YARMOUTH—The last thing the Yarmouth girls’ soccer team needed was another painful loss to a top tier rival, but with 12:35 to play in regulation of Saturday afternoon’s showdown versus visiting rival Falmouth, after controlling play much of the game, the Clippers found themselves behind when Yachtsmen senior Tyler Spence put the ball in the net.

But in a response that might turn its season around, Yarmouth rose off the deck and a mere 27 seconds later, drew even when junior Katie Clemmer headed home junior Gretchen Barbera’s serve to give the Clippers new life.

While the teams wound up settling for a 1-1 tie, both got something from it as the regular season rapidly nears its conclusion.

Falmouth is now 4-2-2 and Yarmouth 4-4-1 and both showed glimpses of possible greatness to come.

“I’m really proud of the girls to not get down after playing a great game, then all of sudden, giving one up,” said Clippers coach Rich Smith. “It was nice we responded right away.”

“I’m happy we got a result,” said Yachtsmen coach Andrew Pelletier. “We’ve got some injuries. Girls stepped in and played well. There were long periods of time we had four freshmen on the field and they battled.”

Saturday afternoon special

Falmouth and Yarmouth’s rivalry dates to the start of the Yachtsmen’s varsity program in 1990. For most of the 21st Century, Falmouth has had the edge. Entering Saturday’s game, since 2001, the Yachtsmen enjoyed a 14-4 advantage with seven other games ending in ties, but in the most recent encounter, last October, the Clippers eked out a 1-0 home victory.

This fall, the Yachtsmen opened with a 7-0 home win over Gray-New Gloucester, then won at Kennebunk, 5-0, before falling at home to Greely, 4-2. After a 2-0 victory at Waynflete, Falmouth lost at Cape Elizabeth, 1-0, settled for a 1-1 home tie versus York, then crushed host Poland, 9-0.

The Clippers opened with a 6-0 victory at Poland, then lost at Greely (6-3) and home to Cape Elizabeth, 3-0. After blanking visiting Freeport, 3-0, Yarmouth lost at York, 2-1, then turned around and downed host Kennebunk, 6-2, and visiting Wells, 3-0, before falling back to .500 after a 2-1 loss at Cape Elizabeth Tuesday.

Saturday, both teams had a chance to earn a victory, but ultimately split valuable Heal Points.

Yarmouth had the better chances in the first half, but Falmouth junior goalkeeper Adelaide Cooke denied a shot by Barbera, with sophomore Hannah Merrill sending the rebound high, and Cooke saved a shot on a corner kick from senior Lilly Watson.

The Yachtsmen sent long kicks on goal off the feet of sophomore Cali Wiberg and freshman Caitlyn Camelio, but they were either denied by Clippers sophomore goalkeeper Meredith Lane or sailed high.

After Falmouth earned a corner kick a minute into the second half, which Lane managed to grab, the Yachtsmen kept the pressure on only to see a cross from senior Hannah Donovan cleared from the box, junior Mia Cooney send a blast high and with 34:13 left in regulation, Donovan’s long shot sail over Lane, but bounce off the top of the crossbar.

Then, Yarmouth took over and pushed hard for a goal, but was frustrated.

With 32:20 to go, sophomore Sara D’Appolonia sent a free kick on target, but Cooke tipped the ball over the crossbar, giving the Clippers a corner kick, on which freshman Olivia Feeley sent a header wide. 

After Cooke blocked a cross from Clemmer, Watson sent a free kick just over the crossbar, Clemmer shot just wide and D’Appolonia’s serve to the far post just eluded Clemmer.

Then, with 12:35 left in regulation, Falmouth struck.

The play began innocently enough as senior Marcy Kittredge sent the ball into the box, where Spence beat a defender and Lane to the spot and steered the ball past the goalie and into the cage for a 1-0 lead.

“I thought (Yarmouth would) score first,” Pelletier said. “I thought it would either be 0-0, or 1-0 them. We just got a good play from Tyler.”

Just when the Clippers appeared doomed to an agonizing loss, they sent the ball down the field, Barbera won possession on the right side and crossed the ball into the box where Clemmer waited, then headed the ball just inside the post to tie the score, 1-1, with 12:08 left.

“(Yarmouth) got a good goal,” said Pelletier.

Late in regulation, the hosts looked to win it, but senior Eavan O’Neill’s header was saved by Cooke, Barbera’s shot from the side hit the post and a rebound was cleared and at the other end, Falmouth had its chances, but a shot from junior Lucy Mahoney was saved and Lane grabbed a corner kick, sending the contest to overtime.

In girls’ soccer, teams play two, five-minute, “sudden-victory” overtimes and if no one scores, the game’s declared a tie.

That’s how this one would end.

Yarmouth started overtime with possession and almost put a quick end to matters as Clemmer and O’Neill played give-and-go until O’Neill was stripped of the ball at the last second by Falmouth sophomore Amelia Waite.

“It was a nice one-two, one-two right down to the six (yard line),” said Smith. “It was close.”

Later in the first session, Lane beat Cooney to a feed from Mahoney and the Clippers had a corner kick which didn’t result in anything.

In the second OT, a Waite rush was broken up by Yarmouth junior Ella Antolini and a promising Falmouth breakaway was short-circuited by an offsides call.

No other chances presented themselves and the game ended, 1-1.

“I think the girls keep finding out that they can play with anyone,” Smith said.

The Clippers wound up with a 14-5 shots advantage (7-3 on frame). Lane made two saves. Each team took two corner kicks. Cooke made six saves for the Yachtsmen, who got a terrific defensive effort from freshman Delaney Goodell on D’Appolonia, who single-handedly handed Falmouth a loss in last year’s contest in Yarmouth.

“Sara is one of the best players in the conference in my opinion and Delaney excelled defending her,” Pelletier said. “Sara’s the first girl this year we man-marked. She didn’t get many chances. That’s what we wanted to do.”

Finishing stretch

Both teams still have several tough games on the slate, which means the opportunity is there to move up in the standings.

Yarmouth (now 11th in the Class B South Heal Points standings) has another tough home test Tuesday when York pays a visit. Kennebunk comes to town Thursday. After going to Gray-New Gloucester, the Clippers host Greely and close at Falmouth Oct. 20.

“We’re going to be OK,” said Smith. “We have a couple key injuries. We’ll get (juniors) Cory Langenbach and Abby Condon back. We have a big week coming up. We’ll get ready for York next. Beating a top team would be nice. We’re certainly capable. We have to put the ball in the goal.”

Falmouth (third in Class A South) hosts Cape Elizabeth Tuesday, goes to York Thursday, has a makeup game at Greely Oct. 12, then closes the season at home versus Freeport, Kennebunk and Yarmouth.

“As long as we stay healthy, I’m really excited,” Pelletier said. “We need to find a win against a top team. This week will be big. If we can get wins or ties, Heal Points-wise, we’ll be in the top four. I say it every year and I’m sure the other coaches do too, but we’re setting ourselves up to be ready to go for the playoffs. It’s my favorite group I’ve had at Falmouth so far. They work their tails off. They’ve got high goals for themselves. I think they’re attainable.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Falmouth senior Tyler Spence (in headband) is congratulated by from left senior Marcy Kittredge, freshman Caitlyn Camelio and freshman Delaney Goodell after scoring to give the Yachtsmen a 1-0 lead at Yarmouth with 12:35 to play.

Mike Strout photos.

Yarmouth junior Katie Clemmer (center with headband) is mobbed by her teammates after tying the score 27 seconds later. 

Yarmouth senior Eavan O’Neill and Falmouth junior Olivia Tapley battle for a header.

Falmouth freshman Delaney Goodell prevents Yarmouth sophomore Sara D’Applonia from playing the ball. Goodell did a stellar job helping hold the dangerous D’Appolonia at bay.

Yarmouth junior Katie Clemmer tries to get past Falmouth junior Olivia Tapley.

Falmouth junior Mia Cooney and Yarmouth sophomore Hannah Corey fight for possession.

Falmouth junior Lucy Mahoney kicks the ball away from Yarmouth freshman Olivia Feeley.

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