YARMOUTH—Yarmouth’s girls’ soccer team had the letdown that coach Andy Higgins feared, but in the process, the Clippers taught him a lesson.

That they have a deep reservoir of character and heart and are never, ever out of a game.

Thursday afternoon, two days after a statement-making, come-from-behind victory at two-time reigning Class B champion and recent nemesis Cape Elizabeth, the Clippers hosted a Freeport squad eager to prove that it belongs in the discussion of top contenders.

And prove they belong is exactly what the Falcons did, even if they weren’t able to come away with a deserving result.

Yarmouth started fast, taking a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute when junior Ava Feeley, in her return from a knee injury, set up senior Macy Gilroy for a goal.

But the Clippers then went flat and Freeport took advantage, pulling even with 8:15 to go before halftime, when junior Emily Olsen finished a gorgeous free kick to make it 1-1 at halftime.

When senior Meg Driscoll buried a loose ball nine minutes into the second half, the Falcons had the lead and they held it until the waning minutes of regulation.

Where Yarmouth rose off the deck in dramatic fashion.

Off a corner kick with 2:15 to play, Gilroy served the ball in front where freshman Taylor Oranellas headed it home for the biggest goal of her young life to date and the game was deadlocked and would go to overtime.

Then, with the first five-minute, “sudden victory”session winding down, the Clippers earned a free kick and produced a breathtaking game-winning tally, as senior Katelyn D’Appolonia served the ball into the box where Feeley sent a no-look one-timer into the net and Yarmouth prevailed, 3-2.

The Clippers extended their unbeaten streak to 10 games, improved to 9-1-1 and in the process, dropped Freeport’s record to a misleading 5-6.

“There’s no quit in these kids,” Higgins said. “You can’t coach that. They get that from somewhere. They keep fighting until the whistle blows and I’m still a little bit in shock.”

Roaring back

The Clippers started the year with a 2-0 setback against visiting Cape Elizabeth, then hit their stride with victories over host Freeport (5-2), at home over York (3-0), at Greely (2-1), at Poland (9-0), at home over Fryeburg Academy (6-0) and at home over Lake Region (7-0). After settling for a 1-1 home tie against two-time reigning Class D champion North Yarmouth Academy, Yarmouth blanked host Gray-New Gloucester, 3-0, then Tuesday rallied to shock host Cape Elizabeth, 3-2, with three straight second half goals.

Freeport began with home losses to York (2-1) and Yarmouth (5-2) and a 3-0 setback at Greely, then blanked visiting Lake Region (7-0). After a 2-0 home loss to Cape Elizabeth, the Falcons rattled off four straight victories, 4-0 at Fryeburg Academy, 1-0 at Gray-New Gloucester, 7-1 at home over Fryeburg Academy and 2-0 at home over Wells before losing at York Tuesday, 3-0.

Last season, Yarmouth won both meetings, 2-0 at home and 1-0 in Freeport.

Entering play Thursday, Yarmouth had won 22 of 26 meetings this century with Freeport winning three times and the teams settling for one draw (see below for recent results).

On Sept. 7, the Falcons built an early 2-0 lead, but the Clippers roared back with five unanswered goals to make it five straight in the series. The game turned on a D’Appolonia penalty kick, then Feeley scored twice, while junior Grace Lestage and senior Trinity Sinker added goals.

This time around, on a pleasant early-October afternoon (72 degrees), Freeport again built a lead and this time, held it late before Yarmouth again came from behind to steal a victory.

Yarmouth freshman Taylor Oranellas and Freeport junior Kate Tracy chase after the ball in early action. Oranellas would ultimately be one of the game’s heroes. Hoffer photos.

The game’s first good scoring chance resulted in its first goal, as Lestage passed the ball to Feeley, who one-touched it to Gilroy, who got free in front and blasted a shot past Falcons sophomore goalkeeper Amanda Panciocco for a quick 1-0 lead.

Instead of inspiring the Clippers, the goal instead awakened the visitors.

Freeport looked for the equalizer but a long free kick from Olsen was saved by Yarmouth sophomore goalkeeper Regan Sullivan, another Olsen free kick was cleared from the box, a third Olsen free kick was snared by Sullivan and junior Lucy Peterson sent a free kick just high.

At the other end, Lestage had a great look to double the lead, but sent her shot just wide of the far post while Panciocco saved a D’Appolonia free kick.

With 8:15 to play before halftime, the Falcons earned another free kick, this one from just outside the top of the box and Olsen wouldn’t be denied, lofting it over the defensive wall and Sullivan and under the crossbar to tie it up, 1-1.

“Maybe that first goal was the worst thing that could have happened to us because we sat back a little bit,” Higgins said. “We talked about not giving up set pieces to them.”

The game would go to the break deadlocked, as Freeport had a 4-3 edge in shots on frame.

Higgins had some choice words for his team at the half, but the Clippers didn’t awaken and the Falcons struck for the lead.

With 31:31 to play, sophomore Taryn Curry threw the ball in from the right side and the ball deflected off a defender into the box. Senior Helen Pope got to it first, but couldn’t get her foot on the ball. Driscoll then took possession and ripped a left-footed shot past a lunging Sullivan into the upper left corner of the goal and just like that, Freeport was up, 2-1.

“Megan played a phenomenal game for us,” said Falcons coach David Intraversato. “I thought she had the winner for us and then she dropped back and played some good defense.”

After Sullivan kept her team in it by denying senior Ellie Whittier, Yarmouth came to life, but try as it might, couldn’t pull even.

First, Panciocco saved a long shot from sophomore Kadin Davoren.

Feeley then took a long feed from junior Kate Sahagian and unleashed a shot which was saved by Panciocco.

With 11:30 remaining, D’Appolonia’s free kick from the side rolled wide and for awhile, that appeared to be the Clippers’ last, best chance.

But with 2:35 left on the clock, Yarmouth earned a corner kick. Gilroy served it in and Panciocco knocked it away, but the ball rolled out to set up another corner and this time, at last, the Clippers made the Falcons pay.

Gilroy served up a beautiful ball in front, where Oranellas soared over a defender and headed it past Panciocco to tie the game, 2-2, with just 2:15 remaining.

“I still feel like it was a dream,” Oranellas said. “I just saw the ball coming, went for it and I still don’t really know what happened. It was amazing. My adrenaline’s so high. This is such an amazing team to play on this first year.”

“(Taylor’s) had a great season for us,” Higgins said. “For a first-year varsity player to step in and play the way she’s played and where she’s played is amazing. She follows the lead of the older kids. She puts herself in good spots and was in the right place at the right time. She stayed composed and tucked it in. That was our first corner kick goal of the season. That was huge for us.”

“I think it was a nice play by (Taylor),” said Intraversato. “It was a mismatch in height and it was a great header.”

Yarmouth then almost won the game late in regulation, as Lestage had a good look before missing just wide, Oranellas missed just wide and after a mix-up in the back, the ball sat free with time winding down before Freeport finally cleared it and the game would go to overtime.

In the first of a possible two five-minute OT sessions, the Clippers had possession most of the way, but couldn’t do anything with it until a foul was called just inside the Falcons’ side of the field with just under a minute to go.

Yarmouth had D’Appolonia take the free kick and she sent one of her patented beautiful balls into the box, where Feeley, a defender and Panciocco converged on it.

Feeley got to the ball first and without looking, one-timed it over the keeper’s head, right on target.

The ball took a couple hops and found the mark and with 37.9 seconds to go, the Clippers had a palpitating 3-2 victory.

“Katelyn’s placement on kicks is just perfect,” Feeley said. “I looked at her and told her (to send it to me) and I just put my foot on it. I couldn’t even see behind me. I just put my foot on it and hoped for the best. I knew I hit it well. I knew with Katelyn’s placement, the ball would go in. It felt really good. It was definitely luck.”

“It was like Ava said, ‘I want to get a big goal of my own,'” said Higgins. “Katelyn played that ball in and there Ava was. She’s just a goal-scorer. She just finds ways to do it. They bottled her up well, but she found a way. She just needs one touch.”

“You can’t ask for a better touch,” Intraversato said. “Amanda was all over her, but her timing was perfect. She showed a lot of guts and put it home. Good players play big in big games and she showed that in overtime.”

Yarmouth’s girls’ soccer team mobs junior Ava Feeley after her game-winner in overtime.

And the celebration began.

“It’s a big win,” Feeley said. “Freeport’s always been one of our biggest rivals. Coach was telling us to come prepared. We started off slow, but we came back. I feel like everyone on our team puts in the work when they have to and that’s important. Everybody was so supportive. We really hyped each other up. We were confident.”

“We always start slowly, but the last five, 10 minutes we pushed through,” Oranellas said. “It worked out. I felt confident going into overtime. I felt like our spirits were really high and we just worked that much harder to get the final goal. I just saw Ava come running and kick it in backwards. It was an amazing shot.”

“This was a character game,” Higgins added. “I told the kids I had a much different speech prepared for postgame, then we came back. I don’t know if we got the result we deserved the way we played for 70 minutes. They pushed us around and it looked like they were a team that was searching for a big win and we looked like a team coming off an emotional night. I was really concerned. For as much as we struggled, we kept ourselves in the game. Tip your cap to Freeport. They played well and they played so hard. I hope we don’t see them again.”

Yarmouth finished with an 8-7 edge in shots, got five saves from Sullivan and had a 4-1 advantage in corner kicks.

Freeport got five saves from Panciocco and played a terrific game, but ultimately, had nothing to show for it.

“The girls played well,” said Intraversato. “It’s a learning experience for us. We have a lot of young kids out there. I still believe we can play with anyone. It’s just the way the ball bounces sometimes.”

Three left

Freeport (currently ranked 10th in the Class B South Heal Points standings) returns to action Tuesday at home against Greely, then closes the regular season with games at Poland and Cape Elizabeth.

“We’ll correct our mistakes,” said Intraversato. “We’ll rally back tomorrow and hopefully win Tuesday.”

Yarmouth (still second to Cape Elizabeth in Class B South) looks to keep its good times rolling at York Tuesday. After hosting Greely, the Clippers finish at Wells.

“We just need to practice how we play,” Feeley said. “Coach is the best at hyping us up and making sure we’re prepared for games.”

“Our goal this weekend is to get healthy and get ready to go down to York,” Higgins said. “We’ve got some stuff we have to fix and we will.”

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

Recent Yarmouth-Freeport results

2021
Yarmouth 5 @ Freeport 2

2020
@ Yarmouth 2 Freeport 0
Yarmouth 1 @ 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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