Freeport senior goalkeeper Leah Rusiecki leaps to knock away a Yarmouth corner kick during Saturday’s showdown. The Clippers earned a 1-0 victory.

FREEPORT—The Clippers read the scouting report and reacted accordingly.

Saturday afternoon at the Joan Benoit Samuelson Track and Field, Yarmouth’s girls’ soccer team faced the daunting task of trying to slow a Freeport squad which scored seven goals Thursday night behind senior standout Rachel Wall and freshman sensation Rosie Panenka.

And the Clippers didn’t just slow the Falcons, they stopped them in their tracks.

While earning a confidence-building victory in the process.

Yarmouth carried play much of the way, as senior defenders Noni Lorentzen, Emma Moll, Madison Williams and Gabby Thibodeau, one day shy of her 18th birthday, consistently stopped Freeport offensive forays in their tracks, but the Clippers, despite some good chances, weren’t able to score themselves.

That all changed midway through the second half when Moll set up sophomore Ava Feeley for the go-ahead goal.

Yarmouth, once it had the lead, wasn’t about to relinquish it and the Clippers slammed the door from there on a 1-0 victory.

Yarmouth improved to 4-3, swept the Falcons this fall and in the process, dropped Freeport to 2-4.

“This was a total team effort all around, from kids who played five (minutes), to kids who played 80,” said Clippers coach Andy Higgins. “It was good to see. We’re finally hitting our stride and figuring things out.”

Hitting their stride

Freeport started with a 4-0 setback at Bunswick, then defeated host Mt. Ararat (5-3). The Falcons then lost at Yarmouth (2-0) and at Mt. Ararat (2-1) before roaring to life to erase an early three-goal deficit in Thursday’s 7-3 home win over Greely, as Wall scored four goals and Panenka added three.

Yarmouth, meanwhile, started with a 3-1 victory at Mt. Ararat, then lost at home to Falmouth (1-0), fell at Greely in double-overtime (3-2) and after a 2-0 home win over Freeport, dropped a 2-0 decision at Falmouth. Wednesday, the Clippers got back on track by downing visiting North Yarmouth Academy, 3-1.

In the teams’ first meeting, Oct. 15, Feeley and sophomore Grace Lestage scored for the Clippers and the Falcons couldn’t find the net.

Entering play Saturday, Yarmouth had won 20 of 24 meetings this century with Freeport winning three times and the teams settling for one draw (see below for recent results).

Saturday, on a pleasant 61-degree evening, which featured some occasional drizzle, it quickly became evident that the Falcons would struggle to earn optimal scoring opportunities and that the Clippers would likely have to only finish once to prevail.

Yarmouth’s first scoring chance came in the fifth minute, but Freeport senior goalkeeper Leah Rusiecki denied a shot from junior Katelyn D’Appolnia.

Rusiecki then went way up to stop a shot from Feeley, saved a bid from D’Appolonia, then punched away a Clippers’ corner kick.

In the 25th minute, the Falcons got their first good look, but on a free kick just outside the box, senior captain Carly Intraversato sent a shot just high.

Late in the half, after Rusiecki saved a free kick by Thibodeau, Panenka wasn’t able to put a shot on frame and after Feeley just missed after a nice spin move, senior Parker Harnett looked to give Yarmouth the lead, but after getting the ball from Feeley, she was robbed point-blank by Rusiecki and the game went to the break scoreless.

The Clippers had all five of the first half’s shots on frame, but the game hung in the balance as the second half commenced.

Each team failed to convert on a great scoring chance early in the second half.

With 37:35 to play in regulation, Yarmouth nearly broke through, when D’Appolnia got to a free kick from Moll, but Rusiecki leaped, got a piece of the ball and sent it bouncing off the crossbar and after the rebound was cleared, the game remained tied.

With 35:55 on the clock, Wall finally broke free and ran down the right side, drew the defense and crossed the ball through the box all the way to freshman Taryn Curry at the back post, but Curry couldn’t get a clean touch on the ball and sent it just wide of the mark.

After Yarmouth freshman Kadie Davoren missed high and sophomore Macy Gilroy shot wide, the Falcons were frustrated as Clippers’ senior goalkeeper Kate Siegel beat Panenka to Wall’s through ball, Panenka had a shot saved by Siegel and Wall got into the box and after having the ball knocked away by a defender, got it back, but shot just wide.

Then, with 20:48 remaining, Yarmouth got the game’s lone goal in the blink of an eye.

Moll set it up with a long feed ahead to Feeley, who got behind the defense and after Rusiecki came out to contest, Feeley dribbled around the keeper, ran the ball down, then sent it into the net for a 1-0 Clippers’ lead.

“That was a beautiful ball from Emma,” Feeley said. “I have to give all the credit to her. I knew (Leah) would come out. She’s a really good goalie. I knew if I touched it around her, I’d have a chance. I just got to it and had to stay composed and tucked it in.”

“The big ball over the top from Emma to Ava was big,” said Higgins. “We tried to find feet and that brought them up a little bit and Emma played a great ball to Ava, who made a great run and tucked it in.”

“We had three girls on the ball, a little miscommunication, so the numbers weren’t there and Ava took it down the middle and scored,” lamented Freeport coach David Intraversato. “She’s a good player.”

Freeport hoped to answer, but Siegel batted away a corner kick, Seigel made an easy save on a long shot from junior Riley Simon, Wall had a rush broken up by multiple defenders and Curry shot wide.

Yarmouth then kept possession and ran out the clock on its 1-0 victory.

“I was very nervous at first because I could tell they would press really hard,” Thibodeau said. “We had to stay composed and stay connected. We’ve been realizing we need to be really positive throughout the entire game. We communicate and we always support one another. We stepped to the ball and had a great line of communication.”

The Clippers ended with an 8-3 edge in shots on frame, got three saves from Siegel and took four corner kicks to Freeport’s one.

They also put on a clinic in defending a prolific offense.

“We knew (Rachel’s) a strong player and she moves the ball really well, so we wanted to shut her down, keep one defender in front of her and one behind, so she couldn’t do much,” D’Appolonia said. “Our defense is really strong and can step to the ball.”

“I can’t say enough about the overall defending of the team, especially the back four with (Katelyn) sitting in front of them,” Higgins said. “They really locked it down. We were nervous coming in. Rachel Wall’s an absolute handful up top. She works so hard, then they have Rosie, who scored three goals the other night.

“We had to focus on defense. We had a lot of pressure up the field, which gave us time to get back and get organized, then Emma, Noni, Madison and Gabby, with D’App sitting in front locked it down. It was fun to watch them. They really grew a bit tonight. That was fun to see. They handled the pressure really well. Their rotation was great and their movement to support each other was great. That was obviously a huge key for us today.”

The Falcons got seven saves from Rusiecki, but couldn’t generate the offense needed to knock off their rival.

“Yarmouth’s tough,” said David Intraversato. “They’re strong in the back and they have upperclassmen and their maturity shows. They’re a rival, so it was a big game for the girls. We’ve played a lot of one-goal games against them. It seems like they’re always down to the wire. We had four good scoring opportunities in this game. We played well.”

Games to come

Freeport visits Greely Tuesday and Gray-New Gloucester Thursday of next week, then closes at home versus Brunswick Nov. 4 and at Waynflete Nov. 7.

“We want to win a game at Greely,” David Intraversato said. “We’ll try to finish strong and keep building.”

Yarmouth has three home games remaining, versus Mt. Ararat Tuesday, two-time defending Class B champion Cape Elizabeth Thursday and Greely Saturday.

“We don’t have many games left, but we have really good team chemistry,” said D’Appolonia. “We lose a lot of seniors, but it’s good to get the underclassmen up and to play everybody.

“If we keep working hard, we’ll do well, but Cape will be a tough one,” said Feeley.

“Cape’s just ridiculous,” Higgins added. “It’s a shame things are slowing down, because we’re finally playing how we want to play and moving the ball the way we want to, but we’re playing and we have to be thankful for every chance we get.”

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

Recent Yarmouth-Freeport results

2020
@ Yarmouth 2 Freeport 0

2019
Freeport 1 @ Yarmouth 0
Yarmouth 1 @ Freeport 0

2018
Freeport 1 @ Yarmouth 0
Class B South quarterfinal
@ Yarmouth 3 Freeport 2

2017
Yarmouth 4 @ Freeport 2

2016
@ Yarmouth 5 Freeport 0
Yarmouth 6 @ Freeport 0

2015
@ Yarmouth 3 Freeport 0

2014
Yarmouth 4 @ Freeport 2

2013
@ Yarmouth 1 Freeport 0
Western B quarterfinals
Freeport 1 @ Yarmouth 0

2012
@ Freeport 1 Yarmouth 1 (tie)

2011
Yarmouth 2 @ Freeport 1

2010
Yarmouth 2 @ Freeport 1
@ Yarmouth 2 Freeport 1

2009
Yarmouth 6 @ Freeport 0

2008
Yarmouth 6 @ Freeport 3

2007
@ Yarmouth 4 Freeport 0

2006
Yarmouth 4 @ Freeport 1

2005
@ Yarmouth 3 Freeport 1
Western B quarterfinals
@ Yarmouth 5 Freeport 0

2004
Yarmouth 2 @ Freeport 1 (2 OT)

2003
Yarmouth 4 @ Freeport 1

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