Falcons' fall season in review

Laura Pierce, a senior, has been a fixture for Freeport XC.

With fall sports behind us – and the winter seasons still a few weeks away – now is an opportune moment to look back on Freeport’s recent successes on the football and soccer fields, the cross country trails, and so forth.

Cross Country
As they are wont to do, Brian Berkemeyer’s runners posted a solid year: Both the boys and girls contingents fared well at Regionals Oct. 29 at Twin Brook in Cumberland), where the boys finished second to Greely and the girls finished eighth, just back from Wells. The boyw earned a States berth with ease, whereas the girls just squeaked onto the larger stage.

Given one more meet at which to show their stuff, both Freeport squads rose to the task: The boys finished third (behind Greely in first and Wells in second, but ahead of Yarmouth in fourth) and the girls finished a few slots back from the middle of the pack – but well ahead of last – in 10th of 13.

The Falcons say goodbye in June to several seniors, including Henry Jaques, who finished second in the state both this year and last, and recently earned All-New England Honors by taking 19th at that competition. Also departing are Yacob Olins (10th at States), Evan Donald, Laura Pierce and Olivia Botting.

Berkemeyer looks forward to rebuilding his team in the coming seasons. Alex Les and Lily Horne, both sophomores, figure to be his top runners for the next two years.

Berkemeyer is already hard at work, orchestrating the upcoming indoor track season, but offered these closing remarks on cross country’s efforts: “The culture of our team has changed. Kids are willing to put in the miles on their own, knowing that it will help themselves and the team in the future. Freeport is now becoming a team that others expect will challenge for a top spot at the State Meet. Our Running Boosters continue to help develop a strong running mentality in the community.”

Field Hockey 
Marcia Wood’s outfit has been on the rise in recent years,and displayed further development in 2016. The Lady Falcons opened their schedule 2-0 before giving up a tie to North Yarmouth Academ and suffering their first loss (to Kennebunk). Mid-season, the team powered through a particularly tough stretch, facing eventual Regional Runners-Up Yarmouth twice, eventual State Champs York once and Class A powerhouses Falmouth once as well. While Freeport may not have picked up any surprise victories, they brought home all the wins they should have, and earned themselves the No. 8 playoffs berth with a 6-7-1 record. In 2015, they entered at 6-8.

But whereas in 2015 the team fell in the bracketing prelims on the road at Gray-New Gloucester, they hosted Cape Elizabeth in this year’s first round, dispensing with the Capers 3-0. Unfortunately, they then ran up against York again, falling 8-0 and retiring till 2017. 

“Throughout the season, we grew in the sense that we were making better decisions on the field,” Wood said. “That was a major thing we were working on this year, our field hockey IQ. I think we were understanding the game better as the season went on, and that will help us next year.”

Wood noted a couple big moments from her girls’ run: “Our first win against Gray was a nice revenge over last year,” she said. “I also think we played well at our prelim game versus Cape.”

Leaving the team in June are seniors Rebecca Kennett, Bailey Coffin, Emily Randall, Ireland Hall and Megan Seymour.

Wood took a final moment to applaud a couple of her seniors: “Megan Seymour, our goalie, stepped up huge this year. She really kept us in some games,” she said. “And we’ll miss our high-scorer Bailey Coffin and her knack for getting the ball in the cage.”

Football
Paul St. Pierre’s boys offered up perhaps the season’s biggest surprise, going 4-4 in the regular season and earning the No. 5 playoffs seed. The team picked up a win over Poland 22-8 at home to open the schedule, but then suffered something of a setback on the road vs. Wells, who topped them 53-0 – though the Warriors, of course, went on to win the C South Championship. The Gentlemen Falcons then got back to their winning ways with a 27-0 W against G-NG before falling 42-6 at Cape. As a side note, it’s worth emphasizing that while the Falcons fell to the Capers, they didn’t get shut out, and more importantly, scored their TD in the waning moments after battling all game. That never-say-die attitude characterized the team all year.

It characterized them so well, in fact, that it powered them to a huge upset at the end of the regular season, when they defeated Yarmouth 30-16 in the annual Battle of the Bay. Freeport’s first-ever triumph against the Clippers came on the road and in extreme conditions, and no doubt left an indelible mark in the memories of every player, coach and spectator in attendance.

The Falcons’ run came to an end in the first round of the bracketing. They traveled to fourth-ranked Spruce Mountain for that game, ultimately falling 20-14.

Seniors Cody Vachon, Chandler Wyman, TJ Morrill, Connor Dostie, Max Doughty, Sean Purdy, Ethan Chase, Kyle Campbell, Tucker Ginn, Mike Foss and Austin Langley all graduate in June. 

Boys Soccer
Like most of Freeport’s other teams, Joe Heathco’s boys looked stronger this year. After a 4-8-2 2015 that saw them enter the playoffs ranked 11th, then exit in the first round, they opened 2016 with three straight wins en route to a 6-7-1 regular season. That record earned them the tournament nine-seed, necessitating a road-trip to No. 8 Lincoln Academy for the prelims. There, the Falcons prevailed 3-1, advancing to the quarters – and, alas, a matchup vs. No. 1 Maranacook, who emerged victorious 5-0.

“We developed a great deal as a team over the course of the year,” said Heathco. “Players came to know their various roles and learned to work together to achieve as a group. Our technical skill improved, and we made strides in developing a coordinated offensive scheme.”

“We had 13 different players score goals this season—an incredible number,” Heathco said. “I think this speaks very highly about our team concept as well as our ability to adjust to a variety of setbacks to our lineup throughout the season. It also speaks to the depth in the program currently.

Heathco elaborated on some of the season’s bigger moments: “We started the season with a win over NYA to bring home the McDougal Cup for the seventh time in the last 10 years,” he said. “It ended up being the most valuable win in terms of Heal Points.”

“We also had a very cool home night game that Freeport United Soccer Club funded, which was also our senior game, where the boys played with incredible heart and desire,” he said. “(And we had) a really nice 3-1 playoff victory over a good Lincoln Academy team at their place. A game where we had to come back from 0-1 down.”

“I, as coach, liked the grit and determination that this group showed repeatedly throughout the season,” Heathco said. “We had probably the most diversity that I have encountered in my 18 years as varsity coach. These boys kept their eyes on the prize throughout the season and were playing their best soccer at the end.”

Five boys depart the team, come June: Josh Spaulding, Max Heathco, Joe Burke, Ryan Rosado and Eric Pelletier. Those boys will be sorely missed, of course, but Freeport boasts a healthy helping of young talent, and can look forward to good things in the future. 

Heathco remarked thoughtfully on each of his seniors. Of Max Heathco, he said: “I am very proud of his growth and development as a player and a leader. He became an invaluable part of our lineup and came up big for us when we needed him, with all three of his goals being game-tying or game-winning. His physical presence in the middle, along with the direction he provided to some of our less experienced players, was huge. Finished as a Western Maine Conference honorable mention player.”

Of Spaulding: “A terrific all-around athlete who could do a lot of things for us. He was often a target player for us in our offensive schemes. He had the speed and the skill to beat people one on one. He could score as well as set up players. He had some of the nicest assists of the season.”

Of Pelletier: “A solid defender who played a ton of minutes. Was a question mark before the season, but had a wonderful senior year. Huge part of our success and solid play in the back. Really pleased with all of his contributions. Fun in practice as well with a good sense of humor and great attitude.”

Of Rosado: “Another solid player who did a variety of roles for us. Played a lot of midfield, but moved back to defense at the end of the season and had an excellent game at Lincoln Academy with a mighty contribution off the bench.”

And finally, of Burke: “A terrific goaltender. He had so many moments where he stepped up and made huge plays to pick us up. We really owe a ton of our success to his consistent play and big play abilities. Finished as a Western Maine Conference honorable mention player.”

Girls Soccer
Elayna Girardin’s girls stepped up their game significantly in 2016, going 7-5-2 in the regular season to grab the playoffs seven-seed – this in contrast to their 3-9-2 performance last year, which left them well outside the tournament. The Lady Falcons were consistent across their schedule, never slumping and earning homefield advantage for the postseason prelims. They hosted No. 10 Maranacook in the rain at NYA for that battle, emerging victorious 2-0 and moving on to face Greely, the two-seed, in the quarters. Unfortunately, the Rangers got the better of the Falcons 3-1 and sent them packing that evening until next autumn.

“The biggest change for us throughout the season was how well we began to play as a team,” Girardin said. “I feel that a huge part of being successful is to trust your teammates, and when we started doing that we began to get more confident attacking other teams. We knew that our teammates would always have our backs no matter what risk we took in order to score.”

“There were many important moments during the season, but it is hard to get much better than playing under the lights at Freeport for the first time in school history,” Girardin said. “The game felt bigger than us, it was about the community coming together. Of course it was incredible to tie Sacopee when they were having a strong season, and last year we struggled with them. It showed us that the community was behind us, but also that we deserved to play with the strong teams.”

Emily Latulippe, Amber Smith, Olivia Greuel, Jessie Gray, Jordan Randall, Kelsey Meyer and Olivia Alterio leave Freeport behind in June. Thankfully, the team boasts a number of up-and-comers, including Tara Migliaccio, Catriona Gould and Tia Peterson, all freshmen who saw regular playing time this fall.

“These girls have truly been the heart of this team,” Girardin said of her seniors. “They were able to show the younger players so much about being a good teammate – from showing them how hard you have to work if you want to win, to how to communicate with each other on and off the field. They did everything they could to make sure each player knew they were important to the team and therefore important to them.”

Laura Pierce, a senior, has been a fixture for Freeport XC.

Freeport’s No. 2 runner this year was Yacob Olins, who’ll graduate in June.

Senior Bailey Coffin was the field hockey team’s high scorer.

Ryan Rosado played a key role for the Falcons in this, his senior season.

Cody Vachon says goodbye to his Freeport football days this year.

Freeport’s Emily Latulippe, a stalwart defender in a successful season, is slated to graduate in June.