This week in sports: Playoffs on the horizon

FOOTBALL

SET TO PASS — Lake Region’s MacKenzie Mondville is set to deliver a pass toward the Gray-New Gloucester cage during Friday’s regular season home finale. The Lakers dominated the Patriots, scoring an 8-0 victory behind two goals apiece from Abby Craffey, Alice Sanborn and Chelcie Murch. (Rivet Photos)

Lake Region makes no bones about their game plan. Offensively, they want to grind it out and chew up the clock. Defensively, they want to hit an opponent hard, and try to avoid big plays.

The formula almost worked at Livermore Falls last Friday.

Campbell Conference newcomer Spruce Mountain (formerly Livemore/Jay) scored twice in the fourth quarter to hand the Lakers their sixth straight loss, 43-24.

Bill Calden rushed for 146 yards on 11 carries and scored two touchdowns to pace the Phoenix.

The Lakers fell behind 13-0 after the first quarter, but trimmed the deficit to 13-8 with 8:48 left in the half as Ryan Skillern scored on a 27-yard run and Cody Gibbons tacked on the PAT run. Calden stole some of the Lakers’ thunder when he broke loose for a 53-yard touchdown. The Phoenix made it 12 straight points when a Laker fumble was returned 55 yards for a score.

Down 25-8, the Lakers refused to fold. Senior Jake Anderson ripped off a 43-yard TD run and Gibbons added the two-point conversion to close the gap to 25-16 with 2:02 left until intermission.

Again, the Phoenix answered the Lakers’ challenge, scoring on a 23-yard pass play with just 34 seconds remaining.

Down 31-16, the Laker again made the Phoenix faithful squirm in their seats. With their ground game picking up chunks of yards while whittling time off the clock, Anderson closed out the march with a 3-yard TD with 7 seconds left in the third. He added the two-point conversion making it 31-24.

FOLLOWING THROUGH — Courtney Yates of Lake Region sends a ball into the Patriot end during first half action in Naples.

But, the Phoenix would respond with 12 fourth quarter points on a 13-yard scoring pass and a 4-yard TD run to shake off the stubborn Lakers.

Both clubs recorded 10 first downs as the Lakers rushed for 251 yards on 51 carries. Spruce Mountain gained 277 yards on the ground and added 66 yards through the air. LR had 17 passing yards.

Up next: Top-ranked Wells (6-0) comes to town Friday night for a 7 p.m. game. The Warriors are fresh off a 28-12 victory over Mountain Valley, and likely heard all week not to suffer a letdown against the winless Lakers. Wells leads the conference in defense, allowing just 32 points.

Fryeburg Academy fell victim to Falmouth’s passing attack, allowing 142 yards through the air as the Yachtsmen hammered home a 42-12 victory last Friday night. Reaching paydirt for the Raiders were Devine Dockery and Zach Sheehan.

The loss was the Raiders’ fourth straight after opening the season 2-0.

Up next: The Raiders host Cape Elizabeth at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.

FIELD HOCKEY

Fryeburg Academy saw their nine-game win streak snapped last week, but it didn’t take the Raiders long to start a new one.

Fryeburg went nearly a month without experiencing a loss until the Raiders fell 2-1 to Falmouth last week. Jillian Rothweiler snapped a tie by scoring with 53 seconds left in regulation. Fryeburg hadn’t loss a game since Sept. 6 when the Raiders were blanked 1-0 by Greely.

DENIED ONCE…But Lake Region’s Meghan Skarbinski would not be denied later as she scored a first half goal during Friday’s meeting with Gray-New Gloucester.

Ellie Jones gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead at the half. Falmouth tied the game in the second half on what appeared to be a “controversial” goal. After some discussion, game officials awarded the Yachtsmen a goal.

“From that point on, I think Falmouth played with more momentum and we had a bit of the wind taken out of our sails,” FA Coach Dede Frost said.

How did the Raiders respond to the loss?

“The girls responded better than expected. I think we all felt like a loss was coming...almost like we were waiting for it. We played well, just not with the kind of intensity that was necessary,” Coach Frost said. “The basics were all there, but the spark was missing. We dominated the first half, they dominated the second. We had opportunities, including a shot with 10 seconds left. The most disappointing part for the girls, I think, was that Fryeburg has never entered the playoff season in first. It would have been a nice accomplishment. They knew that was no longer a possibility.”

York surged ahead to claim the top-ranking in Class B West with a 13-1 mark, nearly 9 tourney points better than the Raiders (142.4745 to 133.8010).

The Raiders (12-2) started a new win streak with a 2-0 victory over Wells behind goals from Christina DiPietro and Sage Hennessy and a 5-0 win in the regular season finale Tuesday against Gray-New Gloucester. Ellen Bacchiocchi scored twice, while FA also had goals by Ellie Jones, Sage Hennessy and Courtney Bartlett.

“At Wells, we did some fun things. I got to see some of my starters try new positions just to relieve some stress and shake things up a bit,” Coach Frost said.

Now, the Raiders (12-2) will turn their attention to the playoffs.

TEAMMATES BATTLE TO THE FINISH LINE — Fryeburg Academy cross-country runners Andrew Emery (left) and Kyle Barboza wage a heated battle to the finish line during last Friday’s regular season finale at Lake Region. Barboza just edged Emery. (Rivet Photo)

Fryeburg receives a first-round bye as the second seed, and will face the winner of the Mountain Valley (#7, 8-4-2) and Wells (#10, 3-10) prelim game scheduled for Saturday. The Raiders will either play their quarterfinal game on either Tuesday, Oct. 18 or Wednesday, Oct. 19.

“The key to our success will be to relax and set the tone for the next game. It’s easy to follow the lead of the opponent instead of setting our own pace. The girls are very talented and just need to go out and play with their hearts,” Coach Frost said. “I told the girls that they were only guaranteed 14 games...that’s what the league does for us. The rest is up to them. From now on, every game has to be earned. In order to play again, you have to win. The thought of the season ending is enough to make them want to continue, especially for the seniors, playing a game you love perhaps for the very last time is not something to look forward to. We’d like to make this season as long lasting as possible.”

Lake Region has been searching for consistency all season. It could be a key in the upcoming playoffs. Coming off a scoreless tie against Yarmouth, the Lakers exploded for an 8-0 victory over Gray-New Gloucester last Friday in the final regular season home game.

Abby Craffey, Alice Sanborn and Chelcie Murch each scored twice, while Meghan Skarbinski (Sanborn assist) and Kayleigh LePage also added goals. Sanborn had three assists on the day.

The Lakers (6-4-3) dominated territorial play, consistently intercepting Patriot passes and keeping the pressure on in the G-NG end. Patriot goalie Olivia Rottori turned aside several good scoring drives, while her counterpart, LR netminder Shannon Van Loan, had a comfortable afternoon — she didn’t face a shot on cage.

The Lakers had upset on their mind Tuesday when Lucy Fowler scored early in the first half for a 1-0 lead against top-ranked York. But, the Wildcats rallied to tie the game by halftime, and scored two second half goals for a 3-1 victory.

The Lakers finished 6-5-3, locking down the Number 8 seed, which means they will host a prelim game this Saturday (check daily papers or call the school for game time) against Number 9 Yarmouth (6-6-2). The two teams recently played to a scoreless tie on Yarmouth’s turf field. The winner earns a trip to York next week.

GIRLS’ SOCCER

When Fryeburg lost to Freeport, it appeared the Raiders’ hope to make the playoffs had been dashed.

Tuesday’s stunning 6-3 victory over rival Lake Region puts the Raiders right back into the mix.

Carla Tripp and Jamie Gullikson each scored two goals to power Fryeburg to the win, which vaulted them into the Number 9 spot in the Class B West Heal Ratings. Other FA goal scorers were Megan MacGillivray and Marie Roca.

Eleven schools qualify for the tournament. The race for the final three playoff spots will be waged by FA, LR, Poland (#11 at 3-9) and Gray-New Gloucester (#12 at 4-6-1).

Class C teams will play a big role in who makes it and who sits out. FA has Sacopee (#10, 5-6-1) and Waynflete (#3, 10-2) left, while the Lakers have Traip (#11, 4-7) and North Yarmouth Academy (#12, 2-10) on their slate. Poland and Gray play each other. Poland also has Traip, while Gray has Old Orchard Beach (#7, 8-4) and Waynflete.

So, the message is pretty simple now — win and you’re in.

In other action, the Lakers pushed Greely (11-1) on the Rangers’ home turf before falling 5-3. Rachel Wandishin netted two goals, and assisted on a goal by Kiersten Eldridge.

Up next: The Lakers conclude the regular season with road games — at Traip Academy today, Oct. 13 at 4 p.m. and at North Yarmouth Academy on Monday, Oct. 17 at 4 p.m.

Fryeburg Academy closes with a trip to Sacopee Valley tonight, Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. (varsity only) and host Waynflete on Monday at 3:30 p.m.

BOYS’ SOCCER

In other action, the Lakers dropped a 3-0 decision to Wells last week.

Up next: Fryeburg closes the season with a trip to Waynflete on Monday at 3:30 p.m.

Lake Region wraps up its schedule with a home game today, Oct. 13 against Traip Academy at 3:30 p.m. and an away tilt against North Yarmouth Academy Tuesday at 4 p.m.

CROSS-COUNTRY

With the conference championship a week away, Fryeburg Academy Coach Bill Reilly and Lake Region Coach Dan Dors took different approaches last Friday.

Coach Reilly rested his Big Three — Silas Eastman, Logan Gerchman and TJ Rose.

“I wanted to give some of the others a chance to run at the front and lead the team,” Coach Reilly said. “It worked! The boys won the meet and are really excited about the Western Maine Conference Championships and States.”

Coach Dors knows that if the Lakers are to qualify for the State Meet as a team, they need a big push from their second tier runners. So, every Laker was in the mix at the final home meet. LR senior TJ Leach won the 2.95-mile race in 16:54, while teammate Mark MacDougall was second in 17:07.

“That was TJ’s best run of the year. He has shown big improvement and is a great competitor,” Coach Dors said. “He has a strong will to do a good job. Great leader! Sets a fine example for the younger runners.”

Fryeburg nipped the Lakers in the final team standings 31-36. Gray-NG was third with 65 points followed by Poland with 101.

Here’s how other local runners fared:

3. FA, Jonathan Burk, 17:39

4. FA, Tyler O’Keefe, 17:54

5. FA, Eric Hannes, 18:00

6. FA, Liuke Yang, 18:01

10. LR, Dillon Knudsen, 18:15

11. LR, Nick Aceto, 18:35

12. LR, Lucien Sulloway, 18:48

13. FA, Liam Leconey, 18:57

14. FA, Tim Hoff, 18:58

16. LR, Kyle DeSouza, 18:59

20. FA, David Fulton, 19:26

22. LR, Mason Kluge-Edwards, 19:43

23. LR, James McCann, 20:06

24. FA, Sullivan Briggs, 20:12

26. FA, David Powers, 20:54

29. FA, Kyle Barboza, 21:13

30. FA, Andrew Emery, 21:13

31. LR, Ben Roy, 21:19

36. FA, Jesse Liljedahl, 22:35

37. LR, Kevin Flanagin, 22:39

38. LR, Colin Bridge-Koenigsberg, 22:56

39. LR, Nick Hall, 28:25

Although runners compete against each other for the best time possible, they also are very supportive. Runners from various teams returned to the track area and cheered on Gray-New Gloucester’s J. Moran — who had more of a speed walk stride than slow jog — as he finished the race in 33:35. Nice to see such great sportsmanship!

On the girls’ side, Coach Reilly was impressed with Corinn Bedell’s effort, 19:50 — she was a short distance behind Poland’s Kristina Smith (19:06).

“I told Corinn to run with the leader from Poland. She did and finished much closer to her than at the Lake Region Invitational (at the start of the season),” Coach Reilly said. “She is really coming on and could challenge for an individual State Meet berth.”

Poland claimed the meet victory with 35 points followed by the Raiders (42), Lakers (47) and Gray-New Gloucester (no score).

Here’s how other local runners fared:

3. FA, Elizabeth Grzyb, 20:27

5. FA, Laura Pulito, 21:33

8. LR, Savannah DeVoe, 22:21

10. LR, Maude Meeker, 22:29

11. LR, Kari Eldridge, 22:30

12. LR, Maggie Knudsen, 23:09

16. LR, Julia Carlson, 25:05

18. LR, Leanne Kugelman, 26:15

19. FA, Meghan Costello, 26:50

20. FA, Emily Powers, 28:04

21. LR, Galina Niemy, 29:27

22. FA, J. Duong, 30:33

23. FA, Daniele DeLucco, 32:48

Up next: The teams travel to Falmouth’s Community Park this Friday for the WMC Championships. Girls start at 3 p.m. followed by the boys at 3:30 p.m. JV races follow varsity action.

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