FREEPORT — If Freeport wants to return to the Class B boys high school soccer State

Freeport’s Jesse Bennell (10) works past York’s Hunter Savarese during the second half of Tuesday’s Western Maine Conference boys high school soccer game at Joan Benoit Samuelson Track and Field in Freeport. Bennell scored a goal as the Falcons edged the Wildcats, 2-1. (Eric Maxim / The Times Record)

Championship, they will need to surpass some stiff competition in the South region. With a pair of 1-0 losses as the only two blemishes on the season, the Falcons looked to avenge one of them on Tuesday.

Will Winter converted a penalty kick with 2:39 remaining in the game to break a 1-1 tie to lift the Falcons to a 2-1 victory over York in a Western Maine Conference clash at Joan Benoit Samuelson Track and Field.

The Falcons avenged the one-goal loss to the Wildcats earlier in the season to improve to 7-2-2. York dropped to 4-5-1.

“This was one of our spirit games, so we wanted to do well for our fans, they’ve been great to us last season and again this season,” Winter said. “We didn’t have the best first half, but we pulled it together and probably played some of our best soccer in the last 20 minutes of the game and that’s when we got our two goals. We got contributions from everyone on the team today.”

“We definitely rallied in the second half. We weren’t happy with our first-half performance. We talked about it at halftime and knew we needed to stay positive and lift our teammates up and grind out a win,” added a smiling Freeport senior Jesse Bennell.

It wasn’t all smiles for the home team as York began to build momentum in the first half. After a relatively quiet first 20 minutes of the frame, York’s Quenton Convery and Rhys Evans put pressure on the Falcons defense, winning the 50-50 balls at midfield and helped maintain possession for a better part of the half. York’s eagerness to push the ball upfield resulted in five offsides whistles in the opening frame.

Freeport’s Keigan Shea (3) slips in front of York’s Dillon Brodsky during the first half of Tuesday’s Western Maine Conference boys high school soccer game at Joan Benoit Samuelson Track and Field in Freeport. The Falcons edged the Wildcats, 2-1. (Eric Maxim / The Times Record)

The Falcons did however have a pair of opportunities in the first half, including an Owen Howarth pass to Winter that was stopped by York keeper Alex Neilson. And again, with just over five minutes remaining in the half, Aiden Gallagher knocked a free kick at the net, but Neilson was there to bat the ball away for the save.

The game remained scoreless at the half as York outshot the Falcons 3-2, with Freeport’s Gabe Wagner making all three saves in goal.

“We have a really young team. We have a lot of players playing positions that are pretty new to them,” York coach Julie Johnson said. “I think in the first half, (our players) were really disciplined about what their role is in their positions. When we are disciplined, and everyone does what they are supposed to do, we are a really good team.”

Second half scoring

York registered the game’s first goal with 33:15 remaining when Dillon Brodsky sent a ball towards the net. Wagner cleared the shot, but when trying to clear the ball, Winter’s header went behind him and bounced into the net for an own goal.

Freeport came close to evening the score when a loose ball in front was kicked around many times before ending up in the arms of Neilson for one of his five second-half saves.

“He’s a field player, we’ve convinced him to play goal for us. He’s one of our best forwards on the field, but he’s also our best player in net for us,” Johnson said. “He’s been great for us all year and shows us every game how important he is to our team.”

Freeport’s Cameron Strong (9) moves around York’s Quenton Convery during Tuesday’s Western Maine Conference boys high school soccer game at Joan Benoit Samuelson Track and Field in Freeport. The Falcons edged the Wildcats, 2-1. (Eric Maxim / The Times Record)

The Falcons tied the game with their first goal against the Wildcats in two-and-a-half games when Bennell knocked home a rebound off a Winter shot for the equalizer.

“I had taken a touch around my defender and then tried to hit it far post, looking for a rebound, maybe hoping it may go in,” Winter said. “It came right out, and Jesse put it away with a good finish.”

“One of the players tried to clear it after it hit the goalie, I thought he was going to get there first, but he didn’t, and I just snuck it in the corner,” Bennell said.

The goal was a team effort from the beginning according to Strong.

“Finn (Sheehan) made it happen by playing through the midfield and getting it behind to Will, it was a great effort,” Strong said. “Will is so dangerous out wide with his speed and technical abilities. Anytime he gets the ball at his feet, we’re a dangerous team.”

Five minutes later, a penalty kick was awarded to Freeport after Neilson was called for making contact with a Freeport player without the ball. Strong called Winter’s number, and the senior forward blasted it to the back of the net to break the tie.

Freeport’s Damon Butler (24) defends alongside York’s Josh Gennaro during Tuesday’s WMC boys soccer class. (Eric Maxim / The Times Record)

“York completely outplayed us for 60-70 minutes, but I think maybe (our players) were feeling a little desperation and they turned it on.” Strong said. “We did change our formation in the second half with putting three guys up top as it opened the midfield for us. It’s the most players we’ve used in a game this year. We were just trying to find a solution and answer to what York was playing. Some guys stepped up for us and that’s good to see.”

Freeport, which currently sits fourth in the Class B South Heal Point Standings, travels to top-seeded Yarmouth, the other 1-0 Falcons loss, on Thursday (7 p.m.) and Fryeburg on Oct. 15, before concluding the regular season at home on Oct. 19 against Cape Elizabeth (3:30 p.m.).

Comments are not available on this story.