CUMBERLAND — After getting knocked out of last year’s postseason sooner than it hoped, the Freeport High field hockey team has waited for the opportunity to start anew.

Thursday, the time came. The Falcons then started quickly, building a three-goal halftime lead and earning a 5-2 victory against Greely in a Western Maine Conference opener.

Natalie Anderson scored three goals – all in the first half – Kerry Lefebvre and Ally Randall each added one, and Katelyn Rouleau made a series of clutch second-half saves for Freeport, which served notice not just to the Rangers but to the rest of Class B South that it will contend this season.

“We’re excited for the season,” said Falcons Coach Marcia Wood. “Even at the end of last year after (we lost 4-0 to Lake Region in the regional quarterfinals), the girls have been ready. They’ve been playing offseason and you can tell they’ve had a stick in their hands all winter.”

It took just over two minutes for Freeport to score, when Anderson tipped home a shot by Alexa Koenig. Greely never caught up.

“It was amazing to score that fast,” said Anderson, who led Freeport in scoring last season.

“It picked us up. I just had my stick in the right place.”

Anderson then made it 2-0, finishing on a scrum off a penalty corner with 6:24 to go in the half.

A minute later, after Greely goalie Cassie Ward denied Koenig’s shot on a corner, Randall converted the rebound for a 3-0 lead.

“In the past, scoring has been an issue, so to get on the board like that was great,” Wood said. “We have so many girls who can shoot and score. … (The defense) can’t pinpoint one.”

The Rangers pulled within 3-1 with 2:56 to go before halftime when Delia Knox set up Hannah Perfetti for a goal in transition, but with 59 seconds remaining, Anderson scored her third goal, tipping home a rebound to restore a three-goal advantage at the break.

“We broke down defensively in the circle a little bit,” said Chelsea Morley, Greely’s first-year coach. “That’s something we’ll clean up.”

When Maddy Perfetti fed Wren Payne for a goal 3:40 into the second half, Greely drew back within two and seized momentum.

The Rangers almost cut the deficit to one with 15:45 remaining, but first Rouleau saved a shot, then after a rebound got past the goalie and was about to roll over the line, Freeport defender Brooke Toothaker swept it away in the play of the game.

“Knowing my defense was behind me was really nice,” said Rouleau, who finished with 14 saves. “We have really good communication. (Brooke) had my back. That’s what I love about my defense. If I step up, they know to come back.”

Lefebvre ended all doubt, scoring with 7:10 to play for the Falcons.

Freeport finished with a 17-16 edge in shots on goal. Ward made seven saves and Savanna Harvey stopped five shots for Greely.

“One thing our team will always bring is resilience,” said Morley. “We didn’t play scared and I commend the girls.

“We had chances. I’m really happy with the number of shots we had on goal. Now it’s getting the ball in the net. Once we do that, we’ll really take off.”

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