The fall sports season, as short and unique as it was, produced a lot of great memories, but without a traditional postseason, we were left with many what-ifs.
Teams weren’t able to embark on possible deep playoff runs and championship celebrations never happened.
But they could have.
And in that light, here’s a few of the biggest unanswered questions and one writer’s attempt to answer them:
Who was better, Falmouth or Waynflete?
Waynflete’s boys’ soccer team went 10-0, beating multiple Class A teams along the way and it’s fair to surmise that this Flyers edition was the finest in program history.
But were they good enough to beat defending Class A champion Falmouth, which had a solid season of its own (sweeping Yarmouth and only losing to Gorham on PKs and tying Greely)?
Let’s say the Flyers and Yachtsmen got a special dispensation to play a game following the regular season.
Here’s what might have happened…
As it seemingly always does, Falmouth races out of the gates and staggers Waynflete early when Rion Dos Santos sets up Charlie Adams for a goal in the fourth minute.
But the Flyers prove they can hold their own against the Yachtsmen, tying the game just before halftime when Joey Ansel-Mullen gets just enough space to find the goal, then taking a 2-1 lead early in the second half, as Ansel-Mullen sets up Henry Hart for the go-ahead tally.
Falmouth saves it best for last, however, tying the game with 10 minutes left, as Gus Ford finishes. Then, in the final minute, off a corner kick, Cole Fairfield plays the unlikely hero, heading home Dos Santos’ corner kick and the Yachtsmen prevail, 3-2.
How much fun would that game have been?
Could Cheverus have gone the distance?
Cheverus’ field hockey team did a great job blending experienced talent with some promising youth this fall and only lost once, a one-goal setback at Gorham. In a season devoid a clear favorite, the Stags would have been in line for a deep playoff run.
In the quarterfinals, Cheverus beats Falmouth, 3-1, behind two goals from Lucia Pompeo. Scarborough is up next and while the teams’ two regular season contests needed overtime before the Stags prevailed, this time, Cheverus doesn’t let the Red Storm off the mat and prevails, 4-1, as Pompeo and freshman Lily Johnson both score twice. The Stags run into reigning regional champion Biddeford in the Class A South Final and despite two more goals from Pompeo, finally meet their match and drop a heartbreaker, 3-2, in overtime.
Would the Bulldogs have made a deep run?
Portland’s boys’ and girls’ soccer teams both had the pieces in place to make some postseason magic.
The Bulldogs boys, winners of the “City Cup,” would have carried that momentum into the playoffs, downing Deering in an entertaining quarterfinal, 2-1, on Anselmo Tela’s late goal, but wouldn’t solve Falmouth in the semifinals, losing, 3-2.
Portland’s girls, one year after a disappointing upset loss in the quarterfinals, gets to face Noble again and this time, gets goals from three different players: Elizabeth Little, Toni Stevenson and Eliza Stein, en route to a 3-1 victory. The Bulldogs then appear in the semifinals for the first time since 2008, but despite an early goal from Stein, fall at Gorham, 2-1.
Would Freeport field hockey’s seniors achieve greatness?
Freeport’s accomplished class of 14 seniors got to the regional final and lost to York as sophomores, then had another great season as juniors, but was upset in the semifinals by Fryeburg Academy. If the Falcons had gotten another shot at a regional title, the guess here is they would have seized it and not even York would have stood in the way.
Freeport gets two goals from Ally Randall and another from Amelia Farrin in a 4-1 win over Greely in the quarterfinals, then edges Yarmouth in the semifinals, in the team’s third meeting of the fall, 3-2, thanks to Aynslie Decker’s goal with two minutes remaining. The Falcons had never beaten York, in the regular season or postseason, but Kyla Havey scores early and Randall adds a goal late in the first half. The Wildcats get on the board midway through the second half and keep Freeport on its heels the rest of the way, but the Falcons’ defense and goalie Victoria Balla, a rare junior to see the field, stands tall and for the first time in 20 years, Freeport is off to the state final. There, the Falcons trail defending champion Winslow most of the way, but Hannah Groves ties it with five minutes left and in overtime, Randall ensures she’ll forever live in Freeport lore by scoring the state championship game winner.
Could NYA do it again?
North Yarmouth Academy’s girls’ soccer team won the Class D state title in 2018 and 2019 and after another strong season this fall, would have been well-equipped to make a run at a third straight crown, something the Panthers last accomplished when they won five consecutive (in Class C) between 2003-07.
Not only does NYA win again, it doesn’t get a serious test along the way. The Panthers first blank Rangeley, 4-0, in the quarterfinals, as Naomi Reischmann and Jazzy Huntsman both score twice. Next up is Greenville and three first half goals stand up in a 3-0 victory (Angel Huntsman, Maggie Holt and Reischmann do the scoring honors). Richmond figures to put up a fight in the regional final, but Reischmann scores twice in the game’s first 10 minutes, Angel Huntsman adds a goal just before halftime and Jazzy Huntsman adds a second half goal for a surprisingly decisive 4-0 win. Penobscot Valley awaits again in the state final and for the fourth straight postseason game, NYA doesn’t surrender a goal and Resichmann caps her sterling career with two more goals and one more from Natalie Farrell leads to a 3-0 victory and a three-peat.
How about Yarmouth?
Yarmouth’s boys won the 2019 Class B title and had won five of six titles overall, but the Clippers appeared a little more vulnerable during the 2020 campaign. Once the playoffs began, however, it was business as usual.
Freeport, as it always does, gives Yarmouth fits in the quarterfinals and even leads, 1-0, at halftime, but the Clippers find another gear in the second half, tying it on Ian LaBrie’s goal, taking the lead on Aiden Kamm’s goal, then clinching a 3-1 victory when Evan Van Lonkhuysen scores off a corner kick late. In the semifinals, upset-minded Cape Elizabeth hopes to shock Yarmouth for the second time in three years and again puts the Clippers behind at halftime, but again, Yarmouth answers, as Will Cox, Will Dickinson and Baden McLaughlin score second half goals to produce a 3-1 win. In the regional final against Greely, the Clippers go up on a LaBrie goal, but the Rangers answer early in the second half. Late in regulation, a surprise hero emerges, as freshman Will Caruso finds himself in the right place at the right time to finish and give Yarmouth a 2-1 win. The Clippers then stay perfect in state games under Mike Hagerty, blanking Presque Isle, 2-0, behind goals from LaBrie and Sawyer Flowerdew. Another Gold Ball comes home to Y-Town.
What headlines would Maggie Cochran have stolen?
Cape Elizabeth’s girls’ soccer team wold have been a heavy favorite to win a third consecutive Class B title for the first time in program history (outscoring seven foes, 35-1, during the regular season ensures that) and while every playoff foe would have geared up to stop Maggie Cochran, the Capers junior star who just verbally committed to playing college soccer at Northeastern University in Boston, it wouldn’t have happened.
Cochran scores twice and assists Laura Ryer twice in a 5-1 quarterfinal round victory over Greely. Against York in the semifinals, Cape Elizabeth is held without a goal in the first half, but in the second half, Cochran sets up Caroline Gentile for the go-ahead goal, then Cochran scores late to produce a 2-0 victory. Yarmouth hopes to upset the Capers in the regional final and double-, triple-, even quadruple-teams Cochran at times, but Cochran sets up Ryer for an early goal, then she scores on a free kick just before halftime. Cochran adds a goal on a penalty kick in the second half and while the Clippers score late, Cape Elizabeth prevails, 3-1, and heads back to states. There, Hermon again awaits and despite knowing full well what Cochran is capable of (she scored three goals against the Hawks in the 2019 state game), they can’t stop her, as Cochran again scores three goals. Ryer and Riley Knupp also score and the Capers do it again, three-peating by virtue of a 5-0 victory.
Could surging Scarborough get back to the top?
Scarborough’s three-time Class A South regional champion girls’ soccer team came of age during the regular season, starting 1-3-1, then winning its final five contests. The Red Storm might have seemed beatable, but when the playoffs started, they again excel.
Scarborough enjoys a 3-0 win over South Portland in the quarterfinals, as Ali Mokriski scores two goals and Grace Pettingill also finds the net. In the semifinals versus Cheverus, neither team scores in regulation or in the first overtime, but in the second OT, Pettingill finds Mokriski, who gets just enough room to finish and give the Red Storm a 1-0 win. Gorham awaits in the regional final and the Rams take an early lead and limit Scarborough to just two shots on frame in the game’s first 70 minutes. The Red Storm’s third shot proves to be the charm, however, as Abby Drapeau ties it and sends the game to overtime. There, Mokriski again plays a role in the winning goal, but this time, she sets up Pettingill, who scores to send Scarborough back to the state final. This time, instead of having to get through Camden Hills, the Red Storm face Bangor and for the first time since 2012, they finish atop the Class A heap, as Mokriski’s first half goal stands up in a 1-0 victory.
We’ll never know how much glory the fall of 2020 might have produced, but it’s sure fun to consider and in the end, we’re just grateful for the season we did have.
Now, fingers crossed that winter sports will be a success as well.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.
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