Freeport junior Catriona Gould handles the ball during the Falcons’ 3-2 loss at Yarmouth in Wednesday’s Class B South quarterfinal.
Eric Maxim / Times Record photo.
Freeport’s Tara Migliaccio and Yarmouth’s Adrianna Whitlock battle for possession.
YARMOUTH — After splitting two regular season meetings, both Freeport and Yarmouth knew Wednesday’s Class B South girls’ soccer quarterfinal was going to be a close one.
Freeport took the early lead, but Yarmouth tallied the next three goals, including a pair from Hannah Dwyer, and held on for a 3-2 victory to advance to the semifinals at top-ranked Cape Elizabeth (15-0) Saturday.
“There’s no pressure on us, Yarmouth, winners of the last two State Class B championships,” Clippers coach Chris Coleman said. “We’re not at the top, we’re the four seed, so we can go on the road with no pressure.”
Freeport ended its season at 8-5-2, and coach David Intraversato saw a lot of positives to build on.
“It’s tough for our seniors as they’ve worked so hard,” Intraversato said. “We have 11 juniors on the team and we’ll take some of those good things today and carry it into next year.”
Freeport struck first just over two minutes into the contest. After sophomore Rachel Wall put a shot on Yarmouth’s keeper, Hope Olson, the ball bounced loose in front of the net and Wall blasted it through.
“It was important for us to get a goal early,” Intraversato said. “We’ve been looking for other people to score and it was good to have Rachel step into that.”
Yarmouth (10-5) didn’t panic.
In fact Coleman wasn’t too concerned with the goal.
“It was just one of those goals,” Coleman said. “One thing about going down a goal when we did is there is still a lot left to play.”
Despite controlling much of the field throughout the first half, Yarmouth was unable to get past Falcons goalie Leah Rusiecki. The sophomore keeper turned away multiple shots, including a save on a Yarmouth corner kick by punching the ball out away from the net midway through the half.
But with 16 minutes left, Dwyer powered her way through traffic and slipped one past Rusiecki to tie the score.
Freeport only managed two more shots on goal in the first 40 minutes, with Olson turning both away. Yarmouth continued shooting on Rusiecki, as the netminder had five more saves in the half.
But with under eight minutes remaining, Rusiecki chased down a wide shot away from the net. As she slid to pick up the ball, Dwyer slipped in and swiped the ball away before Rusiecki secured it. As a result, the junior midfielder had an easy open-net goal as she dribbled it over he goal line.
“We know not to panic, it (giving up a goal) happened so early we knew we could just shake it off,” Dwyer said. “We knew this was going to make or break us, everything we’ve worked for has come down to this.”
The score remained 2-1 heading into the halftime break as the Clippers outshot the Falcons, 8-3 while holding the advantage in corner kicks, 3-0.
Freeport had an opportunity deep in Yarmouth territory early in the second half when Carly Intraversato nailed a direct kick towards the net, but the ball sailed over the crossbar, resulting in a goal kick.
Midway through the frame, after Rusiecki made a save on a corner kick, Gabby Thibodeau was there for the rebound and booted it to the back of the net to give the Clippers a two-goal lead.
With about 12 minutes remaining, Freeport inserted another attacker to put pressure on Yarmouth’s defense, but as they had all game long, the Yarmouth backs, most notably, senior Olivia Feeley, kept the ball away from the net.
“Olivia has been strong for us all year,” Coleman said. “She’s a leader back there. She makes the plays.”
Freeport continued pressing.
“Our girls started looking at the clock and saw it winding down and there was a little bit of panic in our ball play,” Coleman said.
With nine minutes on the clock, Freeport threw the ball in near the cage, Wall collided with Olson, but the ball was cleared without a shot. Two minutes later, Wall was knocked down inside the box and Freeport was awarded a penalty kick.
Cat Gould struck it past Olson to cut the Yarmouth lead to 3-2.
That was as close as Freeport would get, as Feeley and company kept the Falcons off the scoreboard in the final six minutes to clinch the victory.
“There was some loose balls down by the goal that could have gone either way, but that’s soccer,” Intraversato said.
Freeport senior Abby King was happy with how her team never gave up and battled until the end.
“A lot of that comes from coach, his spirit and making us work harder has a lot to do with it,” the midfielder said. “He always says ‘play for the seniors, play for each other, play for the team’ and I feel like a lot of us take that to heart.”
Yarmouth lost twice to the Capers this fall, 1-0, in double overtime Sept. 4 on the road and 3-0 at home Sept. 29.
The Clippers are 2-1 against Cape Elizabeth, with a 1-0 win in last year’s regional final the most recent.