YARMOUTH—What a difference Ava Feeley makes.

Feeley, Yarmouth’s senior standout, who wasn’t available for the Clippers’ season opener, showed up in a big way Tuesday evening at home versus Freeport in a rematch of last year’s regional quarterfinal.

And Yarmouth was glad to see her, taking the lead for good in the fourth minute, as senior Grace Lestage set up junior Aine Powers for a 1-0 advantage.

Then, with just over 7 minutes remaining in the first half, Feeley scored her first goal of many this season for some breathing room.

With the Clippers defense and junior goalkeeper Regan Sullivan holding the Falcons in check, Feeley put it away early in the second half, finishing a corner kick from senior captain Macy Gilroy, and Yarmouth went on to a 3-0 victory.

The Clippers evened their record at 1-1 and in the process, dropped Freeport to 0-2 on the young season.

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“We have a really good group,” said Feeley, who will play at Boston College next year. “Everyone works so hard and it’s so fun to play with the girls. It’s so nice to be back.”

Home sweet home

Yarmouth, playing without Feeley, battled valiantly Saturday, but dropped a hard-fought 2-1 decision at Cape Elizabeth.

Freeport also dropped a one-goal decision on the road, 1-0, at York.

Last year, the Clippers and Falcons engaged in three entertaining contests, with Yarmouth enjoyed a 5-2 win at Freeport, prevailing in overtime at home on Feeley’s highlight reel goal (3-2), then eking out a 1-0 home win in the Class B South quarterfinals, on Feeley’s first half goal.

Entering play Tuesday, Yarmouth had won 24 of 28 meetings this century with Freeport winning three times and the teams settling for one draw (see below for recent results).

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The Falcons hoped to down the Clippers for the first time since Sept. 17, 2019, but Yarmouth started fast and made it seven straight in the series.

Yarmouth junior Kadin Davoren boots the ball away from Freeport junior Taryn Curry early in the Clippers’ 3-0 victory Tuesday. Hoffer photos.

The Clippers nearly scored in the first minute, but Freeport junior goalkeeper Amanda Panciocco broke up a Powers rush in the box, blocked a Feeley rebound attempt, then the ball came to junior Neena Panozzo, who had a good look, but missed just high.

After the Falcons nearly scored at the other end off a corner kick, when senior Emily Olsen’s serve was just off the mark, Yarmouth got the only goal it would need with 36:47 remaining in the first half.

Lestage got free on the left side and fired a shot that Panciocco sprawled to save, but the rebound squirted free and Powers was there to bang it home for a 1-0 lead.

“It was a good team effort all around,” said Yarmouth coach Andy Higgins. “We came out of the gate with intensity, which has been an issue for us for a couple of years, so it was nice to get one early. Aine had a great game. She was all over the place. She and Grace out wide are a tough matchup. When Ava gets a lot of attention, that frees them up and they both know one speed and one way to play.”

The Clippers then just missed on several opportunities to open it up, as sophomore Taylor Oranellas missed just high, Powers twice was just wide, Powers had a shot saved, Feeley did as well and Feeley had another long bid denied by Panciocco.

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Freeport had a couple chances as well to draw even, but junior Rosie Panenka’s long free kick in the 24th minute was saved by Sullivan and a subsequent Panenka free kick missed just wide.

Then, with 7:07 on the clock, Davoren served the ball in, it deflected off a defender right to Feeley and Feeley wouldn’t be denied, making the score 2-0.

“I give all the credit to Kadin on that one,” Feeley said. “She played a beautiful ball in and I just had to tap it in.”

Late in the half, Sullivan had to go sprawling to deny junior Luci Bourgeois, saved another bid from Olsen, then beat Curry to a nice feed from Bourgeois in the box.

Yarmouth enjoyed a 7-3 shots advantage in the first half, but wasn’t content to sit on its lead.

Freeport junior Rosie Panenka keeps the ball away from Yarmouth senior Sara Wentzell.

The Clippers started the second half as strongly as they did the first and three minutes in, earned a corner kick when a Feeley shot was knocked out of bounds by senior goalkeeper Lauren Roussel, who came into the game at the break.

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Gilroy then served the ball in front where Feeley ran on to it and directed it past Roussel and in to make it 3-0 with 36:35 remaining.

“Macy’s crosses are unmatched,” Feeley said. “She always puts it where we want it. I just had to walk it in. My teammates make it so easy for me.”

“Ava is a special player,” said Higgins. “She can change the game with one or two touches, but she’ll tell you she’s one of the pieces and all of the pieces are important. She’ll get a lot of attention, but she doesn’t care who scores as long as leads to a ‘W’ for us. We’ll miss her when she’s gone, but we appreciate having her and the rest of the seniors the rest of the year.”

To its credit, Freeport pushed hard to the end and nearly was rewarded, but an Olsen free kick sailed just high, Sullivan beat Curry to a beautiful feed from Olsen, Sullivan collected a loose ball off an Olsen corner kick, Sulliavn denied sophomore Lucy Riggs on a breakaway and just managed to corral a long free kick from Panenka.

Yarmouth nearly added to its lead, but Roussel robbed Feeley and in the final minute, a Gilroy free kick from 30 yards out hit the crossbar.

Time then ran out and the Clippers celebrated their 3-0 victory.

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Yarmouth celebrates its 3-0 victory Tuesday.

“Freeport’s a huge opponent for us and we just had to come together and connect and we got the result we wanted,” Feeley said.

“This is going to be a big win for us at the end of the year,” Higgins said. “(Freeport’s) a very good team. Very organized and well-coached. Emily Olsen is a handful. Taryn is a handful. There are many others. I’m glad how the kids responded with a tough game in a great atmosphere. We had contributions from all over.”

The Clippers enjoyed a 13-6 shots advantage and got six saves from Sullivan.

“Regan had a great game,” Higgins said. “She’s so aggressive.”

Freeport had a 4-2 edge in corner kicks and got five saves apiece from Panciocco and Roussel.

“We have to focus on playing mistake-free from the beginning of the game,” Falcons coach David Intraversato said. “It’s hard to come back against a great team like Yarmouth. They’re strong. We hung in there and in the second half, we were pretty even I thought. We had opportunities to score, but we just couldn’t put it home. Their goalie came up big. Today, we thought they’d think we’d keep an eye on Feeley, but we decided to just play our game, put the right people out there to defend her and moved some people around. We did a pretty good job on her, I think. (Powers) killed us in the first half. She’s pretty fast.”

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Another test

Freeport finally plays its home opener Thursday when Greely pays a visit.

“We need some home cooking,” said Intraversato. “We’ve got things to work on still. We have a tough schedule, but we’ll figure it out. It’s a good group. Probably the most skilled group I’ve had.”

Yarmouth, meanwhile, is idle until Saturday, when it plays at York. The Clippers then welcome Greely Tuesday of next week.

“We have to continue to communicate and complete our passes,” said Feeley. “We have teams coming for us this year and it’s motivation for us. We take (expectations) with a grain of salt. We know we have a lot of work to do, but we’re ready.”

“I’m happy how we’re starting to come together,” Higgins said. “We were undisciplined and had way too many fouls. We wanted to eliminate corners and free kicks for them and we didn’t do a good job of that. We’ll continue to work on that. We have a few days to get ready for York and then Greely. There’s always a big game to get ready for in this league.”

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

Recent Yarmouth-Freeport results

2021
Yarmouth 5 @ Freeport 2
@ Yarmouth 3 Freeport 2 (OT)
Class B South quarterfinal
@ Yarmouth 1 Freeport 0

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

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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

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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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