FRYEBURG – Tucked in the long shadows of the White Mountains, far from many other schools, Fryeburg Academy is often a mystery to many athletic opponents.

And field hockey coach Dede Frost likes it that way.

“I’m very happy being out of the limelight,” said Frost. “I’m very happy not getting noticed until absolutely necessary. It works for me. It always has. We manage to stay out of the line of everyone’s vision until playoff time.”

Not anymore.

The Raiders sit atop the Western Class B standings and looked mighty impressive Wednesday in a 4-1 victory against second-ranked Falmouth.

Sage Hennessey scored one goal and set up two others, Ellen Bacchiocchi had a goal and an assist, and Brittany Fox made nine saves for Fryeburg.

But it was the way the Raiders (7-1) played that was impressive.

Using blurry speed and aggressive stickwork, they harassed the Yachtsmen all over the field.

“They were aggressive on both defense and offense and we didn’t adjust to it,” said Falmouth Coach Robin Haley. “They double-teamed us every time a player had the ball. And we played right into their game plan.”

Going into the season, even Frost didn’t know how good her team could be. She knew she had fast forwards but was replacing an entire defense. So she instituted a system that placed an emphasis on speed and controlling the midfield.

It’s been greatly effective.

“We want everything on this side of the 25,” said Frost, sweeping her arm toward the offensive end. “There are plusses and minuses to it. Your defenders don’t touch the ball too much if you play it right.

“But it’s working for us and we’re going to keep doing it.”

Fryeburg was on the attack immediately, testing Falmouth goalie Hillary Nash, who was credited with 16 saves. Finally, off their fourth penalty corner, the Raiders struck.

After Nash made two point-blank stops on Bacchiocchi, Hennessey rammed in the rebound for a 1-0 lead with 21:39 left in the first half.

Just under 16 minutes later, Hennessey set up Maddy Smith for a 2-0 lead.

“We’re working as a unit,” said Hennessey, who lives in Chatham, N.H. “We’re all good passers and we really communicate on the field.”

Falmouth cut the margin in half with just 23 seconds left in the first half as Catherine Hobson scored, giving Haley hope that the Yachtsmen had turned the momentum.

But Fryeburg came out and controlled the tempo again, only to be continually turned back by Nash.

Christina DiPietro of Fryeburg scored with 16:46 remaining to make it 3-1, and after Fox stopped a point-blank bid by Megan Fortier of Falmouth, Bacchiocchi was left open to score with 5:24 left to make it 4-1.

“We’re a team that’s been together for a while now,” said Fox

“Everyone who’s on varsity has played together in middle school or high school. So we know each other and how we play.”

Still, even Fox admitted to being a little surprised to be 7-1.

“Yet again, we’ve got the desire and we try our hardest,” she said.

“To know we’re 7-1 makes us all excited.”

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH