Falmouth’s boys’ lacrosse team rushes to congratulate sophomore goalie Drew Noyes after Tuesday’s 10-7 victory over Windham in the Class A North Final. Hoffer photos.

BOX SCORE

Falmouth 10 Windham 7

W- 0 2 4 1- 7
F- 2 2 5 1- 10

First quarter
10:52 F Robaczewski (unassisted)
2:41 F Kerr (Berry)

Second quarter
9:32 F Eng (Skillin-Lanou)
5:15 F Kerr (Eng)
5:01 W Brennan (Anderson)
2:29 W Brennan (Cummings) (MAN-UP)

Third quarter
10:14 F Drum (unassisted)
6:27 F Kaplan (Thomas)
6:15 W Palow (unassisted)
4:30 W Anderson (unassisted)
2:23 F Kerr (unassisted)
1:55 W Yeaton (unassisted)
1:17 W Palow (unassisted)
40.0 F Eng (Kerr)
6.9 F Berry (Kerr)

Fourth quarter
10:30 F Skillin-Lanou (Drum)
8:07 W Anderson (unassisted)

Goals:
W- Anderson, Brennan, Palow 2, Yeaton 1
F- Kerr 3, Eng 2, Berry, Drum, Kaplan, Robaczewski, Skillin-Lanou 1

Advertisement

Assists:
W- Anderson, Cummings 1
F- Kerr 2, Berry, Drum, Eng, Skillin-Lanou, Thomas 1

Faceoffs (Windham, 14-7)
W- Anderson 14 of 21
F- Drummey 7 of 21

Ground balls:
W- 31
F- 28

Turnovers:
W- 24
F- 22

Shots:
W- 33
F- 24

Shots on cage:
W- 22
F- 19

Advertisement

Saves:
W (Wescott) 9
F (Noyes) 15

FALMOUTH—Pay no mind to what Falmouth’s boys’ lacrosse team does at the end of the regular season.

Because when the calendar turns to June, it knows how to flip the switch better than anybody.

What was true in 2018 and 2019 is true again this spring and Tuesday evening in the Class A North Final, host Falmouth did just enough to hold off a stern test from Windham and advance to the state final again.

Top-ranked Falmouth took a 2-0 lead after one quarter on goals from seniors Kurt Robaczewski and Wyatt Kerr, but it wasn’t able to pull away from the plucky sixth-seeded Eagles.

While senior Jonah Eng and Kerr added goals in the second period, Windham battled back within two at halftime thanks to a pair of tallies from junior Nolan Brennan.

Advertisement

Both teams’ offenses awakened in the third quarter.

Junior Robby Drum and senior Satchel Kaplan opened the second half with goals for Falmouth, but seniors Derek Palow and Holden Anderson answered for the Eagles to make it a two-goal game again, 6-4.

After Kerr scored for Falmouth, sophomore Alex Yeaton and Palow scored to pull Windham within one and apparently seize momentum, but in the final minute of the frame, Eng and senior Kaz Berry answered and Falmouth took a 9-6 advantage to the fourth period.

There, sophomore goalie Drew Noyes capped his spectacular evening and a goal from junior Rory Skillin-Lanou was the final nail as Falmouth went on to a 10-7 victory.

Falmouth improved to 11-4, ended the Eagles’ season at 7-8 and advanced to the Class A state final Friday at 7:30 p.m., at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland against either Berwick Academy (13-1) or Cape Elizabeth (14-0).

“It’s kind of a Falmouth tradition, losing games right before playoffs, then turning it up for playoffs,” said Eng. “That’s how we’ve done it the three years I’ve been here. It’s a thrill to go to states again.”

Advertisement

Best for last

Falmouth has demonstrated that regular season records mean little come playoff-time, as it has risen to the occasion and played its best lacrosse in June under fourth-year coach Dave Barton.

This year appears to be no exception.

Falmouth won its first eight games this spring, starting with home victories over visiting Kennebunk (10-6), Windham (10-7), Thornton Academy (9-8), Scarborough (10-9, in overtime) and South Portland (14-2). After rallying for a 9-8 overtime victory at Thornton Academy, Falmouth rolled at Windham (14-5) and fought off host South Portland’s upset bid, 9-6, before stumbling for the first time at Cape Elizabeth, 14-5. That began a four-game, regular season-ending skid and was followed by losses at Scarborough (7-6), at home to Yarmouth (11-9) and at Berwick Academy (9-5).

Regardless, Falmouth earned the top seed in Class A North and made quick work of No. 9 Cheverus (20-3) in the quarterfinals and No. 4 Oxford Hills (20-1) in the semifinals.

Windham, meanwhile, started with a 10-7 loss at Falmouth, then downed Kennebunk (8-3). After a 12-6 home loss to Scarborough, Windham eked out an 11-10 overtime win at South Portland, then beat the visiting Red Riots, 13-5. Losses to Thornton Academy (9-3), Kennebunk (8-7) and Falmouth (14-5) and Scarborough (13-1) followed. After beating host Gray-New Gloucester (18-0) and visiting Lewiston (15-3), the Eagles finished the regular season with a 12-5 home loss to Thornton Academy.

Advertisement

Windham knocked off No. 3 Portland, 8-3, in the quarterfinal round, then went to second-ranked Lewiston for the semifinals Friday and rolled, 17-3.

In addition to sweeping the Eagles this spring, Falmouth also beat Windham in the teams’ lone prior playoff encounter, 16-5, in the 2019 Class A North semifinals.

Tuesday, on a 63-degree evening, which thankfully remained dry, in front of a local and vocal crowd of fans from both schools, the Eagles did all they could to spring an upset, but instead, Falmouth made the plays with the game on the line to advance.

Falmouth looked to get off to a fast start and after Kerr was denied by Windham sophomore goalie Reed Wescott just 47 seconds in, Robaczewski scored unassisted with 10:52 left in the first period to give Falmouth the lead for good.

Wescott then robbed junior Cooper Bush and Eng to keep the score 1-0.

At the other end, Anderson looked to tie it, but hit the post, then Noyes denied Palow.

Advertisement

With 2:41 remaining in the opening stanza, Berry set up Kerr for his first goal to double the lead.

Junior Will Woolston nearly got the Eagles on the board in the final second of the frame, but Noyes made the save and Falmouth held a 2-0 advantage as the second period began.

Noyes preserved it, saving shots from Woolston, a pair of bids from senior Travis Brown and another from Woolston.

Falmouth got its offense going again with 9:32 to play in the first half, as Skillin-Lanou set up Eng for a 3-0 lead.

After Noyes saved a bid from Yeaton, Falmouth got a transition goal with 5:15 on the clock, as Eng found Kerr to seemingly open it up.

But Windham answered 14 seconds later, as Anderson set up Brennan for a transition goal.

Advertisement

After Noyes robbed Brennan on the doorstep, then denied Palow, the Eagles went man-up and pulled within two with 2:29 remaining in the half, as Cummings set up Brennan.

Just before the horn, Skillin-Lanou’s bid was saved by Wescott and Falmouth clung to a 4-2 lead at the break.

The game would remain close in the second half as well.

Falmouth senior Wyatt Kerr, who scored a game-high three goals, is defended by Windham junior Logan Campbell.

After the Eagles won the second half faceoff, junior Sam Gilcos had a good look, but was denied by Noyes.

Falmouth then extended its lead back to three, as Drum got the ball and scored unassisted on an underhanded scoop shot with 10:14 to go in the third period.

Falmouth then killed a penalty, as Noyes denied Cummings, and with 6:23 left in the frame, Kaplan finished a feed from junior Jay Thomas to make it 6-2.

Advertisement

But Windham again answered.

Just 12 seconds later, after Anderson won the faceoff, Palow raced in and scored.

With 4:30 on the clock, Anderson rushed in and beat Noyes and suddenly Falmouth’s lead was just two.

Kerr restored order with 2:23 left, scoring unassisted, but 28 seconds later, Yeaton finished unassisted after a terrific individual effort which saw him spin through the defense before shooting.

Then, with 1:17 left, the Eagles made it a 7-6 game, as Palow scored unassisted, man-up.

Windham was on the brink of tying it up, but the rest of the quarter was all Falmouth, which turned momentum for good.

Advertisement

First, with 40 seconds to go, Kerr found Eng for a shot that Wescott couldn’t save.

Then, after Wescott robbed Kerr, Robaczewski pounced on the ground ball, passed to Kerr and Kerr fedBarry for a goal with just 6.9 seconds on the clock and Falmouth’s lead had gone from a tenuous one goal to 9-6 heading for the final stanza.

“We got back up and scored a couple and got things going our way there,” Eng said.

“It’s not always pretty, but this group isn’t fazed by big spots in games,” Barton said. “That was a big turning point for us. It was nice to see us respond.”

“Those two goals were big and they came quick, but the guys still thought we could play with them,” said Windham coach Pete Small.

Just 90 seconds into the fourth period, Drum set up Skillin-Lanou for what proved to be Falmouth’s final goal.

Advertisement

With Noyes more than holding his own, denying Brennan, Anderson, Cummings and Brown, Falmouth was never seriously pushed down the stretch.

Anderson did score unassisted with 8:07 to go, but that’s as close as the Eagles would get and Falmouth went on to a 10-7 victory.

“I knew (Windham) would come to battle,” Eng said. “They’re a good team.”

“I came in expecting a close game,” said Noyes. “We knew they’d punch us in the face and we punched them right back.”

“We shot ourselves in the foot a lot in the first half, but we dug in and answered,” Barton added.

Seven different players scored for Falmouth, as Kerr had three goals, Eng two and Berry, Drum, Kaplan, Robaczewski and Skillin-Lanou one apiece.

Advertisement

“We’re unique in that we run nine midfielders regularly,” Barton said. “I don’t think there are many teams who run more than four or five. It’s about communication between six guys offensively.”

Kerr assisted on two goals, while Berry, Drum, Eng, Skillin-Lanou and Thomas all had one assist.

Noyes dazzled with 15 critical saves.

“When I’m louder I’m better, so if I talk to the defense I do well,” Noyes said.

“No one knew Drew Noyes going into the season, but now, everybody knows Drew Noyes,” said Eng. “He stands on his head every game and gives us a chance to win.”

“Drew made a bunch of saves on the doorstep and started the clear for us,” Barton added. “He’s come a long way. I think goalie is the hardest position to adjust to and he’s made huge strides this year. I’m proud of him.”

Advertisement

Robacewski had a team-high four ground balls.

Falmouth overcame 22 turnovers.

Windham got two goals apiece from Anderson, Brennan and Palow. Yeaton also scored.

Anderson and Cummings each had one assist.

Wescott saved nine shots.

Anderson won 14 of 21 faceoffs.

Advertisement

“Once we got it back to three, I think the faceoff game became less hyper-focused and in a tight game with Holden at the X, that’s not where you want to be,” Barton said. “He did an awesome job all day. It’s tough to have a pole like (Falmouth senior) Owen Drummey in your face after every faceoff, but he’s an awesome faceoff guy.”

The Eagles had a 31-28 edge in ground balls (Anderson had a game-high eight), a 33-24 shots advantage (22-19 on cage) and turned the ball over 24 times.

“When we got within one goal that was a testament to our belief and how we played together,” Small said. “I thought our defense was dynamite and both goalies played really, really well. I hope everybody walks out of here thinking it was a well-played game by two teams that were somewhat evenly matched. It’s a hard pill to swallow anytime you lose, but my guys played well.

“This was huge for us. You could see it coming. We were 10-2, 10-2 and 11-1 the three previous years playing a lower tier schedule. This year, playing Falmouth twice, TA twice, running the gauntlet, that’s where we want to be and I think the kids elevated themselves. It’s hard with the seniors moving on, but they laid a great foundation. Their leadership was huge and it’s going to carry us forward.”

“Windham has gotten so much better,” Barton said. “I’m such a fan of Coach Small. Tonight showed they’re on the rise. I’m sure we’ll see a lot more of them in the future.”

One more hill to climb

Advertisement

Falmouth doesn’t yet know its state final foe, as the Berwick Academy-Cape Elizabeth game was postponed to Wednesday, but it does know it will have its hands full.

Falmouth and Berwick Academy have no playoff history, but Falmouth and Cape Elizabeth have played win-or-go-home games in June for years, meeting in the regional final every season between 2009-17. The Capers hold a 6-3 all-time edge in the series with a 6-5 victory in the 2017 Class B South Final the most recent.

Falmouth is ready to save its best for last once more, however, and see if it can pull off a stunner.

“Our practices have been high energy lately and we have to keep doing that,” Noyes said. “I’m so happy to get two more practices with the boys. I’m so excited to play in the state game in my first (varsity) year.”

“We’ve been there before,” Eng said. “We played TA in 2019 when we were (underdogs). We’re (underdogs) again and I like us in that spot. We have to keep zipping the ball. We need big games from the attacking-mids. If we play smart and keep possession of the ball, I think we can win it.”

“I’d like to think we’re starting to click more,’ Barton added. “No matter who we play, it’ll be a shot at a team that I don’t think we played our best against. Both of those teams, whoever it ends up being, it’ll be a tall task, but if I know this group the way I think I do, they’ll treat it as a chance at revenge. We’ve got some holdovers from 2019. It seems like every time we go Fitzy, we’re written off. We’ll see.

“We’re just excited to play. We talk about playing on the last day. We’ve earned two more practices together and we’ve earned the right to play on the last day of the season. I’m super-proud of these guys for digging in. This stretch run is what they’ll remember. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

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

Comments are not available on this story.