FREEPORT—Longtime Yarmouth boys’ soccer coach Mike Hagerty has never lost to the Freeport Falcons.

Monday afternoon at the Joan Benoit Samuelson Track and Field, it nearly happened.

The Falcons gave the undefeated, reigning Class B champion Clippers everything they could ask for and more and even had some Grade A scoring chances, but ultimately, the teams settled for a scoreless tie.

Freeport, which lost by four goals at Yarmouth just three weeks prior, earned a ton of confidence, split Heal Points with its rival/nemesis and is now 5-2-1 on the season, while the Clippers are 6-0-1.

“I feel like we deserved that one,” said Falcons coach Bob Strong. “Both teams had their chances. It was a very even game that was fun to watch.”

“Freeport played well,’ Hagerty said. “They pressured us. It’s frustrating because it feels like a loss, but we need these games. It was pretty close. You’ve got to figure the odds are that they’ll get us eventually.”


A 90-minute thriller

Yarmouth hasn’t lost to Freeport this century, but the Falcons have played the Clippers tough in recent years, including ties in 2018, 2019 and again last fall.

In the teams’ first meeting, Sept. 7, host Yarmouth prevailed, 4-0, for its second win of the season. The Clippers started with a 2-0 win at Cape Elizabeth, then downed host York (4-0), visiting Greely (2-1), host North Yarmouth Academy (5-1) and visiting Poland (6-0).

Freeport opened with a 1-0 win at York, fell at Yarmouth (4-0).

“We were experimenting that first game,” said Strong. “We tried different people in different positions. Since everyone makes playoffs this year, we just wanted to learn more about (Yarmouth) and experiment with a lot of different looks and it helps because today, we implemented what we thought were opportunities.”

The Falcons then downed visiting Greely (2-1) and host Lake Region (8-0). After a 1-0 setback at Cape Elizabeth, the Falcons blanked visiting Fryeburg Academy (3-0) and Gray-New Gloucester (1-0).


Monday, Freeport announced quickly that it had come to play and not only made the Clippers sweat for 90 intense minutes, but the Falcons almost came away with a victory.

There weren’t many good scoring chances in the first half.

Yarmouth threatened early, but senior Sutter Augur was denied by Freeport senior goalkeeper Colin Cronin, senior Steve Fulton sent a left-footed blast from the top of the box just high, then Cronin robbed senior Isaac Grondin and denied sophomore Justin Dawes after Dawes took a pretty back heel pass from sophomore Adam McLaughlin.

The Falcons’ first shot came in the 19th minute, when junior Alex Graver served the ball in to senior Gus Wing, who headed it on frame only to have Clippers senior goalkeeper Cole Snyder make the save.

Late in the first half, senior Eli Andreson just missed for the hosts, while Cronin saved a long shot from sophomore Will Caruso, keeping the contest scoreless heading to the second half.

There, the action and scoring chances picked up, but neither team could find the net.


After Cronin saved shots from senior Aiden Kamm and junior Liam Hickey, Freeport earned a free kick six minutes into the second half and Graver ripped a beautiful rising shot from 35 yards out which forced Snyder to leap at the last second and tip the ball out for a corner kick, which didn’t result in a shot.

“I thought Alex was great today,” Hagerty said. “For many stretches, he was the best kid on the field and put us under pressure.”

After Cronin saved shots by Caruso and junior Truman Peters, Caruso just missed wide.

At the other end, Graver got his head on a corner kick serve from senior Owen Howarth, but sent the ball just high.

Wing then had a great chance to put the Falcons ahead with 20:31 remaining, when he got the ball with space on the left side, but Snyder stopped him cold.

“Cole made some big saves,” Hagerty said. “If Cole knows where the shot’s coming from, he’s fine. Backs need to make the game predictable for goalies.”


After Wing missed wide, Snyder saved a shot from sophomore Owen Rusiecki and Andreson missed high.

The Clippers then tried to win it late in regulation, but Cronin made a sprawling save on a shot from McLaughlin with 1:23 left, then with 46 seconds to go, Cronin denied Caruso and the contest went to overtime.

In the first of two possible five-minute, “sudden victory” OT sessions, Yarmouth had two corner kicks and Freeport one, but neither squad got a good look.

In the second extra session, junior Bobby Strong tried to win it for the Falcons, but Snyder made the save.

At the other end, Cronin denied sophomore Jonny Fulton.

In the waning seconds, Graver got his head on an Andreson throw-in, but Snyder got to the ball.


Then, with time winding down, Freeport got one more throw and Andreson’s toss landed in the box and deflected right in front to Howarth, who had a chance to win it, but Howarth sent the ball high.

“(Owen’s) beside himself,” said Strong. “He’s going to dream about that one tonight, but he’ll pick himself back up.”

“Those are hard balls to hit clean,” Hagerty said. “Kids get excited, he rushed it and time was running out. He’s not the one we wanted (the ball) to fall to. When you foul them or give them throws in your end, it’s like a free kick every time.”

That would do it and the contest ended, 0-0.

“You saw the disappointment on the players’ faces, which I think is a great thing,” Strong said. “They knew we had a chance to win. We look at it as an opportunity we almost capitalized on. We feel really confident this year. We’re a deep team. We’ve had a little trouble scoring goals, but we defend well. Steve and Truman are always dangerous. We marked Steve the first time. Today, we just tried to be conscious of his whereabouts and play our game.”

Freeport finished with an 8-7 edge in shots and got seven saves from Cronin.


“Colin played very well,” Hagerty said. “The games we’ve scouted and played, we’ve seen him play really well.”

Yarmouth had a 9-4 edge in corner kicks, but couldn’t convert. Snyder made eight saves.

“(Snyder) I thought played really well today,” said Strong. “His size came in handy. Usually they switch goalies and I think that was a good call by Mike to keep him in.”

“For stretches we played well and switched fields well, but we played too direct and you don’t want to play direct with (Freeport),” said Hagerty. “I think they took advantage of the long balls better than we played our short passing game. I do think we can play better than we did. We had a few passes that if we connected like we do normally, we’d be in alone.”

On to October

Freeport returns to action Friday, at home against two-time reigning Class C champion Waynflete. The Falcons then welcome York next Tuesday.


“Waynflete is another big game for us,” Bob Strong said. “We’re looking forward to that second round of our top competition. We’re healthy and rested. Hopefully, we get to see (Yarmouth) again. All it takes is one. We just want to beat them one time.”

Yarmouth seeks to stay unbeaten and get back in the win column Thursday at Wells. After hosting Gray-New Gloucester Saturday, the Clippers welcome Cape Elizabeth in a key test next Tuesday.

“This refocuses us,” Hagerty said. “We won’t overlook Wells, then our next two home games are battles.

“If we meet (Freeport) in the playoffs, we’ll have to play our style better than they play their style. We’re still figuring out best who plays well with whom. We know each other so well. I do think there are some opportunities of things we saw today that we can tweak. We can attack them differently.”

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

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