Yarmouth girls sweep Falmouth for first time

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Yarmouth senior Katie Clemmer is congratulated by classmates Gretchen Barbera and Cory Langenbach (15) after scoring the first goal of Saturday’s 4-0 win over Falmouth. 

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

YARMOUTH—Falmouth’s girls’ soccer team has been a thorn in the Yarmouth Clippers’ side for a quarter century and while the Clippers have enjoyed occasional success against the Yachtsmen, they had never beaten them twice in a regular season.

Until now.

Saturday afternoon, host Yarmouth dispatched its ancient rival and nemesis for the second time in 10 days, thanks to another impressive offensive attack.

It took less than four minutes for the Clippers to strike, as senior Katie Clemmer did the honors.

Yarmouth controlled play most of the first half and didn’t have another goal to show for it, but the Clippers quickly put the win on ice in the second half.

Just 22 seconds in, junior Ellie Purgavie set up junior Sara D’Appolonia for a 2-0 lead and four minutes later, Clemmer struck again with a perfectly placed shot for a commanding 3-0 advantage.

A goal from sophomore Isabel Brennan with just over 22 minutes remaining helped Yarmouth pull away and the Clippers went on to a 4-0 victory.

Yarmouth improved to 7-0-1 and dropped Falmouth to 3-4 in the process.

“We’ve played these crazy schedules so both teams were tired,” said Clippers first-year coach Josh Thornton. “We spoke at halftime about the importance of picking up the tempo and we came out and put it to bed early.”

Quick turnaround

In the previous meeting at Falmouth, the teams were even for a half, but Yarmouth had too much Clemmer and D’Appolonia and rode three unanswered second half goals to a 4-1 victory. That was just a part of the Clippers’ impressive start.

Yarmouth bid farewell in the offseason to the only coach it had ever known, Rich Smith, and welcomed Thornton this fall and opened with a 5-1 win at Cape Elizabeth, then, after a 1-1 home draw against York, the Clippers blanked host Lake Region, 4-0, pulled away to win at Falmouth, 4-1, then downed visiting Gray-New Gloucester (4-1) and Cape Elizabeth (3-0). 

Falmouth’s season began with a 3-2 overtime home loss to defending Class B champion Greely. After a 3-1 home victory over Cape Elizabeth, the Yachtsmen lost at home to York, 2-0, and to Yarmouth, 4-1. Falmouth then produced a pair of key road victories over St. Dom’s, 4-0, and Greely, 1-0.

Yarmouth’s victory last week cut Falmouth’s advantage in the series to 15-5 (with eight ties) since the start of the 2001 season (see sidebar, below).

Saturday, the Clippers continued their strong early play and managed to sweep the Yachtsmen for the first time (Yarmouth won two meetings in 2003, but the second was in the playoffs).

Just 27 seconds in, the Clippers had a chance to get the jump, but on a cross from senior Gretchen Barbera, sophomore Olivia Feeley’s shot sailed high.

The next opportunity produced a goal, as Clemmer won the ball in the box and beat Falmouth senior goalkeeper Adelaide Cooke for a 1-0 lead.

“We just needed an early push,” Clemmer said. “We’ve talked about how we need to start strong.”

“I haven’t seen many kids who have an instinct for the goal like (Katie), who can score with both feet,” Thornton said. “I hope she plays in college. She’s scores more than she misses and she’s a fantastic asset.” 

D’Appolonia twice had looks on corner kicks to double Yarmouth’s lead, but her first shot was saved by Cooke (with Clemmer sending the rebound wide) and the second was also denied by the goalie.

After Feeley had a shot saved, senior Cory Langenbach couldn’t get a shot off on a corner kick from D’Appolonia.

The Yachtsmen’s first chance came in the 27th minute, but a shot from the side by sophomore Madison Wolf was denied by Clippers junior goalkeeper Meredith Lane. 

Yarmouth then went back on the attack, only to be frustrated, as D’Appolnia missed just high, Barbera’s shot forced Cooke to stretch to make a save, junior Callie Decker missed high off a corner kick and a lofting shot from Clemmer was snared by Cooke (who made seven first half saves), keeping Falmouth within a goal at halftime.

As they did in the first meeting, the Clippers ended all doubt with a second half flurry. 

Feeley got things started by racing into the offensive zone and sending a nice pass ahead to Purgavie, who headed the ball toward the goal. It might have gone in, but D’Appolonia was there to make sure and she sent the ball into the net for a 2-0 lead with 39:38 to play.

Clemmer then added even more breathing room with another terrific effort, winning the ball in the box, then beating Cooke high and to the goalie’s left for a 3-0 advantage with 35:42 showing.

“We usually kick it into gear in the second half,” Clemmer said. “We lost our momentum a little bit, but after our team talk, we decided to pick up the pace and communicate more and from the start, that’s what we did. I was just trying to get rid of the ball after a lot of touches and I just saw the gap. We’ve worked a lot on shooting and finishing.”

With 31:58 to play, Wolf took a long lead pass from senior Lucy Mahoney and sent a shot on goal, but Lane made the save.

The hosts struck again with 22:15 to go, as junior Hannah Merrill sent a shot in, Cooke couldn’t corral it and Brennan was there to bury the rebound, making it 4-0.

Falmouth had a couple bids down the stretch, but a corner kick was cleared and a shot from senior Mia Cooney was saved by Lane and Yarmouth went on to secure its sixth consecutive win.

“It’s exciting to beat Falmouth,” Langenbach said. “We always play good games. We talked about playing our game and that we needed to play quicker.  Our defense is really strong and sets the tone for how the rest of us play.”

“We’ve adjusted our formation since the last time we played Falmouth,” Thornton said. “It seemed to work well. The girls are fast with the ball on the ground.”

The Clippers’ victory was a team effort.

“We have a really deep bench,” Clemmer said. That’s the difference this year. If someone comes off the field, we have someone to replace them.”

“We got some players in and kept the energy high,” Thornton said. “We have a bunch of unsung heroes. Cory plays almost every minute, never gives the ball away, never runs out of energy and always has a smile. (Sophomore) Abby (Condon) and (senior) Ella (Antolini) just keep us solid. They’re so important to us. Just as important as those girls scoring the goals.”

Yarmouth had a 14-5 shots advantage and got five saves from Lane. The Clippers also enjoyed a 7-3 edge in corner kicks.

Falmouth got nine saves from Cooke and one from junior reserve keeper Kathryn Caldwell.

“We made a couple mistakes on their first and fourth goals, but I thought we did what we wanted to do with only 13 active players, said Yachtsmen coach Andrew Pelletier. “My girls competed and I couldn’t ask for more. I just don’t see anyone beating them this year, Someone will have to play really well to do it. Josh is doing good things with them and Rich did good things with them before. They’re in a good spot right now.”

Second half surge

Falmouth and Yarmouth won’t play again until next September, but they both have aspirations of winning a Gold Ball later this season.

The Yachtsmen’s schedule eases up dramatically going forward. Falmouth (currently ranked 10th in the Class A South Heal Points standings) is back in action Tuesday at home versus Wells. Home games versus Fryeburg Academy and Gray-New Gloucester and games at Freeport, Cape Elizabeth, Kennebunk and York also remain.

“We’ve played Greely and Yarmouth twice and Cape, York and St. Dom’s in the first half of the season, but I think we’re in a good spot going forward,” Pelletier said. “We have to get healthy and we have to make it through 80 minutes without making tough mistakes and giving up goals. We’ll be alright.”

The Clippers are eyeing the top seed in Class B South for the first time since 2010 and have the inside track. They’re ranked first at press time.

“We need to start with momentum every game,” Clemmer said. “When we do, we have the skill to beat anyone. If we have the right mindset, we’ll be fine.”

“I think we’ve done a good job of taking it game by game, which we’ll continue to do,” Langenbach said. “We like playing on our wide field and we can play possession and use our quick passing game on the turf.”

“Homefield would be great to have,” Thornton added. “We’d love to be on turf. Right now, we’re undefeated and we want to keep that going. We can always be faster and score more goals. We get plenty of opportunities and should be putting the ball away more. I’m very proud of their attitudes and I hope we keep that going.”

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

Falmouth senior goalkeeper Adelaide Cooke scoops up a shot as Yarmouth junior Hannah Merrill closes in.

Yarmouth sophomore Olivia Feeley races up the field as Falmouth freshman Gabrielle Esmond, left, and senior Grace Connolly try to keep up.

Falmouth junior Amelia Waite keeps Yarmouth freshman Audrey Goessling off the ball.

Yarmouth freshman Adriana Whitlock heads the ball away from Falmouth senior Mia Cooney.

Yarmouth sophomore Abby Condon and Falmouth senior Grace Connolly fight for possession.

Falmouth senior Meg Dye possesses the ball as Yarmouth senior Katie Clemmer defends.

Recent Falmouth-Yarmouth results

Yarmouth 4 @ Falmouth 1 

@ Yarmouth 1 Falmouth 1 (tie)
@ Falmouth 1 Yarmouth 0 

@ Falmouth 1 Yarmouth 1 (tie)
@ Yarmouth 1 Falmouth 0

Falmouth 3 @ Yarmouth 1
@ Falmouth 0 Yarmouth 0 (tie)

@ Yarmouth 0 Falmouth 0 (tie)
@ Falmouth 3 Yarmouth 1
@ Falmouth 2 Yarmouth 0 (Western B quarterfinals)

Falmouth 1 @ Yarmouth 0 (OT)
Yarmouth 1 @ Falmouth 0
@ Falmouth 4 Yarmouth 0 (Western Class B quarterfinals)

@ Yarmouth 3 Falmouth 2
@ Falmouth 0 Yarmouth 0 (tie)
Falmouth 1 @ Yarmouth 0 (Western Class B semifinals)

Falmouth 2 @ Yarmouth 1 (OT)
@ Falmouth 1 Yarmouth 1 (tie)

@ Yarmouth 1 Falmouth 0
@ Falmouth 2 Yarmouth 0

@ Falmouth 1 Yarmouth 0
Falmouth 3 @ Yarmouth 0

@ Falmouth 2 Yarmouth 2 (tie)
Falmouth 2 @ Yarmouth 0 
@ Falmouth 2 Yarmouth 1 (Western Class B Final)

@ Yarmouth 0 Falmouth 0 (tie)
@ Falmouth 1 Yarmouth 0 (2 OT)
@ Falmouth 1 Yarmouth 0 (OT) (Western Class B Final)

@ Falmouth 2 Yarmouth 1
@ Yarmouth 3 Falmouth 0

@ Yarmouth 1 Falmouth 0
@ Yarmouth 2 Falmouth 1 (Western Class B semifinals)

Falmouth 1 @ Yarmouth 0
@ Falmouth 3 Yarmouth 3
@ Falmouth 3 Yarmouth 1 (Western Class B semifinals)

@ Falmouth 2 Yarmouth 0
@ Yarmouth 1 Falmouth 0 (2 OT)

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