FREEPORT—Freeport was opportunistic and Yarmouth was unlucky.

And as a result, Wednesday evening’s field hockey contest at the Joan Benoit Samuelson Track and Field produced a final score that was in no way symbolic of how close these teams really are.

A week-and-a-half after their game in Yarmouth was decided with 3.2 seconds to go, when the Falcons won on senior Ally Randall’s goal off a penalty corner, the Clippers came out fired up, seeking revenge, but couldn’t put the ball in the cage and late in the first quarter, Randall scored on another rebound off a corner for a 1-0 lead.

Yarmouth had its chances to answer in the second period, but again couldn’t finish and with 1:42 let before halftime, Randall again scored on a rebound off a corner and if that wasn’t devastating enough to the Clippers’ cause, Randall completed her trick 31 seconds later for a 3-0 halftime advantage.

Yarmouth had four corners and hit the post in the third quarter, but couldn’t cut into the deficit and with 8:04 to play, senior Hannah Groves put it away for Freeport with a transition goal. Junior Kyla Havey then added a goal in the final minute and the Falcons closed out a 5-0 victory.

The Falcons won their sixth game in a row, improved to 6-1 and in the process, dropped the Clippers to 4-3.

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“Coming in, I said to the girls, ‘(Yarmouth) is out to get you. They want to win,'” Freeport coach Marcia Wood said. “It’s a nice rivalry. They wanted redemption. They did a good job pressuring us. We had to adjust.”

Always a battle

Freeport and Yarmouth have engaged in some down-to-the-wire thrillers in recent years, none more dramatic than the meeting Oct. 10 in Yarmouth, when Randall played the hero in a 2-1 victory.

Each team has had an eventful, albeit abbreviated season.

Freeport opened with a 1-0 loss at Mt. Ararat, then caught fire, downing host Brunswick (3-1), edging Yarmouth in that thriller, then downing visiting Cape Elizabeth (5-0), Mt. Ararat (2-0) and Greely (2-1).

The Clippers, under new coach Molly Saunders, began their season with a 4-1 win at Cape Elizabeth, then lost at Falmouth (2-1), beat visiting South Portland (5-2) and dropped a home heartbreaker to Freeport before twice blanking Gray-New Gloucester, 5-0, in Gray and 6-0 at home.

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The Clippers had won eight of 14 meetings since the teams started playing regularly in 2010 (see below for previous results), but Freeport had captured the past five.

Wednesday, on a 54-degree evening, that featured a hint of fog and some drizzle, the Clippers sought their first win over the Falcons since sweeping them in 2016, but Freeport got all the break.

A little over a minute in, Yarmouth senior Lizzie Guertler had a good look, but Freeport junior goalie Victoria Balla made the save.

Senior Winnie Leahy was then denied by Balla.

Freeport’s first chance saw Randall, then Groves denied by Clippers junior Cassie Walsh, but on the play, the Falcons earned a penalty stroke and appeared primed to go on top.

Senior Autumn Golding did the honors, but her shot was denied by Walsh and it appeared Yarmouth had all the momentum.

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It lasted all of three minutes, until Freeport got the only goal it would need with 3:09 left in the first quarter.

The goal came off a corner, as after Walsh stopped a shot by Havey, Randall whacked the rebound into the net for a 1-0 advantage.

In the final minute of the frame, Balla robbed junior Cat Jordan right in front and the Falcons held a one-goal advantage after one period.

The second quarter was more of the same.

Dangerous Yarmouth senior Abby Hill had a great look 35 seconds in, but her backhanded shot was denied by Balla.

Senior Hannah Swift then looked to tie it up, but her shot was wide.

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Late in the half, Freeport got some breathing room.

Courtesy Randall.

First, with 1:42 remaining, off a corner and a Walsh save on a shot by Groves, Randall again buried the rebound for a 2-0 lead.

“It honestly depends on the corner we decide to do, but usually I stay up top for a shot, or go in a little bit and get ready for the rebound,” Randall said.

“Once we get our first goal, we kind of have a good flow, but until we have that, it’s a bit of a panic,” Wood said.

Then, with 1:11 to go, on senior Sydney Silva’s shot from up top, Randall tipped the ball past Walsh and into the cage for a 3-0 advantage.

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“Sydney had the shot and I happened to tip it past the goalie,” Randall said. “I wanted the hat trick.”

The goal gave Randall at least one hat trick in every high school season, a most impressive feat indeed.

“Ally’s a fighter,” Wood said. “She keeps her eye on the ball. I think she’s one of the smartest players I’ve ever had. She just gets it. She made three solid on clears on defense tonight too. She has a knack to keep her stick on the ball. She works very well in small places and can get her feet out of the way.”

Yarmouth had four shots on frame and took four penalty corners in the first half, but had nothing to show for it and the Clippers’ frustration would only grow in the third quarter.

First, Guertler couldn’t quite reach Hill’s pass on the doorstep.

After Leahy shot wide, Hill blew through the defense and rushed in, but her promising shot rang off the post and Freeport was still up three goals heading to the fourth period.

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There, after Balla denied Guertler point blank and Hill was robbed by Balla after eluding a pair of defenders, the Falcons put it away.

With 8:04 to go, Groves got free, went on a rush of her own and sent a shot past Walsh for a 4-0 lead.

Then, with 55 seconds on the clock, Havey had a nice rush and while falling, managed to send the ball into the cage to bring the curtain down on Freeport’s 5-0 victory.

“We were expecting a competitive game, because the last game came down to the end,” Randall said. “We knew we had to be composed on defense and not be frantic and get the ball out.”

“We play a little frantic on defense, but we come up big when we need to,” Wood said.

The Falcons out-shot the Clippers, 9-6, on frame and got six saves from Hill.

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Yarmouth got four saves from Walsh and had a 11-5 advantage on penalty corners, but couldn’t convert any of them, or find the cage on any other shots.

“We totally believed until the last minute that we could have come back,” Saunders said. “It was just one of those games. We came out in the first quarter ready to go. We had a lot of close opportunities, but luck just wasn’t on our side tonight.”

Just a little time left

It’s been fun while it’s lasted, but the 2020 fall sports season is coming to a close.

Yarmouth has two games remaining, both versus Greely, at the Rangers Monday and home against them Wednesday of next week.

“We just want to finish strong,” Saunders said.

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Senior-laden Freeport is back in action Friday at Cape Elizabeth, then goes to Gray-New Gloucester Monday and closes at home against Brunswick Wednesday of next week.

“We just want to keep it together as a family, because when we’re on the field, everything around us is no problem,” said Randall. “It’s just us, playing our game and not worrying about anything else.”

“I said to the girls, ‘I know you guys were dying to play together one more season, so enjoy it,'” Wood said. “‘Over-emphasize some of the cheering. We can’t hug or high-five, but maybe we can do a dance after a goal.’

“We have to make it fun at this point. We only have one week left. It was short and sweet, but we’re happy to be playing.”

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

Recent Freeport-Yarmouth results

2020
Freeport 2 @ Yarmouth 1

2019
Freeport 4 @ Yarmouth 0
@Freeport 3 Yarmouth 2

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2018
Freeport 6 @ Yarmouth 0

2017
@ Freeport 3 Yarmouth 2

2016
Yarmouth 5 @ Freeport 0
@ Yarmouth 5 Freeport 0

2015
@ Yarmouth 2 Freeport 0

2014
Yarmouth 2 @ Freeport 0 

2013
@ Freeport 3 Yarmouth 2
@ Yarmouth 2 Freeport 0

2012
@ Yarmouth 1 Freeport 0

2011
Yarmouth 2 @ Freeport 1

2010
@ Yarmouth 1 Freeport 0

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