Freeport’s Kyla Havey reaches past Leavitt’s Daisy Twitchell during the Falcons’ 2-0 win in Wednesday’s Class B South quarterfinals. Eric Maxim / Times Record photos. More photos below.

FREEPORT—Marcia Wood was nervous.

And for good reason.

Her second-ranked Freeport Falcons figured to get a battle from No. 7 Leavitt in Wednesday evening’s Class B South field hockey quarterfinal at the Joan Benoit Samuelson Track and Field because the Falcons didn’t know a thing about the Hornets.

As it turned out, however, Wood and the Falcons had nothing to worry about, thanks to an opportunistic offense and a smothering defense which allowed Freeport to accomplish something last achieved in the first Clinton Administration.

With the Falcons holding Leavitt without a shot in the first half, sophomore Kyla Havey produced the only goal the hosts would need with 6:36 left before halftime.

With 16:43 to play, junior Sophia Silva added to the lead and the Hornets, who didn’t even muster a shot on goal until 5:40 remained, couldn’t answer as Freeport went on to a 2-0 victory.

The Falcons improved to 10-3-2 on the season, ended Leavitt’s year at 8-7, won a quarterfinal round game in successive years for the first time since 1995-96 and in the process, advanced to Saturday’s semifinal round where they’ll host No. 3 Fryeburg Academy (10-4-1) at 1 p.m.

“I was a nervous wreck all weekend,” said Wood. “I didn’t know anything about (Leavitt). I know they’re aggressive and we play a finesse game, so I didn’t know how we’d react. We found some game film on them, but it was on grass and we couldn’t really tell. It took us awhile to find out what we were up against.”

First step

Freeport is coming off its best season in nearly two decades, a campaign that fell one goal short of a first-ever trip to a Class B state final.

The Falcons were hard-hit by graduation, but hardly skipped a beat this autumn. Freeport started by blanking visiting Greely (5-0) and Poland (4-0), then, after tying host Fryeburg Academy (1-1) and falling at home to Lake Region (1-0) and at York (2-1), the Falcons got back on track with a 3-1 victory over Fryeburg, then blanked host Yarmouth (4-0) and dominated visiting Wells (7-2). The toughest loss of the season then ensued, as Freeport surrendered a tying goal to visiting York on a penalty corner after time expired, then lost in overtime, 2-1. The Falcons responded in fine form, however, winning at Greely (4-1), at Cape Elizabeth (4-0) and at St. Dom’s (4-2). After a 0-0 tie at Poland, Freeport closed with a 3-2 home win over Yarmouth.

The teams didn’t play in the regular season. They met just once before in the playoffs, a 4-0 Hornets’ victory in the 2014 Western B quarterfinals.

Wednesday, on a comfortable-for-late-October 57-degree evening, the Falcons, who had to rally from a two-goal deficit to win last year’s quarterfinal over Poland, made sure it carried play most of the game.

The first 20 minutes saw few opportunities, as Leavitt did manage one scrum in front of the Freeport goal without a shot, while the Falcons earned one penalty corner, but had nothing to show for it.

With 9:09 left before halftime, junior Autumn Golding looked to put the Falcons on top, as she took a pass from Havey, then fired a high shot which Hornets’ sophomore goalie Paige DeMascio had to swat away with her glove.

Freeport stayed on the attack and with 6:36 to go before halftime, out of a scrum in front, Havey, a swing player as a freshman, who has been clutch off the bench this season, managed to get her stick on the ball and steer it home for a 1-0 lead.

“It’s been exciting and fun,” said Havey. “It’s very different from last year. (That goal) meant a lot for me and the team. It gave us a cushion. I had one touch and it was just enough to get (the ball) through the goalie’s legs.”

“We’ve worked on getting aggressive and being first to the ball, getting a touch and figuring out what to do after that,” Wood said. “Kyla’s got a knack for being really feisty. She does a good job not giving up and getting her stick on the ball. We like having her as a spark off the bench.”

Two minutes later, Havey nearly doubled the lead, as she broke in on goal, but DeMascio came out and broke up the rush.

Later in the half, junior Aynslie Decker missed just wide and the Falcons played out a penalty corner after time expired, but had nothing to show for it.

In the first 30 minutes, Freeport had a 6-0 edge in shots and a 3-0 advantage in corners, but hadn’t yet put the game away.

The Falcons came out for the second half looking for an all-important second goal, but it would take awhile to produce it.

After Golding’s rush was broken up by DeMascio and a rebound bid from junior Ally Randall went just wide, junior Hannah Groves and Golding were each off-target with shots.

Then, with 16:43 to play, against out of a scrum, Silva managed to finish and put Freeport on top by two.

The Hornets finally generated some chances with 5:40 to play, as off a penalty corner, they forced Falcons’ senior goalie Piper Sherbert to make not one, but two consecutive saves.

Sherbert was able to do so and Freeport ran out the clock and celebrated its 2-0 victory.

“We all have trust in each other and we know how we play,” said junior defender Meredith Feller, who is also in a much bigger role this season after playing as a freshman and missing her sophomore season. “Having that in our mind kept us in it. We had the mindset that this could be our last game and we didn’t want it to be. Being able to start on varsity is just amazing. I love it. I wasn’t expecting to play such a big role.”

“The defense did it,” Wood said. “Meredith Feller did not play last year and she came out and was great. She was all over the field, stepping to the ball. (Senior) Rachel (Harmon) has been our solid defender. She can be the wall and Meredith can bring the ball up. I’ve been so impressed with her.”

The Falcons finished with an 8-2 shots advantage, got two saves from Sherbert and took five penalty corners to Leavitt’s one.

The Hornets got six saves from DeMascio.

Raiders roll in

Freeport and Fryeburg Academy have seen plenty of each other the past couple years.

This fall, the teams played to a 1-1 tie Sept. 9 in Fryeburg, then the Falcons prevailed at home, 3-1, 10 days later.

In last year’s semifinal round, Freeport won, 1-0, at Fryeburg, on Alexa Koenig’s overtime goal.

The Falcons would love nothing more than to reach the regional final for the second year in a row (something the program last managed to do in 1987-88), but they know it won’t be easy.

“It’ll be a tough one, but we just have to keep practicing our hardest,” said Havey.

“It’s amazing to play again on turf,” Feller said. “That’s our game. We play well here. We have to keep our intensity. That’s our mindset.”

“We had to fight for every Heal Point so we didn’t have to play on grass,” Wood added. “We’d much rather see (Fryeburg) here. We know they’ll be tough. They’re aggressive and quick to the ball. We hope we can score early and play like we did today and hold them off.”

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

Freeport’s Amelia Farrin tries to get past Leavitt’s Kayla Leclerc.

Freeport’s Ally Randall defends Leavitt’s Ginny Twitchell. 

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