Greely junior goalie Kylie Rogers gives up her body to deny York senior Sydney Bouchard during the teams’ regular season-ending contest Wednesday. Rogers made 17 saves, many of the spectacular variety, but the Wildcats prevailed, 1-0.
Joe Carpine / 365digitalphotography.com photos.
More photos below.
CUMBERLAND—For 57 minutes Wednesday afternoon, Greely junior goalie Kylie Rogers did everything short of stand on her head to keep three-time defending Class B state champion York off the scoreboard in a regular season-ending field hockey tilt.
Unfortunately for the host Rangers, on their Senior Day, the game lasted 60 minutes and with 2:57 to go in regulation, the Wildcats, who had 25 penalty corners, but couldn’t score on any of them, managed to finally find the cage.
And as a result, York will again be the top seed for the upcoming postseason, while Greely will have to travel in the quarterfinals.
After Rogers made 17 saves to keep the game deadlocked, the Wildcats broke through on a rebound from senior Jessa Smith.
The Rangers couldn’t generate the equalizer and York went on to a 1-0 victory.
The Wildcats improved to 11-2-1, avenged a loss from earlier this season and dropped Greely to 7-6-1 in the process.
“We held them for 57 minutes,” said Rangers coach Becki Belmore. “The girls’ composure was so positive.”
After Monday’s regularly schedule game was postponed by rain, both Greely and York played two games in roughly a 24-hour span to complete the regular season.
And it was a memorable campaign for both squads.
The Wildcats have been more mortal than in their recent championship seasons, but coming into play Wednesday, still boasted an impressive record.
York started with a 9-0 win at NYA, then downed visiting Poland (4-1), Yarmouth (3-1) and Lake Region (2-1) before being stunned at home by Greely (2-0). The Wildcats then got back on track, downing visiting Cape Elizabeth (3-1), host Fryeburg Academy (1-0), host Freeport (3-1) and host Gray-New Gloucester (5-0), before losing an overtime thriller at home to St. Dom’s (1-0). After settling for a 0-0 tie at Yarmouth, York blanked visiting Fryeburg Academy (2-0) and Tuesday, rallied for a 2-1 overtime win at Lake Region.
Greely opened with a 1-1 tie at home against Freeport, then dropped a 1-0 (double-overtime) decision at Cape Elizabeth, before blanking visiting Gray-New Gloucester (5-0) and winning at York, 2-0. The Rangers then fell at home to Yarmouth (2-1) and Poland (3-1) and at Lake Region (1-0), before roaring back to beat host Fryeburg Academy (3-1), visiting Traip Academy (5-0), visiting Cape Elizabeth (1-0) and host Gray-New Gloucester (6-1). Greely’s four-game streak came to a close with a 2-1 setback at Sacopee Valley, but senior Ella Novick’s goal at the start of the second overtime Tuesday spelled a dramatic 2-1 win at Freeport.
In the meeting Sept. 14, Novick and freshman Delia Knox had the goals as the Rangers not only ended York’s 58-game win streak, but in the process, beat the Wildcats for the first time in 17 tries (since a 2-0 home win on Oct. 3, 2008).
Wednesday, on a chillier-than-what-we’ve-been-accustomed-to 63-degrees, cloudy and breezy afternoon, after its seniors were honored, Greely hoped to beat York twice in a season for the first time since 2003, but the Wildcats closed their season on a high note.
York set the tone by going on the attack right away and in the third minute, senior standout Sydney Bouchard fired a shot from the side which Rogers stopped.
The Rangers produced one of their few chances a minute later, but a rush from senior Lizzie Brown was broken up by Wildcats junior goalie Julianna Kiklis.
Greely then earned a penalty corner, but couldn’t produce a shot and the rest of the half saw the hosts play defense.
With 17:58 remaining in the first half, Rogers left her feet for the first time, diving to stop a shot, then denying a pair of rebounds as well.
That led to York’s first penalty corner and there would be many more.
In fact, the Wildcats would have 13 corners in the first half, but only mustered shots on a few of them.
With 14 minutes to play before the break, a shot from sophomore Bailey Oliver went wide.
With 5:42 left, a shot from Smith was saved by Rogers.
A minute later, Bouchard took a shot that Rogers denied and with Rogers on the ground, two more Bouchard bids were turned away.
With 1:34 to go, Bouchard again had a shot saved by Rogers and the game went to the half scoreless.
In the first 30 minutes, York had a 9-1 shots advantage and 13 corners, but nine saves from Rogers left the visitors frustrated.
The second half would be more of the same before the Wildcats finally managed to break through.
Three minutes into the second half, Rogers stopped a shot from Bouchard.
With 26:27 left in regulation, off another corner, Rogers slid to deny a blast from junior Emlyn Patry.
With 23:45 to go, Rogers dove to rob senior Natalie Panteleos, then stopped a pair of rebounds.
After Bouchard had two more shots saved, she momentarily left the game with a hand injury and while she was out, Greely transitioned to offense and earned a corner with 14:40 on the clock, but couldn’t muster a shot.
After Smith missed wide on a backhand, Bouchard barely missed on a blast off a corner and Bouchard had a shot saved by Rogers, the Wildcats finally took the lead.
The goal came with 2:57 on the clock and it would be Smith doing the honors, banging home a rebound with Rogers prone on the ground.
The Rangers tried to answer and earned a corner with 2:30 left, but again, they couldn’t generate a shot and York transitioned back to offense.
After Bouchard just missed on a bid to double the lead, the Wildcats were content to run out the clock and they held on for a 1-0 victory.
“We didn’t have many opportunities today,” Belmore said. “We’ll look to create more opportunities going into the postseason.”
York had an 18-1 shots advantage and took 25 penalty corners to Greely’s three. Kiklis only had to make one save.
The story of the game was Rogers, who stopped 17 shots, most by any means necessary.
“I was focusing on tracking the ball and being aware of my surroundings,” said Rogers. “My defense worked really hard. It’s not easy to keep running up and going back (on corners). It’s fun to make those saves. That’s why I play.”
“Kylie stepped up today,” said Belmore. “It was one of her best games of the season for sure. She stayed strong as long as she could.”
Greely posted a winning record for the first time since 2011.
“I think the season went well,” Rogers said. “We wanted to do better, but you always want to do better. We feel good going into playoffs.”
“It’s this senior group’s first time having an above-.500 season,” Belmore said. “I’m proud of this team and what we’ve done. We’ve had our ups and downs, but we’ve had some big wins.”
Both teams will open the playoffs next week with the quarterfinal round of the Class B South playoffs.
York will again be the top seed and will likely face Fryeburg Academy (5-9).
Greely projects to be the No. 3 seed and if so, would go to Poland (10-4). Last year, the Rangers lost to the Knights in the preliminary round, 2-1, in overtime.
“It’s anyone’s game,” Rogers said. “We need to stay positive, get rest and prepare.”
“We won’t have trouble getting fired up,” Belmore said. “It’s so wide open. Any team going in can believe they can win. That’s awesome for Class B South field hockey.”
Greely freshman Delia Knox tries to get past York junior Katie Donovan.
Greely junior Wren Payne, left, and senior Ella Novick defend York sophomore Cassie Reinertson.
Greely junior Maddy Perfetti knocks the ball past York junior Katie Donovan.
Greely junior goalie Kylie Rogers and her defense prepare to kill one of York’s 25 penalty corners.