Leavitt’s Ginny Twitchell (9) turns away from Freeport’s Ally Randall with the ball during the second half of Wednesday’s Class B South field hockey quarterfinal at Joan Benoit Samuelson Track and Field. The Falcons came away with a 2-0 victory and will face Fryeburg on Saturday. Eric Maxim/The Times Record

FREEPORT  — Freeport received goals from Kyla Havey and Sydney Silva while the Falcons defense stuffed the visiting Hornets as No. 2 Freeport blanked No. 7 Leavitt 2-0 in a Class B South field hockey quarterfinal matchup at Joan Benoit Samuelson Track and Field on Wednesday.

Leavitt ends its season at 8-7, while the Falcons improved to 10-3-2 and will face No. 3. Fryeburg, 1-0 winners over No. 6 Yarmouth, in a semifinal game on Saturday.

It will be the second year in a row that they will face off in the semifinal. Freeport came away with a 1-0 overtime victory at Fryeburg to advance to the regional final a year ago. The Falcons tied 1-1 on the Raiders’ grass field and took away a 3-1 victory on the turf in their two meetings this season.

“That’s what we said at the beginning (of the season), we need to fight, fight, fight, every point counts,” Freeport coach Marcia Wood said. “We did not want to play on grass, we can, but we wanted these games on our turf. We know they’re going to be tough and quick and aggressive to the ball. We want to come out and score early and play like we did today.”

The Falcons’ play on Wednesday was what the coach ordered. After a slow start from both teams, Freeport began maintaining possession in its offensive end, with Hannah Groves putting the first of six Freeport opening-half shots on goal 14 minutes into the contest, but was turned away by Leavitt keeper Paige DeMascio (five saves).

“It obviously took them the first part of the game to see what they were up against,” Wood said about the somewhat tentative start by the Falcons. “At first we came out strong but then started hanging back. We told them they need to start going hard to the ball. We also told Hannah Groves that she needs to reach more because she’s tall. After that, she got a couple of calls in her favor as a result. ”

With the game still scoreless with nine minutes remaining in the first half, Havey sent a ball into the circle and Autumn Golding blasted a ball at DeMascio, but the keeper made a pad save to preserve the early shutout.

Minutes later, Havey made something happen on her own, picking up a loose ball in front of the cage, sending it through for the game’s first score.

“It was very nerve-wracking, but very exciting,” Havey said about the goal. “It was about a lot of teamwork. I wasn’t sure what was all happening in front of the cage but I saw the ball and put it in.”

“She’s doing it for us,” Woods said about Havey’s offensive prowess this season. “She works best when she has an open field, but inside she has a knack of being feisty and doing a really nice job getting a stick on it.”

That was all the Falcons needed. For the remainder of the half, the Freeport defense, led by Meredith Feller, kept the Hornets from taking a shot on goal, taking the one-goal lead into the halftime break.

“Meredith was all over that field and stepping to the ball,” Wood said. “She did not play field hockey last year and came back out this year. She works hard for us and I’ve been so impressed with what she has brought to us after not playing for a year.”

Freeport continued its dominance on the defensive side, keeping Leavitt from creating many second-half opportunities.

“The kids did what we asked them to do,” Leavitt coach Wanda Ward-MacLean said. “We had a couple of opportunities like the one ball that came across the cage in the first half, we just couldn’t convert. (Feller) did a nice job coming up and intercepting the ball and shutting things down. She was tough.”

Leavitt’s best chance for a score came early in the second half when Ally Langlois drove into the circle and fired a shot, only to be turned away by Freeport keeper Piper Sherbert, as she thwarted the ball away with her left-hand pad.

“When I make a save, I don’t see it until the last second. I rely on my defense to talk with me and tell me a shot’s coming and look for it,” Sherbert said. “Our defense has been phenomenal all season. They’re such a big part of how I play.”

The defense continued doing its part, allowing just one more shot on goal for the remainder of the game.

With 16:43 on the clock, the aggressiveness of the Falcons paid off, as a gaggle of Freeport players stormed the cage, pouncing on a loose ball. After the “turf dust” cleared, Silva came away with a stick on the ball that drove it to the back of the cage for the all-important insurance goal.

“We’ve been working on ‘Let’s get aggressive, step to the ball and focus on it, get a touch on it,’” Woods said. “And that paid off for us.”

Leavitt finished the game strong, but was unable to penetrate the Falcons defense while keeping up with the Falcons on the turf.

“They’re long, and that plays right along with the turf, as they’re used to playing on it,” Ward-Maclean said. “We only played on the turf twice this year. It’s an adjustment.”

Freeport will now prepare for Fryeburg.

“We’ve played them a few times the past couple of years and it’s been a battle every time. I think we can do it,” Sherbert said about playing the Raiders. “Game film will be a big tool for us. We have some on them and we’ll analyze it tomorrow and be ready for them Saturday.”

Freeport’s Kyla Havey (10) reaches past Leavitt’s Daisy Twitchell (7) for the ball as Ginny Twitchell looks on from behind during Wednesday’s Class B South quarterfinal field hockey game. Eric Maxim/The Times Record


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