FREEPORT — After a double-overtime loss to Gray-New Gloucester in last year’s postseason, Freeport hosted the Patriots on Wednesday and soundly took advantage of the opportunity for revenge.

Four goals and a stout defensive performance led to a decisive 4-1 victory.

And the win was that much sweeter.

“When the girls saw that that was our first game, it was just, ‘Game on,’” Freeport coach Marcia Wood said. “There was not much motivation other than ‘we’re playing Gray-New Gloucester first.’ It doesn’t take the sting out, but it helps. It helps and it kind of gives us that confidence.”

“It feels pretty good to finally beat them,” senior attacker Bailey Coffin said. “I know we’ve beat them a few times, but after last year, it feels pretty good to come back like that.”

After fending off an early spurt of possession from Gray-NG (0-1), Freeport (1-0) took control of the ball and kept it out of its own half throughout the first frame. Three minutes in, a counter attack led to the game’s first corner in the Patriots’ half of the field, and the pressure was on.

A save by Alicia Credit on the corner was followed by two more saves before Coffin finally punched in the first goal of the game for Freeport at the 22:27 mark. Five minutes later, after heavy pressure and more kick saves, Coffin punched in another rebound to double the lead.

“Bailey’s been doing it since freshman year,” Wood said. “I was just looking at out stats, and it’s been Bailey, it’s been Bailey, it’s been Bailey. This year, it’s 10-plus. She might be quiet on the field, but she’s the one scoring all the goals.”

“We have like five people in the circle usually,” Coffin said. “We’ve been working on that. More power in the circle has made us stronger.”

The Falcons earned five corners and fired 11 shots on goal in the first half, while the Patriots managed just one of each.

With about seven minutes until halftime, Wood called a timeout to give her team a water break and remind them to keep the intensity up before the intermission — in the past, it’s been “typical” for the Falcons to slow things down a bit as the clock winded down.

The short chat paid off. Five minutes later, four more shots on goal put the Patriots on their heels and eventually led to a stroke penalty when a shot was kicked in the circle.

Junior Chloe Davidson confidently stepped up to the spot and lifted the ball into the roof of the net to make the score 3-0 before halftime, effectively putting things out of reach.

Stopping them cold

Most of the noise Gray-NG mustered came on the counter-attack, taking advantage of a couple rare Freeport mistakes and darting up the field.

Cara Waltz gave the Patriots their lone goal 12 minutes into the second half, after she controlled a rebound and slotted the ball into the bottom left-hand corner past Megan Seymour. For the most part, though, the Freeport defense shut down possible counters before they even started.

Multiple times, proper stick placement halted Gray-NG forwards in their tracks and quickly changed possession. Leading the way was senior defender Ireland Hall, who was stepping up after an injury, in the back.

“She’s got one move, but she’s perfected it,” Wood said of Hall. “She’s the one that just puts her stick down, stops them. It doesn’t have to be pretty, you need to stop them and get it out. She made some very big saves back there.”

In the preseason, like at the Drive-Out Cancer tournament at Mt. Ararat High School last weekend, Freeport was working on the basics — passing the ball around, taking opportune shots and, if need be, clearing the ball out. More than anything, Wood said her squad utilized the latter Wednesday.

“It’s OK sometimes to just hammer the ball up the field. We did that a lot today,” Wood said. “Into space and our players were able to run on to it. They’ve been playing together for a while. My junior class is pretty big, so it’s just them getting used to their new positions. I thought they did a great job.”

The offensive productivity slowed a bit in the second half, but Alexa Koenig scored the game-clincher at 5:49. In all, Freeport finished with 15 shots on goal, nine of which were saved by Credit. Gray-NG took seven corners and made four shots on goal.


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