalty corner, but the Panthers, who were coming off a 2-0 win at Old Orchard Beach (Marina Poole scored twice), rallied to tie the score on a Poole goal on a penalty corner just before halftime. After a series of great saves from NYA’s standout goalie Elizabeth Coughlin kept the game tied, it went to overtime where an improbable ending produced a Panthers’ triumph.

NYA got possession and Kiersten Marr fired a long shot which appeared primed to either go wide or go in (and not count since it was outside the circle), but fate was on the Panthers’ side as the ball struck the right post squarely, died in front of the goal and Poole calmly tucked it home for a 2-1 victory.

“It’s a little bit surreal,” said Poole. “I don’t have words to describe it. We really wanted it. We definitely came out to play today.”

“I was watching it and was hoping that Marina was going to hit it in,” Coughlin said. “It was amazing. It was exciting. There’s nothing I wanted more than to beat (Yarmouth).”

“Marina was smart,” added NYA coach Tracy Quimby. “She followed it in and she got it. She’s had several big games in a row. She’s in her element right now. That was fun. That’s the way field hockey’s supposed to be played.”

The Panthers improved to 9-2 with the win and were fourth in the Western Class C Heal Points standings at press time. They went to Waynflete Tuesday, host Sacopee Valley Friday and close at defending Western B champion York Wednesday of next week.

The loss was the Clippers’ first setback in 11 contests.

“It was certainly not the way we expected the game to end, but (NYA) played a good game,” Lewis said. “We started strong. We had some great opportunities and then we had a hard time reacting to the intensity they brought back at us.”

Yarmouth (third behind Oak Hill and Lisbon in Western C) played host to Wells in its home finale Tuesday, goes to Traip Thursday and closes at Freeport Wednesday of next week.

In Western B, Freeport is playoff-bound, but Greely has work to do.

The Falcons fell to 7-4 after a 2-0 loss at Kennebunk last Wednesday. Freeport (eighth in the Heals) was home with Fryeburg Tuesday, visits Greely Thursday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and closes at home versus Yarmouth next Wednesday.

Greely fell to 3-7 and 10th in Western B (only nine teams make the playoffs) after last week’s 3-0 home loss to York. The Rangers hosted Cape Elizabeth Tuesday (see theforecaster.net for game story), welcome Freeport Thursday, play at Falmouth Monday and close at home versus Fryeburg Wednesday of next week.

In Western A, Falmouth began the week fifth in the Heals with a 7-4 mark after last Wednesday’s 2-0 setback at Cape Elizabeth.

“It didn’t go our way tonight and sometimes that happens, but I’m proud of the poise and composure we showed,” Yachtsmen coach Robin Haley said. “It is frustrating. I thought the girls played hard. It was a game we wanted to get back.”

Falmouth hosts Poland Thursday, welcomes Greely Monday and closes at Gray-New Gloucester Wednesday.

Volleyball

Greely’s volleyball team improved to 10-0 and first in the Class A Heals after 3-0 wins last week over visiting Cony (25-21, 25-15, 25-12) and at Cheverus (25-13, 25-15, 25-21). The Rangers hosted Kennebunk Tuesday, have a showdown at rival Falmouth Thursday (see theforecaster.net for game story) and play at South Portland Tuesday of next week.

Falmouth improved to 8-2 after a 3-0 win at Biddeford and a 3-0 (25-14, 26-24, 25-16) home victory over Windham last week. The Yachtsmen (fifth in Class A) went to Thornton Academy Tuesday, host Greely Thursday and play at Gorham Tuesday of next week.

Defending Class B champion Yarmouth continued its surge last week with 3-0 wins over visiting Kennebunk (25-23, 25-20, 25-13), host Washington Academy (25-22, 25-20, 25-17), in a state game rematch, and host Machias (25-14, 25-11, 25-13), making it nine straight match victories. Against the Rams, Heather Clark had 12 kills. Clark had 11 kills and Rachel Chille added 24 digs in the win over Washington Academy. Against Machias, Kenzie Sheehan produced 19 service points and Andrea St. Pierre added seven aces. The Clippers (9-1 and first in the Class B Heals) go to Cony Thursday and host Cheverus Tuesday.

NYA was clinging to the seventh and final Class B spot with a 3-8 mark after a 3-1 win at Jonesport-Beals and 3-0 losses at Washington Academy and Machias last week. The Panthers hosted Cape Elizabeth Tuesday.

Cross country

Forecaster Country cross country teams joined plenty of others in descending upon Belfast Saturday for the Festival of Champions.

In the boys’ race, 65 teams took part with Cumberland, Rhode Island coming in first and Scarborough and Falmouth placing second and third respectively. Merriconeag came in 24th, Yarmouth was 36th and NYA placed 47th.

Individually, the Yachtsmen were led by Bryce Murdick (18th in 16 minutes, 34.12 seconds) and Spencer Brown (19th, 16:34.40). Merriconeag’s top finisher was Nick Neveu (47th, 17:16.52). The Panthers were led by Matt Malcom, who placed 30th in 16:51.77. The Clippers’ fastest runner was Sammy Potter (103rd, 18:01.09).

On the girls’ side, 58 teams took part with Cape Elizabeth winning the race. Yarmouth was a very impressive third. Falmouth finished ninth, Merriconeag was 25th and NYA came in 37th. Grace Cowles led the Clippers with a 22nd-place finish (19:47.73). Anneka Murrin (24th, 19:49.69), Caitlin Teare (27th, 20:02.72) and Abigail Hamilton (29th, 20:04.04) also finished in the top 30. The Panthers were paced by Hannah Austin (33rd, 20:13.82). Mira Wyman (41st, 20:28.81) led the Yachtsmen. Merriconeag’s top finisher was Olivia Skillings (59th, 20:52.89).

This week, Freeport hosts Greely, NYA and Fryeburg, Falmouth joins Lake Region, Wells and York at Traip, Yarmouth joins Kennebunk and Waynflete at Sacopee Valley.

Golf

On the links, state qualifying matches for the Southwestern Maine Activities Association and Western Maine Conference were contested Monday.

In the SMAA, defending Class A champion Falmouth barely qualified, as its score of 329 required a tiebreaker to beat Cheverus. Yachtsmen standouts Craig Smith and Alex Whitmore qualified for the individual championships.

Greely also will take part in the state match. The Rangers will send Aidan Roberts to the individual state match.

In the WMC, NYA was the conference’s Class C qualifier. The Panthers will send Owen McCarthy, Brad Potter and Ben Ambrose to the individual championships. Yarmouth and Freeport failed to qualify in Class B, but the Clippers will send Tyler Hall to the individual match.

The team state matches are Saturday at Natanis Golf Course in Vassalboro. The individual championships are Saturday, Oct. 18 in Vassalboro.

Falmouth finished its regular season 8-2 after an 13-0 win at South Portland and a 11-2 loss at Scarborough.

Greely also finished 8-2 after a 9-4 loss at Gorham and a 9-4 home victory over Bonny Eagle.

Yarmouth closed strong and ended up 5-5 after downing Gray-New Gloucester twice: 4.5-1.5 and 5-2.

North Yarmouth Academy closed with a four-game win streak to go 7-3. The Panthers finished with wins over visiting Freeport (6.5-0.5) and Waynflete (6.5-0.5).

Freeport posted a 1-7 mark after a 6.5-0.5 loss to NYA and a 6-0 setback at York.

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

Sidebar Elements


Falmouth’s Ben Lydick launches a corner kick into the fog during the Yachtsmen’s surprisingly easy 5-2 win at Yarmouth Saturday night.

NYA’s Marina Poole raises her arms in exhilaration after scoring the winning goal in overtime to hand Yarmouth its first loss Friday, 2-1.

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