HAMPDEN–Falmouth’s Alex Bernier found herself in the right place at the right time, and she made the most of it Saturday morning.

Bernier put in a shot from about 10 yards out in the 22nd minute, and it was enough to send the Yachtsmen to a 1-0 win against Presque Isle in the Class B girls soccer state final at the Weatherbie Sports Complex.

It was the second second consecutive state championship for Falmouth.

“Coming into the season, I had no clue what was going to happen,” Bernier said. “New coach. New team. It’s amazing to lose all those seniors — I think we lost 10–and come back to states and win it for the second year.”

The championship came on Falmouth coach Wally LeBlanc’s first year on the job.

“Both teams played very well,” said LeBlanc, who has coached girls soccer at the varsity level for more than 20 years. “We got one (goal) in. They didn’t. I can’t say it was something spectacular we did. It was a hard-fought battle. It could have gone 1-0 either way.”

Caitlin Bucksbaum, a transfer student who played for a state championship at a North Carolina high school last spring, set up the game’s lone goal with a crossing pass from the right corner.

It was a bang-bang play.

After trapping the ball, Bernier, who had rushed into a gaggle of players unmarked from her midfield position, pivoted on her right foot and quickly sent a left-footed shot inside the left post. Goalie Meredith Stewart managed to get one hand on the ball as she dived across the goal mouth to make the save, but she couldn’t keep it from going into the back of the net.

“Caitlin just had the perfect cross from the corner, and I was just there at the right time and I was able to volley it in,” Bernier said. “I was there in the right place at the right time with the perfect cross.”

“We got a slotted ball to the outside and Caitlin came around the corner and crossed it,” LeBlanc said.

“I always cross the ball,” Bucksbaum said, “and Bernie had the perfect timing to get there.”

The first half had a decided Falmouth tilt to it.

The Yachtsmen (13-4-1) held a 7-1 edge in shots over the first 40 minutes.

Nine minutes in, Stewart stopped Mary Catherine Howe’s blast from just outside the penalty area. About a minute later, following Bucksbaum’s corner kick from the right side, Cassie Darrow lobbed a shot off the crossbar.

The Wildcats (15-2-1) applied a lot of offensive pressure during the second half, but it couldn’t get the ball past goalie Caroline Lucas, who made six of her seven saves during the final 40 minutes.

“When you’re down 1-0, you’re not going to sit back,” PI coach Ralph Michaud said. “It’s just attack, attack. We had some great opportunities, but it wasn’t our day.”

“I’m proud of the fight Presque Isle gave us,” LeBlanc said, ” and I’m glad at the resilience my girls had not to give up that goal.”

Class C

Central 2, St. Dom’s 1, OT: MacKenzie McHugh scored on a breakaway with 3:52 left in sudden-death overtime to lift Central to its first Class C girls soccer state championship at the Weatherbie Sports Complex.

McHugh’s goal propelled the Red Devils, who were making their first appearance in a girls soccer final, into a 2-1 win against St. Dominic’s, making its third trip to the championship game in five seasons.

The Saints (14-4) opened the scoring in the 24th minute of the game when Courtney Costello beat a defender to a deflected ball and put it from just beyond the 6-yard line.

Central (17-0-1) forged a 1-1 tie 10 minutes into the second half when Brianna Speed got her foot on a loose ball inside the penalty area and poked it over the goal line.

 


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