With talented players like All-Americans Mitch Tapley and Nick Bachman and high-scoring sophomore Willy Sipperly in its lineup, it’s easy to see why Falmouth has the state’s strongest boys’ lacrosse offense.

But that’s only one reason why the Yachtsmen will be playing North Yarmouth Academy for the Class B state championship at 3 p.m. today at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

Another reason Falmouth will make its first appearance in a lacrosse state final is a solid defense that became more difficult to score on as the season progressed.

It took the Yachtsmen the first two months of the season to get it together, but goalie Cam Bell, and close-in defenders Mike Ryan, Mike Bloom and Caleb Bowden have developed into a cohesive unit.

“Our mind-set is definitely if we don’t allow any goals in the game, we’ll win it,” Bloom said. “We go into every game trying to do our best, knowing that if we play well and they can’t score, we’ll win.”

Coach Mike Lebel said the defense, which has allowed 4.1 goals per game, has taken a lot of pressure off an offense averaging 13.8 goals.

“They know they only have to score a few goals to win,” he said.

The key to the Yachtsmen’s defense has been steady improvement in communication between Bell and the rest of the unit.

“Our coach has been telling us all along to get more verbal, more verbal, and this year I’ve really seen it develop,” said Bowden, a senior who was hampered last season because of mononucleosis.

“If you’re talking, you don’t make as many mental mistakes because you know your brain is in the game.”

Bell, in his second full season in goal for the Yachtsmen, provides the communications hub.

“Communication actually begins with our goalie, Cam,” said Bloom, a senior who missed all of last season because of a knee injury.

“There’s not a time when the ball is in our end that he’s not screaming at us. It’s really helpful because he’s telling everybody where we’re going. If we’re not answering, he’ll keep yelling at us until we do.”

“I just call out where the ball is, who’s sliding next,” Bell said. “If I get screened, I make sure I tell them because it’s my job to make sure they’re not in the way.

“I usually don’t get screened that much because they know not to get in front of me.”

According to Lebel, the improvement in communication is a recent development.

“It didn’t happen overnight. We had to drill it into their heads,” he said. “Cam was always a very good communicator, but the other guys didn’t always see the benefits and the importance of it until just recently.”

Each member of Falmouth’s defense now gets it.

“We’ve always got to be talking,” said Ryan, one of the team’s three All-America selections. “Who’s got your left? Who’s got your right? Who’s got the hot stick? We need to know who has what man, who’s ready for a fast break.

“We just need to know what everyone is doing on the field, just to be in sync.”

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

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Twitter: PaulBetitPPH