Pumped Up

Falmouth’s Thad Lincolne celebrates after giving the Clippers a 3-1 lead over Sandwich in the play-in game of the Cape and Islands tournament. FHS went on to win the game 5-2.

The Falmouth High School boys’ soccer team was playing with house money as they headed to Nauset High School last night in the Cape and Islands League championship tournament. Unfortunately there was no way to cash in the chips ahead of time and FHS headed back from the Lower Cape with empty pockets.

Nauset, which entered the game having outscored its opponents 53-1 for the season, showed exactly why they’ve been so dominant this season. Falmouth did its best to hang around, but ultimately fell by a 7-0 score to the Warriors.

When you’ve only given up a single goal all year, it’s not going to be easy for your opponent to make up a two-goal deficit. The Warriors scored a pair just two minutes apart in the first quarter to take the lead that they would not relinquish. Nate Watring one-timed a crossing pass in the seventh minute for the the Warriors to get the game’s first goal and then Ben LaBranche tallied one during a scramble a few moments later to double the lead for the home team.

Falmouth hung tough for as long as it could. Hard work in goal by Jack Richardson saw the senior make a number of tough saves, extending to bat away a very tough shot in the first quarter and making a gorgeous kick save late in the second quarter. Tommy Peterson made a number of big saves in the fourth quarter.

The game got away from the Clippers in the second half. The Warriors got another goal from Watring just over a minute into the second half to go up by three. LaBranche deflected in a corner kick in the 45th minute for a 4-0 NHS lead. Will Schiffer canned his first in the 47th minute off a scramble. LaBranche completed his hat trick with a penalty kick in the 53rd minute. Chris Pombo made it 7-0 in the 73rd minute.

Falmouth one solid scoring chance. Matt Shea was robbed in the third quarter on a hard shot.

Falmouth 5, Sandwich 2

If you’re going to save up your goals, you might as well save them up for the league playoffs.

The Falmouth High School boys’ soccer team had potted just five goals in eight Cape and Islands League games this season and had a total of nine over 10 games. After averaging less than a goal per outing, the Clippers exploded for four goals in the first half, three in the second quarter. Senior captain Daniel Holt had two of the markers for Falmouth as they took control and never looked back in a 5-2 win against rival Sandwich in the first round of the Cape and Islands League tournament on Tuesday, November 10.

For the Clippers the victory was the first for coach Dave Plourde against a league opponent, and second overall as the team won the match-up of the fourth and fifth-seeded teams in Sandwich. The Clippers advanced to face defending league champion Nauset.

“If we had five goals (during the regular season), Daniel (Holt) probably had four of them,” Plourde said. “When he’s had a chance, he’s finished it...more and more pieces of the jigsaw are getting added and it’s starting to look like a mosaic as we go. The biggest thing is the effort. They were like warriors out there today.”

The game came down to a seven-minute stretch in the second quarter. The game was knotted up at 1-1 after Holt put home a goal in the 12th minute, on a pretty delay shot that he tucked past Tim Clark, and then Sandwich got one off the foot of Jack Greeley, who won a race to a high-bouncer that popped over Jack Richardson’s head. Greeley tapped in the tying goal in the 14th minute, and it appeared that a back-and-forth battle would ensure from there.

FHS tilted it in its favor in the second quarter. Senior Eben Delinks started the surge with a nice play on the left side, beating Clark with a hesitation move to put his team up one. Moments later Thad Lincolne scored to make it a two-goal game, winning a foot race to the ball and then sneaking it inside the post before letting out a huge bellow and flex pose.

If it wasn’t clear that FHS was fired up there, they really got excited when the lead went to four. Holt connected on his second as a misplayed ball by the Knights found him in front and he high-toed it behind the keeper in the 35th minute.

“I was up there pressing, and they kind of just knocked it off me and I put it over the goalie’s head,” Holt said. “The goalie was out, so I just took it right over...this is the best game (of my career), my favorite, too. It felt great. We were coming into this year with a new coach and we weren’t really sure how it would go and we worked hard the whole entire season and we built up to it and we finally pushed one through, and we’re hoping to do that in our next game, too.”

With some high quality defense, and a little luck, FHS was able to hold onto the lead in the second half. Sandwich had a couple of chances to make a game of it, but couldn’t catch a break until the 74th minute when Joey Morrison made things interesting. SHS had rattled several shots off the crossbar and post during the game, but Morrison was able to connect on the rebound of Greeley’s 30-yard free kick that hit the horizontal bar and landed at his feet in the 74th minute. That made it 4-2 and gave the Knights some hope.

That was dashed in the 78th minute, though. James Hirth sunk the dagger for the Clippers, slotting a hard and low shot inside the pipe to sew things up for Falmouth and advance them to the tournament semifinals.

Sandwich played well for most of the game, but head coach Alfredo Alvarenga acknowledged that the funk his team found itself in during the second quarter was the difference.

“We were slow for like a 5, 10-minute stretch...it was pretty much a foot race and the way that the rules are, those balls are hard to control, especially if you’re running toward your man,” Alvarenga said.

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