SCARBOROUGH – Nervous? A little. Worried? Not at all.
Falmouth High won its third consecutive Class B girls’ soccer state championship Saturday night, holding off Hermon 2-1 at the Mitchell Sports Complex.
The favored Yachtsmen scored two goals in the first half by Cassie Darrow and Megan Miller, then held off a strong surge by the Hawks in the final 25 minutes.
“I was nervous,” said Bri DiPhillipo, a senior defender for Falmouth who continually turned back Hermon attacks. “But in the back of my mind, I felt we could pull it out. This means so much to us.”
The championship was Falmouth’s eighth since 2001 and 11th overall, including three in Class C.
The Yachtsmen, who were ranked third in the West, finished 14-2-2. Hermon, making its first appearance in a title game since 1994, finished 15-3.
“This is such a good feeling,” said Miller, a junior midfielder. “Coming out and winning today it’s the best feeling in the world.”
Falmouth controlled play in the first half while building a 2-0 lead.
Darrow, a senior midfielder, got the first goal, a bending 30-yard shot from the middle of the field into the left corner 18:05 into the game.
“It was just one of those instances,” she said, “where I got a lucky touch, lucky space, and (the shot) went where I wanted it to go.”
Miller got the second goal on a penalty kick with 6:57 left in the half. The kick was awarded when Falmouth’s Caitlin Bucksbaum was tripped in the box.
Wally LeBlanc, Falmouth’s coach, considered having Bucksbaum take the penalty kick, but she was still hurting from the play. So he called on Miller who, he said, “finished it with confidence.”
That she did. Miller stared at Hermon keeper Bryanne Crouse and then calmly kicked the ball along the ground into the left corner. “We take our PKs seriously,” said Miller. “I just place it in the same place all the time. I’m glad I got it.”
Falmouth had a chance to make it 3-0 early in the second half, but Crouse made a diving save on a deflection by Georgia Babikian.
Then the Hawks took charge.
“Tentative, yes, and maybe nerves had something to do with it,” Hermon Coach Adam Leach, said of his team’s first-half performance. “And Falmouth was the best team we’ve played all year, too. So it was a little bit of that.
“But down 2-0, a lot of teams would have packed it in and been done. I’m proud of my girls.”
The Hawks pushed hard and Falmouth keeper Caroline Lucas had to make what LeBlanc called “a brilliant stop” with a little under 26 minutes remaining. Hermon’s Savannah Allain was sent in on the left behind the defense, but Lucas dove to her right to make the save at the post.
Hermon kept charging and finally broke through with 7:29 left. Allain was again involved. Her corner kick from the left was cleared out by DiPhillipo. But Allain got the ball back and sent an arcing shot in from the left.
Lucas leapt and tipped the ball, but it dropped to her left, behind her. There, Hermon’s Claire Petersen got her foot on the ball and it rolled in. Falmouth’s defense regrouped and wouldn’t allow another shot.
“I give the girls so much credit,” said LeBlanc. “All the hard work. It’s not easy to win one state championship. For them to come back and win it three years in a row is a credit to all the hard work they’ve put in.”
Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: