Friday, March 7, 2014
By GREG REID Special to the Press Herald
BATH - Midfielder Megan Miller knows a little something about pressure, as in how to apply it and how to withstand it.
"It gets nerve-wracking when someone's coming at me," Miller said. "I just try not to lunge and keep my composure."
Miller and her Falmouth teammates kept their cool Wednesday, knocking off top-seed Morse 2-0 in the Western Class B girls' soccer final at a muddy McMann Field.
The second-seeded Yachtsmen (13-2-2) move on to a third straight state final, where they will meet Eastern champion Hermon at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Scarborough High. Hermon advanced with an overtime win over Presque Isle.
"The work's not done yet," said Falmouth Coach Wally LeBlanc. "It's a credit to the girls that we're playing on the last day of the year. I'm proud of their hard work."
Miller, a holding midfielder in Falmouth's 4-3-3 formation, is called on to man-mark opponents' top attacker. This time out, that meant keeping an eye on sophomore Miracle Trimble, who had 32 goals in 16 games for the Shipbuilders (14-2-1).
"Megan was outstanding," said LeBlanc. "We absolutely wanted to keep high pressure on Miracle before she got the ball. Once she has the ball she does splendid things with it."
Miller, with help from center backs Laura Bauer and Maddie Inlow, held Trimble to just two clean shots on Caroline Lucas (eight saves).
While Miller and company kept Trimble without a shot on goal in the first half, the Yachtsmen's pressure created a 2-0 lead.
After yielding two Falmouth corner kicks in the opening three minutes, the Shipbuilders showed what they were capable of four minutes in when Bri Williams (18 goals) sent in a 30-yard shot off the counterattack that caromed off the crossbar and out of play.
"That made us pick it up a little," Lucas said.
Caitlin Bucksbaum set up Falmouth's first goal, sending in Falmouth's fifth corner kick of the half in from the right side. Senior forward Alex Bernier got on the end of it for a 1-0 lead with 27:13 left in the first half.
Mary Catherine Kowalsky made it 2-0 with 3.3 seconds left in the half on a play set up by Bucksbaum's direct kick from 25 yards. Kowalsky's shot from the right was headed to the far post. The shot skimmed off a defender and beat senior keeper Sadia Crosby (11 saves).
"I told the girls, a 2-0 lead is the most dangerous lead in the world," said Morse Coach Steve Boyce. "Given the score, especially how that second goal transpired, our girls could have given up. But they didn't."
But nor could they get through the midfield, where Falmouth was controlling play. Overall, Falmouth held an 11-0 edge in corner kicks and a 28-8 edge in shots.
Trimble didn't threaten until midway through the second half, stopped both times by the alert Lucas.
Now Falmouth gets a chance at a third straight state title.
"We're just so honored that we could make it to the state championship three times," Bernier said. "It never gets old. I absolutely love it."