Ellie Whittier, front, of Freeport and Corrine Vasvary of Gardiner watch an incoming ball while battling for position during a Class B South preliminary match Saturday at Freeport High School. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

FREEPORT — It took awhile for the Freeport girls’ soccer team to break through against resilient Gardiner in a Class B South preliminary-round game Saturday afternoon.

But once the seventh-seeded Falcons finally found the back of the net late in the first half, they rolled from there to grab a 4-0 victory and a spot in the regional quarterfinals.

Rosie Panenka, Emily Olsen, Ellie Whittier and Abigail Martin scored for Freeport (8-7).

No. 10 Gardiner finished 6-8-1.

“The theme for us going into playoffs was to play with no regrets,” said Whittier, a senior co-captain. “Our mindset is to play hard like every game is our last, and we want that last game to be states.”

The Falcons, who will play at No. 2 Yarmouth (13-1-1) on Wednesday, dominated the Tigers in a variety of statistical categories. Freeport outshot Gardiner 16-2 and held a 9-0 advantage in corner kicks.

Still, it was 0-0 until Panenka opened the scoring when she headed home a corner kick from Olsen with 2:05 to go in the opening half.

“I think that goal was a bit of a weight off our shoulders,” said Panenka, a sophomore. “We had the speed, and our energy level rose after the goal.”

Freeport doubled its lead when Olsen scored three minutes into the second half. Olsen took off down the left side, outran a few Gardiner defenders and then finessed a shot into the bottom left corner.

Gardiner goalie Lorelei Mason prepares to boot a goal kick during Saturday’s Class B South preliminary match at Freeport. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

Whittier put the game out of reach with 28 minutes remaining when she flicked a shot into the bottom right corner from the left side of the net.

Martin scored in the final minute.

“Even if our performance today (Saturday) wasn’t what we were hoping for, we’ve still had a season to be proud of,” said Gardiner Coach Jess Prince. “For our underclassmen, hopefully they can keep this feeling in their minds and grow and learn from it.”

The Tigers’ best scoring chance came when they were awarded a free kick from about 25 yards late in the second half. Taylor Takatsu fired a strike on target, but Freeport goalie Amanda Panciocco (two saves) turned it aside.

“Regardless of the outcome, we always play with heart, we never let down,” said Prince. “The season overall is one of the best that Gardiner girls’ soccer has had in a while, so that’s something we’re all proud of despite the end result.”

Gardiner goalie Lorelei Mason finished with 16 saves.

Freeport Coach Dave Intraversato praised his team’s defense afterward.

“They did a great job back there; we had a few players step up due to injury this week,” he said. “They were very organized and calm, something you have to be in the postseason.”

The Falcons next shift their attention to Yarmouth, which pulled out a 3-2 overtime victory in the regular-season meeting on Oct. 7.

“We have some unfinished business with Yarmouth,” said Whittier. “We are very much looking forward to playing them again.”

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