Falmouth senior Faran Igani finishes third in the boys’ race at last weekend’s season opener vs. Westbrook. The Yachtsmen came in first as a team. Steve Craig / Portland Press Herald photo

It was a long time in coming, but the start of the fall sports season has been worth the wait.

While football and volleyball aren’t playing countable games this autumn, field hockey and soccer are and cross country and golf are also under way.

Here’s a glimpse:

Boys’ soccer

Falmouth and Yarmouth’s boys’ soccer teams are both defending state champions, while North Yarmouth Academy won a regional title a year ago. Those squads, along with Freeport and Greely, have either started play or were about to at press time.

Falmouth, which beat Lewiston, 5-2, to win a Class A state championship and finish 15-2-1 a year ago, played its first game Tuesday at Portland (see pressherald.com/forecaster-sports/ for game story). Saturday, the Yachtsmen welcome Yarmouth in the ancient rivals’ first countable meeting since the 2016 campaign.

Speaking of the Clippers, who blanked Caribou, 3-0, to go 15-0-3 last autumn and win a fifth Class B crown in six seasons, they began with a decisive 7-0 home victory over Mt. Ararat. Aidan Kamm scored in the 15th minute, but that was the only first half goal Yarmouth could muster. The Clippers then erupted in the second half, getting a pair of goals from Cam Merrill, Davis Young’s first career goal and goals from Sutter Augur, Will Cox and Steve Fulton as well.

Yarmouth returns to action Saturday at Falmouth (see pressherald.com/forecaster-sports/ for game story).
NYA, which lost, 2-1, to Central Aroostook in the Class D state final to wind up 9-8-2 last season, opened Saturday at home versus two-time defending Class C champion Waynflete. The Panthers mustered a goal on a penalty kick, but the Flyers prevailed, 5-1.

NYA hopes to get in the win column Thursday at St. Dom’s.

Greely, which went 10-3-4 in 2019, losing, 5-1, to Yarmouth in the Class B South Final, began its season Friday at longtime rival Cape Elizabeth. The Rangers surrendered two goals in the game’s first nine minutes, then settled down, but despite eight corner kick opportunities, couldn’t put the ball in the net and lost, 2-0.

“I did think we had better chances in the second half,” longtime Greely coach Mike Andreasen said. “We’re a young team. We just have to find the goal.

“It was nice to be out here playing. You just don’t know what will happen going forward.”

The Rangers hope to get in the win column Thursday when they host Freeport.

“Every game is a tough game for us,” Andreasen said. “We have Cape, Falmouth, Freeport and Yarmouth. There are no easy ones.”

Freeport, the 2018 Class B South champion, which went 9-4-3 in 2019, falling, 2-0, at Yarmouth in the semifinals, plays its first game Thursday at Greely. Saturday, the Falcons welcome Brunswick, in the teams’ first-ever countable game. Tuesday of next week, Freeport hosts another unfamiliar foe, Mt. Ararat.

Girls’ soccer

Waynflete senior Abby Shumway plays the ball while NYA junior Jazzy Huntsman defends. Shumway would score the Flyers’ lone goal, but Huntsman’s tally, with 3:58 left, gave the Panthers a 2-1 victory. Michael Hoffer / For The Forecaster

On the girls’ side, two-time defending Class D champion NYA (which beat Penobscot Valley, 1-0, to wind up 16-2 last fall) started its season in memorable style Friday, rallying to knock off visiting Waynflete. After a scoreless first half, the Panthers fell behind early in the second half, but Angel Huntsman tied the score with a penalty kick,.

“I’m not the best shooter, but Coach knew I was confident,” Huntsman said. “I was thinking left corner and that’s where I put it. I hit it the way I wanted to.”

Then, with 3:58 to go in regulation, Hunstman set up her sister, Jazzy Huntsman, for the winning tally and NYA prevailed, 2-1.

“I saw (the ball) coming across and I just thought, ‘Get it in the net,’” said Jazzy Huntsman, of her go-ahead goal. “I thought Rylie (McIntyre) would get it, but it got past her knee and I just focused on hitting it into the net. I just wanted to get my foot on it. It felt great.

“We picked it up in the second half,. We’ve worked on conditioning and we needed it. Waynflete’s a good team. We’re here to play for the NYA name. We have a lot of pride. We want to show everyone what we’ve got.”

“It was awesome to play a game,” said Angel Huntsman. “I didn’t think we’d have a season. It was a great day to play.”

“It’s amazing to be out here,” added Panthers’ coach Ricky Doyon. “You could see in both teams’ faces, they wanted to be out here and have some normalcy. This is always a battle. Waynflete moved the ball really well compared to the past couple years. They’re more finesse and did a good job. They took our normal pressure and used that against us. We needed a few adjustments.”

NYA plays again Thursday at Morse, then visits Sacopee Valley Monday.

“We have a lot of pride,” said Doyon. “It’s a great group. We’re having fun. Every game, we play like it’s our last, because we don’t know what might happen.”

Yarmouth also opened with a win, 3-1, Saturday at Mt. Ararat. The Clippers, who went 13-3-1 a year ago, losing, 3-0, to Cape Elizabeth in the Class B South Final, got goals from Ava Feeley, Macy Gilroy and Kadin Davoren.

Yarmouth hosts Falmouth Wednesday in a countable game for the first time since 2016 (see pressherald.com/forecaster-sports/ for game story).

Greely, which went 7-8-1 in 2019, losing, 6-0, to Cape Elizabeth in the Class B South quarterfinals, started with a 5-0 home loss to the two-time defending Class B champion Capers. The Rangers look to get in the win column Thursday at Freeport. Tuesday of next week, Greely goes to Falmouth.

Falmouth, which went 9-4-3 last season, losing, 1-0, to eventual regional champion Scarborough in the Class A South quarterfinals, opens Wednesday at Yarmouth, then plays host to Greely Tuesday of next week.

Freeport, which went 11-4-1 last season, losing, 4-0, to Cape Elizabeth in the Class B South semifinals, plays its first game Thursday at home versus Greely. The Falcons visit Brunswick in a first-time-ever countable contest Saturday, then go to Mt. Ararat Tuesday of next week.

Field hockey

Yarmouth’s field hockey team began with an impressive 4-1 victory at Cape Elizabeth. The Clippers, who went 6-8-1 last season, losing, 2-0, to Fryeburg Academy in the Class B South quarterfinals, welcomed new coach Molly Saunders this fall. Saunders played in New Hampshire and previously coached at the University of New England and earned a win in her debut.

Lizzie Guertler scored a first half goal for Yarmouth, but the Clippers and Capers were tied, 1-1, entering the fourth period, where Yarmouth’s offense roared to life. Twice, Guertler set up Abby Hill for goals, then, late in regulation, Anna Pires scored as well and the Clippers earned a 4-1 triumph.

“We just want to play our hardest,” Guertler said. “That hasn’t changed. We want to win and play our best. The seniors want to go out and do well. It’s been a long time, so it was nice to play. It’s been great having (Saunders) as a new coach. She’s let us show her what Yarmouth’s all about and she’s come in and brought new stuff which has made us better.”

“There are definitely a lot of obstacles, but our girls have come together and have followed the guidelines well,” said Saunders. “We’re just so grateful to be out here playing again. Typically in a preseason, you get two to three (practice) sessions a day for two weeks and we’ve had probably eight practices total. It’s been something to get used to, but we’re learning and looking forward to having a fun year.”

Yarmouth is back in action Wednesday at Falmouth.

“Winning is definitely a plus, but right now, we’re just looking to make memories,” Saunders said. “We have 15 seniors. Giving them something to remember the rest of their lives is my goal.”

Falmouth, which wound up 7-9 in 2019 after a 3-1 loss at Gorham in the Class A South quarterfinals, opens the 2020 campaign Wednesday at home versus Yarmouth. After playing at Westbrook Friday, the Yachtsmen visit Cheverus Tuesday of next week.

Freeport, which is coming off a 10-4-2 season, which ended with a 3-2, double-overtime loss to Fryeburg Academy in the Class B South semifinals, opens at Brunswick Wednesday. The teams have never before played a countable game. The Falcons visit in another first-ever countable meeting with Mt. Ararat Saturday.

Greely, which missed the playoffs last year with a 5-9 mark, welcome new coach (and one-time star player) Burgess LePage Wednesday at home against Cape Elizabeth. The Rangers then welcome NYA Friday.

NYA, a 5-10 team in 2019, which lost, 5-2, to Wells in the Class C South quarterfinals, began its season Tuesday at home versus St. Dom’s. The Panthers go to Greely Friday.

Cross country

Greely’s Abby Irish heads toward a first-place finish during Friday’s meet versus North Yarmouth Academy. The Rangers were first as a team. John Jensenius / For The Forecaster

The cross country season got underway last weekend.

Greely met NYA and the Rangers’ girls had the top five individual finishers for the team victory. Abby Irish was the top individual (finishing the course in 22 minutes, 2 seconds). Greely also won the boys’ meet, as Sam Wilson was first individually in 17:35.

Freeport and Maine Coast Waldorf opened against each other. The Falcons won the boys’ meet by a single point, as Martin Horne was first individually in 16:25.76. In the girls’ meet, MCW was first and was paced by individual champion Olivia Reynolds (19:45.40).

Yarmouth hosted Gray-New Gloucester. The Clippers boys were first as a team. Colin Senger was second individually (17:48). The Yarmouth girls also placed first and featured individual winner Maddie Marston (21:24.90).

Falmouth opened against Westbrook and swept the Blue Blazes. The boys’ team was led by individual winner Ben Greene (16:51.60). The girls’ squad also had the top individual in Sofie Marston (18:24.10).

Golf

Falmouth’s golf team opened with a 7-6 loss to Scarborough.

Freeport defeated Poland in its first match, with a stroke total of 160 to the Knights’ 211. The Falcons hosted NYA Tuesday.

Greely started with an 8.5-4.5 loss to Gorham, then defeated Windham, 11-2.

Yarmouth beat NYA in the teams’ mutual opener, 5.5-1.5.

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

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