Freeport senior goalie Piper Sherbert and defender Rachel Harmon lunge in vain for Lake Region sophomore Abby Elsaessar’s shot which found the cage for the lone goal of the Lakers’ 1-0 victory Wednesday. Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald photos. More photos below.

FREEPORT—For most of Wednesday’s field hockey contest, an ominous rain cloud lingered over Freeport’s Joan Benoit Sanuelson Track and Field.

And that proved to be a perfect metaphor for how the Falcons’ game against Lake Region transpired.

Freeport came out sluggishly and despite the efforts of senior goalie Piper Sherbert, who made a highlight reel save early the game, the Falcons fell behind with 12:25 remaining in the first half, when Lakers sophomore Abby Elsaessar rattled cage.

Freeport brought more intensity in the second half and had the lion’s share of possession, but despite four penalty corner opportunities, couldn’t produce the equalizer and Lake Region went on to a 1-0 victory.

The Lakers won their third successive game without a loss this fall, while dropping the Falcons to 2-1-1 in the process.

“One goal doesn’t show what the game was like,” said Freeport coach Marcia Wood. “We didn’t do the little things. I know we’re capable of being better and we need to learn how to adjust to teams that are just aggressive because that’s the one thing missing from our game and once we have that, we’ll be fine.”

Frustration

Freeport opened by blanking visiting Greely, 5-0, and Poland, 4-0. Monday, the Falcons settled for a 1-1 tie at Fryeburg Academy.

Lake Region shut out visiting Yarmouth, 3-0, to start, then handled visiting Gray-New Gloucester, 6-1, Tuesday.

Last year, in the teams’ lone meeting, Freeport won in Naples, 2-0.

Wednesday, on a warm afternoon (82 degrees), but one marred by clouds and eventually rain, the Falcons simply couldn’t solve the Lakers.

The visitors set the tone 40 seconds, as senior Kaitlyn Plummer raced through the defense and had a good luck, but she missed just wide.

Freeport then went on the attack and junior Autumn Golding had back-to-back bids, but Lake Region sophomore goalie Kelsey Gerry stopped them both.

With 23:01 left in the first half, the Lakers appeared poised to go on top, as Plummer broke free alone, but Sherbert dove to deny her shot.

After the Falcons killed off three straight Lake Region penalty corners, allowing just one shot, a bid by senior Julia Murch, which Sherbert saved, Wood called timeout and Freeport responded by earning a penalty corner of its own. The Falcons weren’t able to generate a shot, however.

Then, with 12:25 remaining before halftime, Plummer passed to Elsaessar, who’s shot got past Sherbert and into the cage for a 1-0 lead.

Late in the first half, Lake Region senior defender Victoria Ross blocked a shot by Falcons’ sophomore Kyla Havey and Golding had a shot blocked on a corner an at the other end, Lakers senior Delaney Meserve missed just wide in transition, sending the game to halftime tied, 1-1.

The Lakers had a 4-2 edge in shots and each team had three penalty corners in the first 30 minutes.

Lake Region started the second half looking to extend its lead, but Sherbert denied Plummer, then stopped another Plummer shot before junior Chantale Symonds sent the rebound wide.

Freeport controlled possession most of the rest of the way, but never drew even.

With 22:06 on the clock, a Havey rush was broken up at the last minute.

Forty seconds later, Randall was robbed by Gerry and Gerry stopped Havey’s rebound as well.

With the rain turning heavier, the Falcons had three penalty corner chances, but only one resulted in a shot, by junior Hannah Groves, which Gerry turned aside.

Wood took timeout with 5:55 on the clock, hoping to inspire a goal, but it didn’t come.

With 2:50 left, Havey got into the circle, but had the ball knocked away.

Two minutes later, Freeport played a long shot into the circle which trickled through Gerry, who kicked it out.

With 20 seconds left, Plummer intercepted a pass and dribbled the ball upfield, running out the clock, and Lake Region celebrated its 1-0 victory.

“When you don’t hustle, you just get beaten to the ball,” Wood said. “(Lake Region’s) a very aggressive team and they beat us to the ball. We play a controlled game, so when we play teams that are aggressive, we don’t know how to adjust. I was hoping we’d adjust and I think the second half was a little better, but it was difficult for us to play our game because they really packed it in and it was congested.”

Lake Region finished with a 6-5 edge in shots on cage and got five saves from Gerry.

Freeport got five saves from Sherbert and had a 7-3 advantage in penalty corners.

“It was hard for us to get our passing game going,” Wood said. “Last year, we relied on our big guys to save us. Now, we don’t have that. This was probably a good loss to have early in the season.”

All eyes on York

York is the team that everyone in the region measures itself against and both Freeport and Lake Region will see the undefeated Wildcats soon.

Lake Region is back in action Friday at improved Cape Elizabeth and next Thursday, the Lakers get their shot at York.

Freeport, meanwhile, goes to York Tuesday for its first of two scheduled meetings with the Wildcats. Next Thursday, the Falcons have another stern test when Fryeburg Academy pays a visit.

“We don’t play until Tuesday, so we’re going to take a little bit of a break,” Wood said. “We’re work on how to make ourselves more aggressive. The girls have been waiting patiently to play York. I hope they perform with more intensity. I think we’re a fantastic team, but it doesn’t show when we can’t play our game a certain way. We’re still figuring things out. Hopefully, this loss will refocus them. It’s time to step up.”

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

Freeport junior Ally Randall lunges for the ball in vain as Lake Region senior Julia Murch knocks it away.

Freeport junior Hannah Groves and Lake Region senior Kaitlyn Plummer battle for possession.

Freeport junior Hannah Groves tries to get past Lake Region senior Delaney Meserve.

Comments are not available on this story.