FALMOUTH – Not long after senior midfielder Cassie Darrow gave Falmouth a 1-0 lead Saturday, an upset stomach sent her to a sideline trash can and then up to the girls’ locker room.
Darrow later returned to the sideline. Six minutes into the second half, Gray-New Gloucester had the equalizer and the momentum.
Darrow decided then that she couldn’t stomach an upset.
“Everybody wants to go in when you need a goal because everybody wants to make a difference,” Darrow said. “Luckily I got the opportunity.”
It arrived with 5:03 left, when her low, left-footed shot from 18 yards lifted No. 2-seed Falmouth to a 2-1 victory over No. 6 Gray-New Gloucester in a Western Class B girls’ soccer semifinal.
The Yachtsmen (12-2-2) move on to the regional final against top-ranked Morse (14-1-1) in Bath on Wednesday.
After a dominating first half, Falmouth finally took a 1-0 lead with 7:33 to play. Darrow collected a through pass from Bri Russell at midfield and drove toward the net, unleashing a strike from 15 yards that beat Patriots keeper Sammie Wilkins (14 saves).
The Patriots (6-7-1) came out hard after intermission.
“The big thing for us early in the second half was we needed another goal,” said Falmouth senior forward Alex Bernier. “One goal wasn’t going to be enough.”
True enough. The difference in the Patriots’ performance, said Gray-New Gloucester Coach Kiaran McCormack, was “a little bit more belief. We had a plan in place that if we could keep it close in the first half, we could change a few things, bring a little more intensity and get back into the game in the second half.”
That happened about six minutes in, when Gray-New Gloucester’s Caitlin Holmquist tied it at 1-1 with a 30-yard chip from 30 yards that dropped in just under the crossbar to beat Falmouth keeper Caroline Lucas (three saves).
Center back Maria Valente created the opportunity with another of her long throws into Falmouth’s penalty area. The Patriots had advanced with three goals off Valente’s throw-in in their 4-0 quarterfinal win over No. 3 Maranacook.
“Gray-New Gloucester matched our intensity,” said Falmouth Coach Wally LeBlanc. “We had prepared for that long throw-in. They’re confident in it, they executed it and, sure enough, they got the goal that they needed with it.”
The goal gave the Patriots momentum and forced back-and-forth play.
As the half wore on, the Yachtsmen slowly regained the upper hand. Strong midfield play by Russell, Megan Miller and Marcy Kittredge helped Darrow, Bernier and Caitlin Bucksbaum pressure Wilkins.
“We do try to train our girls to be leaders and want to sacrifice for their teammates,” LeBlanc said. “That’s what you saw out there today.”