BIDDEFORD — A magical season won’t have its fairy tale ending.

York’s Ashley Carney drives with the ball as Freeport’s Ally Randall moves in on defense. (Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Portland Press Herald)

Freeport’s high school field hockey team traveled to Biddeford’s storied Waterhouse Field Wednesday afternoon for the Class B South Final, hoping to make history, but it was the York Wildcats, yet again, who took home the most coveted piece of hardware with a hard-fought 1-0 victory.

York will face Class B North champion Gardiner in the State Class B title game at Husson College on Saturday.

The third-ranked Falcons, coming off their best regular season in nearly two decades and riding the high from a pair of improbably glorious playoff wins, hoped to end the top-seeded Wildcats’ five-year reign as regional champions, and Freeport had its chances to do so.

But the Falcons were unable to capitalize.

Freeport nearly got the jump 40 seconds in, but sophomore Ally Randall’s shot hit the post. And the Falcons never were able to put the ball in the cage.

Freeport, thanks to strong defense and four timely saves from senior goalie Katelyn Rouleau, kept the game in a scoreless deadlock in the first half.

Not only were goals hard to come by in the second half, shots were nearly non-existent, and after both senior Natalie Anderson and sophomore Anyslie Decker were denied by York senior goalie Julianna Kiklis, the Wildcats earned their eighth penalty corner and finally broke through.

With 4:12 left in regulation, senior Emlyn Patry sent a shot on goal, and freshman Sage Works got her stick on it and the ball beat Rouleau to break the ice.

The Falcons weren’t able to answer and their season ended in agony.

Freeport finished 13-3-1, its best record since 2000, while the Wildcats improved to 13-3-1.

“I’m happy we made it this far,” said Falcons coach Marcia Wood. “It was just so exciting. To have a season with only three losses, I don’t know if (the girls) realize (what they accomplished). We’ll get a banner in our gym. We played to the last week of field hockey and that’s what we wanted.”

An unforgettable ride

Freeport entered the season knowing it was good, but the Falcons eclipsed expectations, earning the No. 3 seed in Class B South.

Freeport won its first two playoff games, but it sure wasn’t easy. After rallying from a 2-0 deficit to knock off No. 6 Poland, 3-2, in the quarterfinals, on senior standout Alexa Koenig’s late goal, the Falcons outlasted No. 2 Fryeburg Academy, 1-0, Saturday in the semifinals when Koenig scored in overtime.

York had won both prior playoff meetings by a combined 12-0 margin and had beaten Freeport in all eight encounters (by a composite 40-0 margin) since the Falcons moved up to Class B in 2013.

Under 44-degree skies (with a brisk 14-mile-per-hour wind factored in), in front of a vocal crowd, Freeport hoped to author one more inspirational and triumphant chapter, but it wasn’t to be.

The Falcons weren’t nervous in the championship setting, transitioning to offense immediately and when senior Kerry Lefebvre crossed the ball to Randall just 40 seconds in, they nearly scored the all-important first goal, but Randall’s shot rang off the near post.

Freeport then earned a penalty corner opportunity, but the ball hit a Falcons’ attacker’s foot.

With 22:20 left in the first half, York got its first of three straight corners, but Rouleau saved a bid by junior Bailey Oliver and Koenig cleared the ball out of harm’s way before Patry sent a shot just wide.

York had a corner opportunity with 1:40 remaining before halftime, but Rouleau denied Patry, then dove to rob Oliver before turning aside Oliver’s rebound shot as well to keep the game scoreless at halftime.

In the first 30 minutes, the Wildcats had a 4-3 edge in shots and a 6-3 advantage in corners, but Rouleau’s four saves kept the game scoreless.

Both defenses took over in the second half, as Freeport sophomore Rianna Tomm broke up a rush by York junior Ashley Carney, senior Reilly Lefebvre stopped a Carney chance in the circle and Falcons senior captain Kelsey Williams came up big in several situations to frustrate the Wildcats.

“Kelsey played a great game defensively,” Wood said. “That was fitting for her last game.”

Freeport nearly scored with 8:05 remaining in regulation when Anderson managed to get a stick on a Koenig shot and sent it on goal, but Kiklis made the save.

Wood called timeout with 6:04 on the clock, hoping to inspire the winning goal, but it wasn’t to be. The Falcons had a great chance with 5:26 to go, but Kiklis came way out of the cage to make a kick save on a shot by sophomore Aynslie Decker, then she kicked away a possible rebound.

The Wildcats then transitioned to offense, earned a corner and found a way to get the ball in the cage. Oliver inserted the ball up top to Patry, who fired a shot that Works managed to get part of her stick on, and that was enough to redirect the ball past Rouleau and into the goal for a 1-0 lead.

“I saw some of my starters were getting tired and I wanted to give them a break, then have them go hard at the end,” Wood said. “To have a blip with five minutes left, it was sad. We pressured, it just didn’t fall our way. All you need is a tip off a corner and kudos to them.”

Freeport hoped to answer, but the Falcons were unable to produce another shot and at 4:10 p.m., arguably the best season in program history ended with a 1-0 setback.

“I feel like we controlled a lot of that game, so it’s hard,” Wood said. “We had our chances. I’m disappointed for the girls. They worked hard and really wanted it. They played wonderful. They stayed together as a team. As the game went on, I thought we were going to do it. We pressured, but it just didn’t fall our way.”

Each team finished with five shots. Kiklis made five saves to Rouleau’s four. York had eight corners to four for Freeport.

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