FALMOUTH—There was no letdown.

Just another dose of brilliance from Falmouth’s surging boys’ lacrosse team.

Saturday evening, some 72 hours after ending Cape Elizabeth’s 32-game win streak and beating the three-time reigning Class A champions for the first time in six years, the Navigators had to go on the road to take on another powerhouse, the Yarmouth Clippers, and their prolific offense.

But you can’t score if you don’t have the ball and Falmouth ensured that the Clippers’ opportunities would be minimal by winning a stunning 20 of 26 faceoffs.

The Navigators never trailed and went ahead to stay late in a back-and-forth first quarter, getting goals from junior Gio Guerrette, sophomore TJ Saulter and junior Evan Yale to hold a 6-3 lead after 12 minutes.

Yarmouth senior standout Colter Olson twice pulled his team within two in the second period, but a late goal from Guerrette made it 8-5 at the half.


After winning 10 of 13 faceoff opportunities in the first half, sophomore Peter Kearnes continued to dominate in the second and Falmouth pushed its lead to 13-7 after three quarters before going on to a 14-8 victory.

Saulter led the way with four goals, pacing a balanced attack which featured eight different goal-scorers, as the Navigators improved to 9-1 on the year, dropping the Clippers to 8-3 in the process.

“We knew we’d learn more about our team today than we did Wednesday,” said Falmouth coach Dave Barton. “It’s easy to get up for a game like (Cape), but this group has had quiet confidence all year. We truly focus on what we can control. I think this group is wired differently. They genuinely love playing together and competing.”

Opposite ends of the spectrum

For Falmouth, Wednesday night was one of exhilaration, as junior Joey Guerrette scored late to beat host Cape Elizabeth, 11-10.

For Yarmouth, Wednesday evening was just the opposite, as it lost decisively at home to reigning Class B champion York.


Both teams had to put those games quickly behind them to prepare for Saturday’s showdown.

The Navigators started the 2024 season by blanking visiting Marshwood (17-0), then they rolled over visiting Deering (21-1), host Scarborough (14-2) and host Noble (17-4). After a 7-6 home loss to Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth got back on track and defeated host Windham (20-5), visiting Kennebunk (17-2) and visiting Brunswick (18-1) before Wednesday’s inspirational win at Cape Elizabeth.

The Clippers, meanwhile, rolled in their first five games, defeating visiting Gray-New Gloucester/Poland (18-7), host Freeport (21-6), host Brunswick (18-6), visiting Greely (17-1) and host Waynflete, the three-time reigning Class C champion (20-6). Yarmouth then held a fourth quarter lead against visiting Cape Elizabeth, but couldn’t hold it, falling in a thriller, 13-12. The Clippers bounced back to dispatch visiting Messalonskee (18-11), host Greely (13-2) and host Scarborough (15-8) before Wednesday’s 14-7 home loss to York, as they weren’t able to avenge last year’s playoff ouster.

Last spring, Falmouth beat visiting Yarmouth, 14-9.

Saturday, on a rainy but warm evening (58-degrees at the start), in front of a large and vocal crowd, the Clippers sought their first win over the Navigators since May 28, 2021 (11-9 on the road), but instead, Falmouth continued to impress.

Yarmouth sophomore Noah Tippie tries to get out of trouble in the Navigators’ 14-8 victory Saturday. Hoffer photos.

Kearns won the opening faceoff and 29 seconds in, sophomore Hayden Davis scored unassisted to give the Navigators a quick lead.


With 9:59 left in the first quarter, junior Ty Garlock fought his way through traffic and finished unassisted to double the margin.

After Yarmouth sophomore goalie Will Redfield denied sophomore Ian Christie, Clippers sophomore longstick middie Nate Buchanan raced into the offensive zone and fired a shot past Falmouth junior goalie Cam Sinclair to cut the deficit in half with 7:58 to go in the frame.

With 6:33 left, Olson scored for the first time, finishing unassisted, despite being smothered by junior defenseman Indi Backman.

The Navigators went back in front 30 seconds later, as Kearns won the faceoff and the ball came to Christie, who scored unassisted.

After Sinclair robbed sophomore George Brown, Olson fought through the defense, then passed at the last second to sophomore Hakon Yeo, who found the net to tie the score for the second and final time, 3-3, with 2:41 to go.

A minute later, Falmouth took the lead for good, as Gio Guerrette scored unassisted.


With 1:13 on the clock, Yale found a wide open Saulter in front for his first goal to make it 5-3.

The Navigators then struck again before period’s end, as Yale rolled the crease before beating Redfield with 16.5 seconds left.

Kearns won eight of 10 first quarter faceoffs and Falmouth translated that into a 12-6 edge in a shots and a three-goal lead.

The second period began with Redfield denying Christie.

Olson then scored unassisted with 10:17 remaining in the half to cut the deficit to two.

Olson had a chance to make it a one-goal game 39 seconds later, but he missed just wide.


At the other end, with 8:23 on the clock, after sophomore defenseman Dylan Cleveland transitioned the ball, he fed senior Aidan Clapper for a goal and a 7-4 lead.

After Redfield robbed senior Cole Allan and Sinclair denied Brown, junior Matt Cain got the ball to Olson, who finished just inside the near post with 4:29 left.

But again, the Navigators were able to answer, as 43 seconds later, Gio Guerrette scored an unassisted goal.

After Sinclair denied Cain and robbed Olson, Falmouth took an 8-5 lead to the break.

Yarmouth sophomore Nate Buchanan is defended by Falmouth senior Elijah St. Louis.

Yarmouth was very much in the contest when the second half began, but by the end of the third quarter, the Navigators opened up a comfortable advantage.

After Kearns won the faceoff to start the frame, Yale set up Saulter for a goal with 10:55 left.


With Falmouth playing up 6-v-4, Davis then scored unassisted after a turnover with 9:53 on the clock to make it 10-5.

Olson answered with an unassisted goal with 8:13 remaining and after Redfield robbed Saulter, Brown scored an unassisted goal with 4:49 left to cut the deficit to three.

The game then turned for good with 3:06 left, as Olson got the ball in front, but Sinclair robbed him point blank.

At the other end, Yale set up Joey Guerrette for a top shelf rocket with 2:22 to go.

Nineteen seconds later, Saulter scored unassisted and after Allan fired a shot off the crossbar, Gio Guerrette tacked on another goal, unassisted, with 12.1 seconds showing, sending the Navigators to the final stanza with a 13-7 lead.

“Truthfully, I think we came out a little flat and make no mistake about it, I challenged the guys at halftime that for the first time this year, I don’t think they emptied the tank,” Barton said. “Then, there were so many energy plays early in the third quarter. They answered the bell like I knew they would.”


Yarmouth got a goal back with 10:49 to play, man-up, as Olson set up Yeo, but the Clippers wouldn’t score again.

Falmouth scored one final goal of its own, as Saulter did the honors, unassisted with 3:08 to go.

The Navigators were content to run out the clock from there and get out of town with an impressive 14-8 victory.

Falmouth celebrates its win at the final horn.

“It’s been a great week,” said Gio Guerrette. “We have a good, solid team this year. It’s a bunch of dogs. We’ve been playing our hearts out. We just play the best we can every game. The highs are never too high and the lows are never too low. That’s the saying we follow.”

Saulter paced the Navigators with four goals. Gio Guerrette added three, Davis had two and Christie, Clapper, Garlock, Joey Guerrette and Yale all tickled the twine once.

Yale also had three assists, while Cleveland finished with one.


“We play as a team, win as a team,” Gio Guerrette said. “Everyone just works well together.”

“We have great balance,” Barton said. “We take great pride scoring as six. A lot of teams focus on who’s getting the short stick, who’s drawing top poles. We’ve worked a lot on developing our lacrosse IQ and we’re not going to shy away from great poles. We want to make them defend. If they’re defending the ball, they’re not ready to defend the backside and vice versa.”

Sinclair made seven saves.

Falmouth finished with an overwhelming 20-6 advantage in the faceoff circle, as Kearns won 18 of 23 opportunities and senior Will Gale went 2-for-3.

“Possession makes the game,” said Kearns. “The best defense is a defense that doesn’t have to play at all. If we’re keeping possession on offense, there’s nothing the other team can do about it. It’s a pleasure to be on this team and have the great coaches I have.”

“Peter’s great at faceoffs,” Gio Guerrette said. “Probably the best in the state.”


“Having Peter, we understand that’s a luxury,” added Barton. “Offensively, we talk about being quick, but not being in a hurry. It’s a different game with 14 extra possessions.”

The Navigators had a 31-20 edge in ground balls (Cleveland, Joey Guerrette and Yale all had three), enjoyed a 48-29 shots advantage (28-15 on frame) and overcame 16 turnovers.

Yarmouth’s offense was highlighted by four goals and two assists from Olson. Yeo scored twice, while Brown and Buchanan had one goal apiece. Cain also had an assist.

Redfield made 14 saves.

Buchanan had a game-high four ground balls.

The Clippers turned the ball over 16 times, but ultimately just didn’t have enough possession to keep up.


“We spent too much time on defense,” lamented Yarmouth coach Jon Miller. “If you look at the opportunities over the course of the game, we got absolutely dominated. You can play great defense, but if you don’t have enough opportunities, things won’t go your way.

“It’ll be back to basics. Ground balls, passing and catching, avoiding unforced turnovers. We’ll work on faceoffs. We have a freshman and a sophomore taking them and they’re doing great, but it’s a team effort.”

No time to waste

Each team has just three games remaining to solidify their playoff standing.

Yarmouth (currently ranked second behind Messalonskee in the Class B state Heal Points standings) goes to Fryeburg Academy Tuesday, hosts North Yarmouth Academy Friday, then closes at Cape Elizabeth May 29.

“We had two tough games that didn’t go our way this week, but they were useful for figuring out what we need to improve on to get on the right path for playoffs,” Miller said. “If you play enough good teams, you’ll improve. The goal is to win out. Wherever we are in Heal Points, we’ll head into playoffs. The goal is still to win the state championship.”


Falmouth (second to Cape Elizabeth in Class A at press time) is home Wednesday versus South Portland, the team which upset it in last year’s playoffs. After going to Bonny Eagle Friday, the Navigators play May 28 at Gorham, then finish up May 30 with a key home test versus Thornton Academy.

“I feel like we have a solid group and we’ll see what happens,” Gio Guerrette said.

“I think it’s all in our mentality,” said Kearns. “We want to stay confident, but not too confident. Being cocky brings us down. I just want us to stay at the same level we’ve been at since the beginning of the season. We just want to win.”

“It’s been a tough week,” Barton said. “Two teams made us earn it. We’re definitely bumped and bruised. We’ll take full advantage of a couple days to rest, then South Portland comes to us. There’s nothing we can do to take back last year. Our guys will just view it as another chance to compete. It’s weird playing TA the last game of the regular season. They don’t play as much zone this year, so it’s different to prepare for them. We’re not looking that far ahead. We want to win every single game and if that gets us into a certain spot Heal Points-wise, great.”

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

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