BOX SCORE

Falmouth 13 Windham 12 (OT)

W- 6 6 0- 12
F- 7 5 1- 13

First half
24:43 W Yale (unassisted)
22:47 W McKenna (free position)
18:43 F Ginevan (Stucker)
14:18 W Black (free position)
13:23 F Ginevan (unassisted)
12:46 F Adams (Taylor)
11:19 F Adams (Clement)
10:16 W Yale (free position)
9:37 F Clement (unassisted)
7:50 F Stucker (Ginevan)
6:01 W McKenna (unassisted)
4:23 F Adams (unassisted)
3:54 W Beem (unassisted)

Second half
24:38 F Ginevan (Clement)
22:44 F Taylor (Ginevan)
21:04 F Blakeman (Taylor)
19:59 W Yale (free position)
19:32 W Yale (unassisted)
14:09 W Babb (unassisted)
11:15 F Adams (free position)
10:49 W Beem (unassisted)
9:37 F Adams (unassisted)
7:45 W Black (Yale)
6:39 W Hennessy (Beem)

Overtime
2:19 F Clement (Ginevan)

Goals:
W- Yale 4, Beem, Black, McKenna 2, Babb, Hennessy 1
F- Adams 5, Ginevan 3, Clement 2, Blakeman, Stucker, Taylor 1

Assists:
W- Beem, Yale 1
F- Ginevan 3, Clement, Taylor 2, Stucker 1

Draws (Windham, 18-9)
W- McCusker 16 of 24, Beem 2 of 3
F- Ginevan 5 of 13, Clement 3 of 9, Taylor 1 of 5

Ground balls:
W- 41
F- 38

Turnovers:
W- 25
F- 14

Shots:
W- 22
F- 29

Shots on cage:
W- 19
F- 22

Saves:
W (Carper) 9
F (Riley) 7

FALMOUTH—The three-peat hopes of the Falmouth girls’ lacrosse team are still alive.

Barely.

Tuesday evening, Falmouth, the two-time reigning state champion, got pushed to the brink but pushed back and found a way to prevail over valiant Windham in an instant classic Class A North Final.

The second-ranked Eagles, who beat No. 1 Falmouth during the regular season, but due to the vagaries of the Heal Points system, had to travel for the regional final, shot to a quick 2-0 lead on goals from seniors Emma Yale and Julia McKenna and after sophomore standout Sloane Ginevan got Falmouth on the board, again went up by two when junior Molly Black converted a free position.

But Falmouth kicked it up a notch and went on top for the first time, as Ginevan scored a second goal, then unheralded junior Whitney Adams added a pair for a 4-3 lead.

Yale tied it up on a free position, but senior star Eva Clement and freshman Peaches Stucker answered to put Falmouth ahead by two.

Late in the first half, McKenna and senior Riley Beem sandwiched goals around a tally from Adams and Falmouth clung to a 7-6 advantage at the break.

When Ginevan, sophomore Lucy Taylor and senior Abby Blakeman scored early in the second half, Falmouth’s lead was four and it threatened to pull away, but Windham refused to buckle.

Yale scored twice in 27 seconds to spark the comeback and junior Isabella Babb added a goal to cut the deficit to one.

Adams answered, but Beem scored to again make it a one-goal game.

Adams’ fifth goal, with 9:51 to play gave Falmouth a two-goal lead, but Black scored with 7:45 on the clock and with 6:39 to go, senior Riley Hennessy scored to pull the Eagles even.

Down the stretch, each team had chances to win but couldn’t do so and the contest went to a three-minute, “sudden victory” overtime.

Where Falmouth never gave Windham a chance to advance.

The Eagles dominated in the draw circle most of the game, but Clement won possession to start OT, then, 41 seconds in, Clement took a pass from Ginevan and scored to allow Falmouth to prevail, 13-12, survive and advance.

Falmouth improved to 12-3, ended Windham’s excellent season at 12-3 and in the process, advanced to meet powerhouse Kennebunk (15-0) in the Class A state final Friday at 5 p.m., at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

“This one is special because we didn’t get to play last year,” said Falmouth coach Ashley Pullen. “Over half of this team is new. We have a winning tradition here, but so many of these girls hadn’t experienced it. For me, one of the most fun parts is seeing the younger girls experience winning for the first time.”

As expected

Falmouth and Windham were the preseason favorites in Class A North and quickly lived up to billing this spring.

The Eagles started in dramatic fashion, holding off visiting Falmouth, 11-9. Next came wins at Cape Elizabeth (13-3) and Westbrook (16-1), at home over Lake Region (17-5) and Lewiston (18-7) and at Bonny Eagle (20-7). Windham lost at Kennebunk (17-4), but bounced back to knock off host Thornton Academy (16-4) before suffering a 12-9 home loss to Scarborough. The Eagles then closed the regular season with victories at home over Cheverus (16-5) and Portland (16-6) and at Massabesic (15-13).

Windham had no problem with seventh-ranked Cheverus in the quarterfinals (15-1), or No. 3 Oxford Hills in the semifinals (20-7).

Falmouth, meanwhile, opened with a with a 14-3 home win over Gorham and after a hard-fought 11-9 setback at Windham, responded by downing host Portland (17-2) and Massabesic (12-6) and visiting Greely (14-4), Thornton Academy (5-3) and Cape Elizabeth (10-5). Falmouth then nearly erased a six-goal deficit before losing at Yarmouth, 12-10, then bounced back for a 15-3 win at Lewiston. After falling at home to Kennebunk in a slugfest, 17-11, Falmouth rolled at Cheverus, 15-2, before wrapping up the regular season with a dramatic 11-10 overtime home win over Scarborough.

Falmouth had no trouble with its first two playoff foes, blanking No. 8 Edward Little (13-0) in the quarterfinals and eliminating No. 4 Lewiston (14-3) in the semifinals.

In the teams’ first meeting, back on April 19, Beem and McKenna each scored four goals to allow Windham to hold off Falmouth, which got five goals from Ginevan.

The teams had met in the playoffs twice before, Falmouth victories in the 2018 Class A North semifinals (10-5) and the 2019 Class A North Final (13-6).

Tuesday, under 68-degree skies which threatened to open with rain, thunder or lightning at any point, not only did the weather hold off, but Falmouth was able to do just enough to hold off the Eagles and move on to the state final once more.

Windham junior Sidney McCusker set the tone by winning the opening draw and just 17 seconds into the game, Yale beat Falmouth sophomore goalie Patty Riley for a quick lead.

After Blakeman missed just wide in an attempt to tie it, McKenna earned a free position and converted with 22:47 to play in the first half for a 2-0 advantage.

Falmouth then looked to get back in it, but Eagles senior goalie Logan Carper denied Taylor, Ginevan missed on consecutive shots, then Ginevan had a pair of bids denied by Carper.

Finally, with 18:43 to go in the half, Ginevan took a pass from Stucker and scored to get Falmouth going.

The hosts then looked to tie it, but Ginevan missed high, Blakeman shot wide and Carper robbed Taylor. Riley kept the deficit at one by denying both Yale and Babb, but with 14:18 remaining in the half, Black scored on a free position to give Windham a 3-1 lead.

Falmouth answered right back 55 seconds later, as Ginevan pounced on a loose ball, then shot and scored.

With 12:46 to go before halftime, after senior captain C.C. Cohen forced a turnover at one end, Falmouth tied it in transition at the other, as Taylor set up Adams for her first goal.

Then, with 11:19 left, Clement fed Adams for a goal and Falmouth’s first lead, 4-3.

Taylor threatened to add to it seconds later, but Carper made another clutch save.

With 10:16 on the clock, Yale tied the score with a free position shot.

Falmouth went back in the lead 39 seconds later, as Clement won a ground ball, then raced in and finished.

With 7:50 to play in the half, Ginevan set up Stucker for a goal and a 6-4 lead.

A minute later, Carper denied Stucker and at the other end, with 6:01 to go, McKenna raced in and beat Riley.

With 4:23 left, Adams curled around the goal and shot and scored to make it 7-5.

“(Windham’s) defense is very tough, but I was able to roll the crease,” Adams said. “That’s pretty much when I scored.”

It took just 29 seconds for the Eagles to answer, as Beem scored unassisted.

Late in the half, Riley denied McKenna, then saved a shot from Beem right before the horn, allowing Falmouth to cling to a 7-6 advantage at the break.

Windham won 9 of 14 draws, but turned the ball over a dozen times in the first half.

Falmouth then threatened to pull away early in the second half before the Eagles battled back and there would end up being no separation in regulation.

Clement won the draw to open the second half and just 22 seconds in, she set up Ginevan for an 8-6 lead.

With 22:44 to go, Taylor finished a feed from Ginevan to extend the lead and with 21:04 on the clock, Taylor found Blakeman for a goal and a 10-6 advantage, forcing Windham coach Matt Perkins to call timeout.

It worked, as the Eagles battled back.

With 19:59 remaining, Yale sparked the comeback with a free position goal.

A mere 27 seconds later, Yale scored again, finishing after a nice spin move.

With 14:09 to play, after forcing a turnover, Babb raced in and finished and just like that, a four-goal deficit was cut to just one, 10-9.

Falmouth would answer, as after Ginevan was robbed by Carper, Adams finished on a free position shot with 11:15 left.

It took Windham only 26 seconds to answer, as Beem scored unassisted after grabbing a ground ball in front.

With 10:26 to play, Hennessy had a great look to tie it, but her shot rang off the post.

Then, 31 seconds later, at the other end, Adams scored for the fifth time, unassisted, to restore a two-goal lead.

“Whitney has come on strong,” Clement said. “I’m really proud of her. She brings energy and it boosted everybody.”

After Ginevan missed just wide on a look to extend the lead further, Yale set up Black for a goal with 7:45 remaining and again, the Eagles were within one.

Then, with 6:39 left, in transition, Beem set up Hennessy for the tying goal, making it 12-12.

Pullen called timeout and Blakeman had a chance to put Falmouth back in the lead, but her free position shot was turned aside by Carper.

Riley then denied Beem.

With 4:09 remaining, Adams appeared to put Falmouth up, but her goal was waved off as she landed in the crease.

After the teams traded turnovers, Windham had one last look to win it, but Beem’s bounce shot with 12 seconds to go went wide and it was on to overtime.

After a five-minute break, the teams returned to the field and Falmouth, which already had an OT win to its credit this spring, came out confident.

“That Scarborough game helped us,” Clement said. “Before overtime, we talked about what happened and that we could (win) again.”

Sure enough, Clement won the draw with Stucker scooping up the ground ball, and Falmouth settled in on offense.

“We kept mixing it up on the draws,” Clement said. “We went back to what we normally do and it worked.”

“We talked about the draw going into overtime,” Pullen said. “It had been frustrating for us. We made a couple adjustments and got a little lucky.”

Ginevan got the ball and hoped to drive to the goal but couldn’t find a lane as she ran to the left of Carper.

Clement then made her move, cutting in front of the goal.

Ginevan spotted her, delivered a perfect pass and at 6:41 p.m., Clement shot and scored.

“Originally, we were going to have Sloane get the ball and hopefully clear out and have her drive, then I went for the second cut and I was open and she saw me immediately,” Clement said. “I’m not thinking when I shoot, it’s all instincts. I was ecstatic when the ball went in.”

“I had flashbacks to our Scarborough game with Eva,” Adams said. “She just finishes the job always.”

“Eva brings a ton of experience and poise,” Pullen added. “She’s a player you feel confident in when the ball is in her hands. We knew she’d be one of our looks going into overtime. She got a great look and we needed a great look since (Windham’s) keeper played well all night. We knew she wouldn’t give up a cheap goal.”

Falmouth then celebrated its memorable 13-12 victory.

“It feels awesome,” Clement said. “Windham’s a great team. They came out strong on the draws and they’re scrappy with ground balls.”

“It’s really thrilling to beat one of the best teams in the league in overtime,” Adams said. “We pulled through together as a team. We came out strong and finished the job.”

“There’s a certain amount of pride that comes with playing on our home field and the girls had ‘UFB’ written on their legs for ‘Unfinished Business’ after losing to Windham earlier in the season,” Pullen added. “That was the mantra from the beginning. We were able to ride that energy through overtime. There were areas that we’ve shined during the course of the season that we didn’t necessarily shine today, but we did other things well that we hadn’t done this season. It all worked out.”

Six different players scored for Falmouth, as Adams had a game-high five goals, Ginevan added three, Clement had two and Blakeman, Stucker and Taylor finished with one apiece.

“Whitney had an amazing performance today,” Pullen said. “That’s the beauty of having a team that has different scoring threats.”

Ginevan added three assists, while Clement and Taylor each had two and Stucker finished with one.

Riley made seven saves.

Ginevan had a team-high 10 ground balls and Clement collected eight.

Falmouth had a 29-22 advantage in shots on goal (22-19 on cage) and only turned the ball over 14 times.

Windham was paced by Yale, who scored four goals and added an assist. Beem had two goals and one assist, Black and McKenna each scored twice and Babb and Hennessy had one goal apiece.

Carper made nine saves.

The Eagles won 18 of 27 draws, had a 41-38 edge in ground balls (Beem had a game-high 14) and turned the ball over 25 times.

“This is a special group,” said Perkins. “They battle until the end and believe in each other. We finally got a couple bounces and took advantage and worked and battled back. I’m really proud of the effort. It could have gone either way. Hats off to (Falmouth). It was a great game.

“I think the seniors left a lot of lessons for the younger kids on effort and how you treat each other. I’m proud of that group and what they stand for.”

One more hill to climb

Falmouth did some positive things in its first meeting with Kennebunk, leading, 8-7, with under 20 minutes to play, but the Rams were unstoppable down the stretch.

Falmouth and Kennebunk have played six previous times in the playoffs, with the Rams winning five of those games, but the most recent was Falmouth’s 5-3 victory in the 2019 Class A state final.

Falmouth is hoping to do it again and celebrate another title Friday night.

“I’m super-excited to play in the state game,” Adams said.

“All season, we’ve dug down deep and it’ll come down to who wants it more, who can show more grit,” said Clement. “We’re both great teams with great players.”

“We have to put together a full 50 minutes,” Pullen added. “We have to defend as a unit. We have to win ground balls, win more draws than we won tonight and have a whole lot of heart.”

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

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