SOUTH BERWICK — Declan Fitzgerald said he was simply the beneficiary of other players’ effort and good fortune.

But don’t discount that Fitzgerald had to work to get in position and it paid off with two goals in a less than three minutes late in the second half to lead fourth-seeded Marshwood to a 3-2 win over No. 5 Falmouth in a Class A South boys’ soccer quarterfinal Thursday afternoon.

Fitzgerald’s first goal with 7:29 to play put Marshwood ahead 2-1, coming in a scrum in front of the net. Wyatt Yager earned the assist after the play was initiated by a well-timed and strong tackle by back Connor Walker, who then made the run and pass to get Yager moving.

“That first goal was all Wyatt. He beat two or three defenders and I just finished it off,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald’s second goal was a beautiful chip off a swinging leg kick to keep a direct kick from Trevor Wozny from going over the end line to push the lead to 3-1 with 5:06 to play. About five yards right of the goal, with his body turned more toward the corner, Fitzgerald looped the ball over himself and Falmouth keeper Sean MacDonald and it nestled into the left side of the net.

“I’m going to be completely honest. I did not mean to shoot that ball,” Fitzgerald said. “My every intention was to have that ball go back into the 6-yard box but, hey, I’ll take it.”

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Down by two goals, Falmouth pushed all 11 players including MacDonald into the offensive end and drew a foul in the box. Charlie Adams converted the subsequent penalty kick with 2:54 left in the game but Marshwood kept Falmouth at bay after that.

Marshwood (13-2-1) advances to a semifinal on Saturday against No. 1 Windham. It’s the Hawks’ first trip to the semifinal since 2018 when, as a seventh seed, they also beat Falmouth.

“We come into every game with the mindset that we can beat any team if we outwork them,” Fitzgerald said. “If we weren’t on the map already, we’re on the map now.”

Falmouth (11-3-2), the 2019 Class A champions, was without three starters including leading scorer Mason Farr for unspecified reasons. Coach Dave Halligan said he was not allowed to say why the players were unable to participate.

“They were bigger and stronger than us,” Halligan said. “They’re a senior team and we were missing players. They wore us down. They just wore us down.”

Tied 1-1 at the half, Marshwood began to assert itself in the second half behind the midfield play of Wozny (1 goal, 1 assist) and speedy wing Rowan Carter. One of Carter’s long runs resulted in the Falmouth foul that led to Wozny’s direct kick assist on the third goal.

Marshwood Coach Ben Deschene said the Hawks’ control started with senior defenders Walker, Danny Thim and Nathan Jalbert winning more of the one-on-one battles against Falmouth’s forwards, despite a solid all-game effort from Adams.

“We have 13 seniors and we can go a little bit deeper and late in games, in the second half, that helps that we can rotate a lot of guys in,” Deschene said.

Wozny opened the scoring with a penalty kick after Falmouth was called for a hand ball in the box. Falmouth, which controlled possession for a good chunk of the first half, tied the game when Andrew Christie converted a slick crossing pass from Mason Quiet.


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