YARMOUTH—Lewis Field has been a traditional house of horrors for Freeport’s boys’ lacrosse team and Tuesday afternoon, the Falcons were staring another agonizing loss in the face.

But this time around, the Falcons solved host North Yarmouth Academy and in the process, earned a huge dose of confidence.

Freeport held a 2-1 lead after one quarter, was up, 4-3, at halftime, then went in front by three goals on a couple of occasions in the third period.

But the Panthers roared back behind the sharpshooting of junior Zach Leinwand to tie the score, then Leinwand set up sophomore Gavin Thomas for an 8-7 lead early in the fourth quarter.

The Falcons answered, as goals from junior Randall Walker and sophomore Jackson Moore put them on the brink of victory, but with 35.3 seconds to go, NYA drew even playing 6-on-4, as Thomas finished.

Making matters worse for Freeport, it took another penalty and when the game went to overtime, the Falcons had to play man-down and the Panthers even got the ball to start the extra frame.


But Freeport sophomore goalie George Maschino made a pair of critical saves and with 37.5 seconds remaining, junior Hunter Richards scored to win it, 10-9.

Walker scored three goals to lead the way as the Falcons improved to 3-2 while dropping NYA to 3-3 in the process.

“I think this group has grown a lot and it’s good to see all the hard work pay off,” said Freeport coach Brendan Boss. “A lot of guys were prepared for this moment and they stepped up when the time was right.”

Digging deep

After falling to Waynflete in the Class C state game for the second consecutive spring, NYA came into the 2024 season hoping to take the final step.

The Panthers opened with a 6-5 loss to Greely, then knocked off visiting Lake Region (23-3), Gardiner (15-11) and Gray-New Gloucester/Poland (9-8) before falling at Oak Hill last Friday in their first game on grass, 16-9.


Freeport has been a playoff regular in recent seasons and this spring, the Falcons have moved up to Class B. Freeport started with a 21-6 home loss to Yarmouth, then defeated visiting Lincoln Academy (19-4) and Lake Region (21-1) before falling at home to Deering in its last outing Friday, 11-10.

NYA won both meetings a year ago, 9-5 in Freeport and 10-4 in Yarmouth.

Tuesday, on an overcast, 46-degree afternoon, the Panthers had their chances to prevail again, but instead, the Falcons snapped a three-game skid in the series, beating NYA in extra time, just as they did two years ago in their most recent win over their longtime tormentors.

North Yarmouth Academy senior Nate Oney carries the ball as Freeport senior Noah Michaud defends during the Falcons’ 10-9 overtime win Tuesday. Hoffer photos.

Panthers freshman Deagan Nadeau won the opening faceoff of the game and just 22 seconds in, Leinwand scored his first goal, from senior Nate Oney, for a quick 1-0 lead.

But NYA wouldn’t score again in the frame, as Maschino stopped shots from Leinwand and Oney.

The Falcons would draw even with 6:56 left in the opening stanza, as Walker scored his first goal, unassisted.


It took just 24 seconds for Freeport to strike again, as Richards weaved through traffic before beating Panthers sophomore goalie Harry Seely unassisted for a 2-1 lead.

The Falcons nearly added a third goal late in the frame, but Seely saved shots from Walker and Richards and Moore rang a shot off the post.

NYA went man-up early in the second quarter, but couldn’t draw even, as Oney, senior Ethan Brochu and senior Nick Pelletier were off target.

The Panthers then drew even with 10:29 on the clock, as Leinwand finished, from senior Liam Street.

Freeport retook the lead man-up 36 seconds later, as Walker scored, from junior David Ulrickson.

With 6:19 to go, Ulrickson scored unassisted on a bounce shot to make it 4-2, but after Seely denied Richards, senior Finn McCarthy and Walker, NYA crept back within one, as sophomore Jacob Colaluca passed to freshman Connor Morissette in transition.


After Seely robbed McCarthy and Walker, the Panthers appeared to pull even in the final minute, but a goal from Street was waved off, as he was ruled to be in the crease, keeping the score 4-3 at the break.

In the first half, the Falcons had a statistical edge in most categories, but 10 saves from Seely kept NYA close.

NYA freshman Deagan Nadeau defends Freeport senior Noah Michaud.

The Falcons appeared on the verge of gaining separation a couple of different times in the third quarter, but the Panthers refused to buckle.

With 8:27 to go in the frame, McCarthy bounced home a shot on the run.

Then, with 7:13 left, Ulrickson scored unassisted to make it 6-3.

Leinwand got a goal back with 5:02 on the clock, from Brochu, but after Maschino denied freshman Greyson Reeves, Moore made it a three-goal game again with 3:23 to go, as he scooped up a deflected pass and beat Seely.


Leinwand scored for the fourth time with 1:36 remaining in the third and when Ulrickson was called for slashing just before the horn, NYA started the fourth quarter man-up.

The Panthers then pulled back within one, as Leinwand scored man-up, from Thomas, with 11:08 remaining.

After Pelletier and Street missed shots, Maschino saved a shot from Reeves, but with 9:55 to play, Leinwand scored his sixth and final goal, unassisted, and just like that, the score was tied, 7-7.

It took just 20 seconds for NYA to go on top, as Leinwand set up Thomas for a goal and for the time since the score was 1-0, the Panthers were in front.

But they wouldn’t stay there.

After Seely twice denied Ulrickson, Walker fired a shot just inside the far post and in with 6:30 to play to tie the score, 8-8.


After Machino saved a shot from Pelletier at one end, Freeport took a 9-8 lead with 3:34 on the clock, as Walker drew the defense and set up Moore for the goal.

The Falcons did all they could to hang on to the lead down the stretch, but they weren’t able to do so.

After Street and Leinwand had shots saved by Maschino, two Freeport players were sent off with penalties with 50.3 seconds to play and NYA went 6-on-4 and managed to tie the score.

It took just 15 seconds to find the net, as Oney set up Thomas for a shot that Maschino couldn’t stop and for the fifth time, the game was deadlocked.

Nadeau then won the faceoff and the Panthers had a chance to win it, but Maschino saved a bid from Thomas.

NYA kept possession and called timeout with 11 seconds to go.


The Panthers would have one last look to win it, as Leinwand fed Thomas, who got around a defender and shot wide as time wound down, but senior Noah Michaud was called for a trip on the play and while the game went to overtime, NYA would get possession with a chance to win it.

While circumstances looked bleak for the Falcons, Boss felt otherwise and emphatically told his team during the break, ‘We’re going to overcome adversity and win the game.”

Boss would be proven prescient, but not without some anxious moments.

The Panthers took three shots to win the game man-up, but after missing just high twice, Thomas’ third bid was saved by Maschino.

“I was just praying that the goalie would save it and he did,” said Richards.

Freeport couldn’t set up on offense, turning the ball over, then NYA tried to end it again, but after missing just wide, Leinwand tried one more time and again, Maschino came up huge, making the stop.


“We were hoping to get one early because we felt like we had momentum and the ball,” said Panthers coach Peter Gerrity. “We had a couple good chances and got repeated chances, but we couldn’t get it in.”

The Falcons then managed to transition to offense and set up for the winner.

The ball got thrown around, then came to Richards up top. Richards made a move to his right and got a step on a defender. He then fired a bounce shot that eluded Seely and bounced into the top corner of the net with 37.5 seconds on the clock.

“I saw there was less than a minute left, so I took it in my own hands,” Richards said. “I went for it and redeemed myself after not playing as well as I should have throughout the game. I beat (the defender). I was a little far out, so I kept running and got a quick shot off, a bouncer top left and it worked out.”

“I remember seeing (Hunter) dodge and in my head I thought, ‘That’s game,'” said Walker. “I knew we had it in the bag.”

“If we gave them enough possessions, they’re a good enough team to score,” Gerrity said. “They liked that bouncer into the top corner. That was a good shot.”


At 5:15 p.m., Freeport had a dramatic 10-9 victory and the celebration began.

Freeport mobs junior Hunter Richards after he scored his overtime goal.

“It’s pretty fun,” said Richards. “It’s an experience I’ll remember forever. It feels good to get a team win after the loss the other day.”

“This means everything,” Walker said. “I remember doing this freshman year and it’s great to do it again. We were down and came back and it’s pretty awesome. It was our grit. Every huddle we talk about going 110 percent every time. I think that’s what showed the most. I think it was just all emotion.”

“Winning this means everything,” Boss added. “I think these games can go both ways. We’ve felt what it’s like to go the opposite way and today, it went our way. Overcoming adversity was how I put it. All the credit to the guys for showing fight on every ground ball and possession.”

The Falcons got three goals from Walker, two apiece from Moore, Richards and Ulrickson and one from McCarthy.

Ulrickson and Walker each had an assist.


Maschino made 13 critical saves.

Freeport had a 33-26 advantage on ground balls (Michaud led the way with five) and had a 24-22 edge in shots on cage. The Falcons overcame 16 turnovers.

For NYA, Leinwand was dominant, scoring six times and adding an assist.

“We know (Zach) is a great player and we know other teams know he’s a great player, so he gets challenged,” said Gerrity. “We have to get other guys scoring.”

Thomas finished with two goals and an assist and Morissette also scored.

Oney had two assists, while Brochu, Colaluca and Street each added one.


Colaluca, Nadeau and Street each collected three ground balls.

Seely stopped 14 shots.

The Panthers had a 12-9 edge in faceoffs and a 47-37 shots advantage, although more than half were off the mark. NYA also gave the ball away on 22 occasions.

“The last couple games have been hard for us,” Gerrity said. “We’re trying to find ourselves. The last couple years we knew what our style of play would be and we’re still trying to find that. We’re not happy with the final result, but today was an improvement.”

Next up

NYA visits Maranacook Saturday and the schedule is about to turn daunting. 


“We have to think about what we have to work on from this game,” said Gerrity. “If we improve every week, we’ll be in good shape. It’s a different landscape in Class C this year with Freeport and (Gray-New Gloucester) moving up to Class B. We know Oak Hill and Wells and Waynflete are legitimate, so there’s a long road ahead. Our schedule ramps up and we’re excited.”

Freeport stays on the road to face Morse Friday and Wells Monday.

“This really gives us momentum,” Richards said. “I think this game is in the past already, so now we’ll get ready for Morse in a few days.”

“I think a realistic goal is a championship,” said Walker. “The sky’s the limit if we put our minds to it.”

“This gives us the confidence that we know we can play,” Boss added. “This is the standard now and hopefully we’ll carry it forward.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. 

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