FALMOUTH – The push is on for the Falmouth High field hockey team to get a high seed for its fast-approaching first-ever Class A tournament.
The best way to do that Thursday night was to beat longtime Class B rival Cape Elizabeth.
In a matchup for 8-2 teams both third in their respective Western standings, Jillian Rothweiler scored the game’s only goal with 8:19 left in the first half and Falmouth’s defense held up against strong Caper second-half pressure for the 1-0 victory.
“We’re going for the home-field advantage in the playoffs in Class A,” Rothweiler said. “We’re going to be playing an unfamiliar team so we think it will be a lot less nerve-wracking to do that at home.”
While it will play in the Class A tournament due to realignment, Falmouth (9-2) has maintained its traditional Western Maine Conference schedule. Earlier this season the Yachtsmen won a game at Cape Elizabeth, also by a 1-0 score. Falmouth’s only losses have been to unbeaten York, including a 4-0 setback at home last Saturday.
“You’re always concerned about how a team will respond after a tough loss,” Falmouth Coach Robin Haley said. “A team like (Cape), where you know you’re playing for (Heal) points, it was a big deal.”
Rothweiler’s goal was set up when Elle Fitzgerald collected a rebound off a penalty corner bid.
“Elle kind of got the deflection pass right over to me and right place, right time. The opening was right there and I took advantage of it,” Rothweiler said.
Cape Elizabeth Coach Darci Holland said she thinks her 8-3 team can maintain its Class B ranking if it wins its next two games against Greely and Fryeburg Academy. The Capers will finish the regular season at York.
Defenses controlled the action for the most part. Falmouth had four shots on goal. Cape had a 4-0 edge in penalty corner opportunities in the second half but generated just two shots that Falmouth keeper Hillary Nash needed to stop for the shutout.
“We had some quality shots but the corners, we need to do a better job and capitalize on that. Stop playing with the ball so much,” Holland said.
Cape gained a strong territorial advantage immediately after Falmouth midfielder Leika Scott was given a five-minute yellow card for a push from behind with 23:02 left in the game.
An immediate flurry resulted in front of Nash but no shot reached the goal.
Shortly after Scott returned, Cape had its best chance to tie the game when the ball squirted toward the unattended left post. Hailey Petsinger’s attempt to flick a lifted shot went wide of the cage and was quickly cleared out by defender Hayley Winslow.
Throughout the game, Winslow was a settling presence for Falmouth.
“Not that we want to be challenged in the defensive end or the circle,” Haley said, “but you need to be able to adapt to those pressure situations, and play with a calm head and a calm stick.”
A few minutes later, Cape’s tempo-setting center midfielder Abby McInerney took one of several hard spills during the game while trying to charge onto a crossing pass. After being checked by the on-site athletic trainer, McInerney was not allowed to return to the field despite her persistent protests over the final 10 minutes.
“It’s Falmouth’s policy, a state policy, I guess. Better safe than sorry but that definitely hurt us. Her intensity is amazing,” Holland said.
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at: