(Ed. Note: For the complete Yarmouth-Lisbon field hockey, Greely-Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth-Woodland volleyball game stories, with additional photos, see theforecaster.net)
The volleyball season has come to an end with another local champion crowned (there were almost two). Field hockey has culminated as well and as always, there is ample local representation in the soccer regional finals.
Here’s a glimpse as we enter the final days of the fall sports season:
Yarmouth’s volleyball team won two of the past three Class B state titles, but those teams didn’t approach the juggernaut status of the 2014 version. The Clippers lost their first match, at perennial powerhouse Greely, then ramapged through the rest of the schedule. Yarmouth earned the top seed in Class B and with it a bye into Wednesday’s semifinals, where it made quick work of fourth-ranked Woodland.
In a match which spanned a mere 55 minutes, top-ranked Yarmouth never left any doubt, winning the first set, 25-13, thanks to 10 aces, including four from Andrea St. Pierre.
“We’re naturally good servers,” said St. Pierre. “I’ve played softball for a long time and I’m a pitcher. I’ve learned to strengthen my arms. I’m confident at the line. It was a good confidence booster for us. It was good not to start flat.”
In the second set, sophomore Rachel Chillé put on a show, producing 12 straight service points in one stretch as the Clippers prevailed, 25-9.
I’ve been practicing my jump serve lately,” Chillé said. “It started as a joke, then it kind of just stuck.”
Chillé didn’t even play a year ago, but has become an integral member of this squad.
“I played club volleyball for four years with Maine Juniors and I decided to switch from soccer,” Chillé said. “I’ve really enjoyed it.”
“I’m glad (Rachel) made the decision to commit to volleyball,” said Senecal. “She loves the sport. She’s really our glue in the back line. Having her in the back row is huge for us. She’s a great passer. She sets up our hitters very well.”
Then, after Woodland hung tough in the third set, even leading as late as 16-15, Yarmouth surged to the finish line and junior captain Liz Clark’s ace put a fitting punctuation mark on a 25-20 victory, giving the Clippers the match.
“It hit me halfway through that this was the last time I would play here, so this was a great way to end it,” senior Emily Parker said. “We had a strong practice yesterday which really helped us. We had confidence coming in.”
“Our kids feel like we can compete with anybody,” said Senecal. “I’m glad we came out like we did. (Woodland) poured everything out. They gave us everything they had.”
Yarmouth produced 29 of its 75 points on aces.
“Our hitters weren’t complaining, but they couldn’t get any kills today,” Senecal said. “We have such strong service. It doesn’t seem to matter who we put in there.”
The Clippers then went north to Ellsworth to take on No. 2 Machias in the state match Saturday. Again, Yarmouth made sure it was over quickly.
In the first set, Heather Clark’s strong play at the net and more great service from Andrea St. Pierre helped the Clippers shoot to a 19-4 lead and they never looked back in winning it, 25-9.
Machias hung tough in the second set, but strong all-around play from Chillé, kills from Alison Clark and Heather Clark and an ace from Morgan Hamre to close it out spelled a 25-20 victory.
Yarmouth then secured its repeat title and third in four seasons, rallying from an early deficit to take the third set, 25-17, and finish with a program-best record of 15-1.
Falmouth and Greely weren’t as fortunate.
The defending Class A champion Yachtsmen went 11-3 in the regular season and earned the No. 3 ranking. After dispatching sixth-seeded Biddeford in the quarterfinals, 3-1, Falmouth went to No. 2 Mt. Desert Island last Wednesday for the semifinals and was victorious again in four sets: 25-23, 25-16, 22-25, 25-18. Saturday, the Yachtsmen played in their second straight state final and fourth in six seasons and when they took the first set, 25-20, and the second, 25-22, they were one set from a repeat title.
But Falmouth couldn’t close out the match, as Cape Elizabeth continued its magical late-season run by winning the final three games, 25-22, 25-18 and 15-8 to steal the championship and end the Yachtsmen’s season at 13-4.
Greely was the top seed in Class A and had no trouble with No. 8 Gorham in a three-set victory in the quarterfinals. Last Wednesday, the Rangers appeared en route to another easy win over visiting No. 5 Cape Elizabeth in the semifinals after winning the first two games with little trouble, 25-13 and 25-12, but as Falmouth would learn three days later, the Capers liked to dig out of a hole and Cape Elizabeth rallied to win the next three sets, 28-26, 25-22 and 15-11 to end Greely’s season at 13-3 and hand the Rangers their first ever home playoff loss.
“We made too many mistakes,” longtime Rangers coach Kelvin Hasch lamented. “After we were up 2-0, I told the girls that we hadn’t won anything yet. We missed five serves in the fifth game. You can’t give a team five points in a 15-point game. We’ve been fighting this intensity for a long time. I thought we had it solved, but apparently we didn’t.”
Coming into the 2014 campaign, the Rangers weren’t as highly touted as usual and had a lot of question marks, but they again earned the top seed and went deep into the playoffs.
“I think the girls really improved over the season and brought it together, but you need more than seven kids who can play,” Hasch said. “That hurt us a little bit. I think the subs learned an awful lot this year. They’ll make big contributions next year. We have to find some players to fill the holes.”
North Yarmouth Academy didn’t qualify for the playoffs this fall, but the Panthers were awarded the Class B Sportsmanship Award Saturday.
Yarmouth and NYA’s field hockey teams saw their quests for a state title come to an end last week.
The Clippers, the No. 2 seed in Western C after their best regular season since 1998, had advanced with a 3-0 win over No. 7 Telstar in the quarterfinals, but last Tuesday, playing without injured junior star Bre Morrill, Yarmouth couldn’t rattle the cage against very talented third-ranked Lisbon, which scored twice in a five-minute span in the second half and went on to a 2-0 victory.
“It’s hard walking away from a game where a few minutes made the difference,” senior standout Kallie Hutchinson said. “If you could cut away those few minutes, it would have been a different story.”
“It’s been incredible,” said Clippers coach Mandy Lewis. “At the end of the game, what I shared with the girls, was that I was incredibly proud to have been part of their journey. This really was their journey. They created this. They were motivated by each other on the field. It was very special to be a part of this group.”
Yarmouth graduates Hutchinson, one of the finest players in program history, along with Fiona Clarke and defensive stalwart Meaghan Gorman.
“We only lose a few, but they’re important,” said Lewis. “The seniors have seen the program go from primarily a losing record to finishing second in the (Heal Points standings). That’s exciting for them and they inspired our younger athletes as well. I’m grateful for them.”
The good news is that Yarmouth will start in a much stronger place in August of next year. The offense will feature the likes of junior Cara Ricciardi, sophomores Georgia Giese, Abby McDowell, Taylor Robison and Molly Wilson and freshmen Maggie Gunville and Emilie Martin. On defense, junior Samantha Middleton, along with sophomores Gracie Griffin and Nicole McDowell, will provide a wall in front of returning junior goalie Tori Messina, who made 11 saves against Lisbon.
We haven’t heard the last from the Clippers.
“We’re going to continue to be persistent and to develop our program,” Lewis said.
“Knowing that we didn’t get the one step farther (this year) is hard, but I still have that goal for next year’s team,” Hutchinson said.
NYA, meanwhile, which turned heads all year with its 10-player roster, earned the No. 4 seed in Western C and advanced with a 1-0 win over fifth-ranked Sacopee Valley on Marina Poole’s goal in the final minute of the quarterfinals. In last Tuesday’s semifinals, the Panthers were no match for top-ranked Oak Hill, falling, 4-0, despite 11 saves from standout goalie Elizabeth Coughlin in her swan song, to finish 11-5.
“I think we held with them in the middle of the field very well,” NYA coach Tracy Quimby said. “It was just a matter of when they got down in the 25 where we had issues. We didn’t have our sticks on the ground. That will do it to you every time. That’s how they scored their goals. They do a great job crossing the ball and they have some really good shooters.”
On the pitch, at press time, Greely and Yarmouth’s boys’ teams were on a Western B Final collision course for the second year in a row.
The top-ranked Clippers rolled in their quarterfinal last week, blanking visiting No. 8 Fryeburg, 7-0. Adam LaBrie, Henry Coolidge and Ben Vigue had first half goals. Less than a minute into the second half, LaBrie became the program’s all-time single season goal scorer when he eclipsed assistant coach Eoin Lynch’s mark with his 20th of the year. Patrick Grant, Matt Dostie and Nate Gallagher also scored.
Saturday, Yarmouth found itself in a much tougher tussle against fourth-ranked Gray-New Gloucester. Grant gave the Clippers an early lead, but LaBrie hit the post on a penalty kick in the second half which could have secured the victory and a Yarmouth “own goal” allowed the Patriots to tie the score and send the game to overtime. There, with their season on the brink, the Clippers responded, as LaBrie headed home the winner for a 2-1 victory.
Greely, the defending Class B champion, earned the No. 2 seed and ousted seventh-ranked Wells in the quarterfinals, 3-2. Ben Ingraham and Hunter Graham had the first two goals and Ben Leverett broke a tie and produced the winner. Saturday, the Rangers welcomed old rival Cape Elizabeth, the No. 3 seed, for the semifinals and Henry Melville’s first half goal stood up in a 1-0 victory.
The Clippers and Rangers squared off in the regional final for the second straight season. Greely upset host Yarmouth last fall, 2-1. The teams split two regular season encounters, each winning, 1-0, on the road.
The winner will face either Ellsworth (15-0-1) or Oceanside (11-4-2), the Cinderella, in the Class B Final Saturday at 10 a.m. at Deering High School in Portland.
Falmouth, meanwhile, was stunned in the Western A quarterfinals. The Yachtsmen earned the No. 2 seed and met 10th-ranked Cheverus in the first ever countable game between the programs. After falling behind early, 1-0, Falmouth drew even on Gabe Mahoney’s goal, but the Stags scored again before halftime and held on for a 2-1 victory, ending the Yachtsmen’s season at 11-2-2. For the first time in 23 seasons, Falmouth failed to get out of the quarterfinals in consecutive years.
On the girls’ side, Greely was the lone survivor at press time. The top-ranked Rangers eliminated No. 9 Fryeburg, 3-0, in the quarterfinals. Izzy Hutnak, Jocelyn Mitiguy and Courtney Sullivan had the goals. Saturday, in the semifinals, Greely blanked fourth-seeded Lincoln Academy, 3-0, as Hutnak, Mitiguy and Ellie Schad scored.
The Rangers hosted No. 3 Cape Elizabeth (11-4-1) in the regional final Wednesday. Greely beat the Capers twice this year, 3-0 in Cape Elizabeth and 2-1 (in overtime) at home. Last fall, the Capers beat the Rangers in the Western B Final, 4-2.
If Greely advanced to its first state final since 2004, it would battle either Waterville (16-0) or Hermon (15-1) Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Deering High School in Portland. The Rangers last won a championship in 2002, beating Brunswick, 1-0, for the Class A crown in a game played at Deering High.
Yarmouth almost joined the Rangers in the regional final, but fell a goal short. The second-ranked Clippers had little trouble with No. 7 Gray-New Gloucester in the quarterfinals, taking a quick 2-0 lead on goals from Katie Clemmer and Sara D’Appolonia. Clemmer added two more for the hat trick and Yarmouth advanced, 4-0. Eavan O’Neill had a pair of assists.
In Saturday’s semifinal round, against visiting No. 3 Cape Elizabeth, the defending Class B champion, the programs’ first ever playoff encounter was tight throughout, but the Clippers couldn’t find the net. The Capers finally did late and prevailed, 1-0, ending Yarmouth’s season at 9-4-3.
In Western A, Falmouth, the No. 7 seed, edged 10th-ranked Cheverus in the preliminary round, 1-0, but in Wednesday’s quarterfinal, at second-ranked Scarborough, the Yachtsmen were ousted, 6-0, to finish 7-7-2.
Sun Journal staff writer Mike Kraft contributed to this story.
Yarmouth sophomore Andrea St. Pierre (left) and junior Kenzie Sheehan celebrate after the Clippers beat Woodland, 3-0, in last Wednesday’s Class B semifinal. Yarmouth went on to blank Machias Saturday to repeat as state champion.
Greely’s Alex Tebbs goes up for a kill during last week’s Class A semifinal round match against Cape Elizabeth. The Rangers won the first two sets, but couldn’t close it out and fell, 3-2, to the eventual champions.
Yarmouth goalie Tori Messina makes a save during last week’s Western C semifinal versus Lisbon. The Clippers’ tremendous season ended with a 2-0 loss to the eventual regional champion Greyhounds.