Greely and Freeport settle for season opening draw

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Greely’s bench celebrates the game-tying goal during Thursday’s 1-1 home draw against Freeport.

Joe Carpine / 365digitalphotography.com photos.

More photos below.

CUMBERlAND—Greely’s field hockey team is receiving a lot of attention as the 2017 season dawns and Freeport feels as if it should be highly touted too.

Thursday evening, the teams both showed what they’re made of as they squared off in a regular season opener that resolved nothing over 60 minutes.

And couldn’t determine a winner in 68 minutes.

And ultimately produced no separation in 76 minutes either. 

After a scoreless first half, the Falcons broke the scoring ice with 22:14 to go in regulation, as junior Alexa Koenig set up classmate Natalie Anderson for a goal.

The Rangers would rally, however, and with 13:52 left, junior Maddy Perfetti’s backhanded shot tied the score.

Thanks in part to strong play from Freeport junior goalie Katelyn Rouleau, neither team scored from there and the game went to “sudden victory” overtime.

One eight-minute session couldn’t settle matters, so a second and final OT was necessary.

There, Greely junior goalie Kylie Rogers twice made sensational diving saves as time wound down and the teams settled for an entertaining 1-1 tie.

“It was a great game,” said Freeport coach Marcia Wood. “It went a little better than I expected. Sometimes the first game you have jitters or forget everything you do in the preseason.”

“It was an amazingly exciting game,” said Greely coach Becki Belmore. “End-to-end. We like playing extra field hockey. I hope it doesn’t happen too often like last year.”

High hopes

Both Freeport and Greely are coming off playoff seasons and both teams hope to be an even bigger factor in 2017.

The Falcons got to the Class B South quarterfinals last year before losing, 8-0, to York to wind up 7-8-1.

Greely lost a 2-1 overtime decision to Poland (its sixth OT game of the season) in the preliminary round to finish 5-10.

The teams have played some close games in recent years, including a 3-2 Freeport win in Cumberland late last season.

Thursday, on a very pleasant 72 degree afternoon, the teams started slowly, then put on a show, but neither squad was able to leave the field victorious.

Early in the contest, Koenig was able to control the ball in the midfield and less than five minutes in, the Falcons almost broke the ice, but senior Maya Bradbury’s shot went just wide.

The Rangers then had the majority of possession the rest of the half, earning four penalty corners and getting some good looks as well.

In the 14th minute, a long shot from junior Maggie McCormick was saved by Rouleau. 

A minute later, off a penalty corner, Rouleau denied senior Ella Novick and a pair of rebound bids from junior Wren Payne were also turned aside.

Late in the half, Perfetti shot just wide and a bid from Payne on a corner was saved by Rouleau.

Just 49 seconds into the second half, Perfetti had another look at the game’s first goal, but her long shot was kicked aside by Rouleau.

Then, with 22:14 to go in regulation, Freeport got the ball near the Greely goal, it wound up to the left of Rogers and Koenig crossed it to Anderson, who banged it home for a 1-0 lead.

“We passed the ball well,” Wood said. “We worked well together. That was a pretty goal.”

Now trailing, the Rangers came to life and pressured for the equalizer.

Rouleau wouldn’t budge, however, denying McCormick twice and her teammates helped kill three penalty corners.

Finally, with 13:52 on the clock, Greely pulled even, as Perfetti, in traffic, managed to backhand a shot into the cage to make it a 1-1 game.

Each team had chances down the stretch in regulation, but couldn’t convert.

The Rangers hoped to go on top, but a long shot from senior Sydney Ranalletti was saved by Rouleau and on the rebound, Greely appeared primed to score, but Freeport sophomore defender Rachel Harmon made a timely defensive save at the last moment.

After a Perfetti shot on a corner was saved by Rouleau, the Falcons returned to offense and earned their first corner of the game with 5:05 left. Koenig then sent a promising shot on target, but Rogers kicked it away.

Neither team had a good look from there and the game went to overtime.

A first eight-minute OT didn’t generate many looks, but after senior Sydney Meredith-Pickett broke up a Koenig rush, Novick was denied point blank by Rouleau and the contest went to a second and final extra session.

There, Rogers would take center stage.

Early in the second OT, Koenig had a rush broken up by senior Isabelle Bachelder. 

Greely’s lone chance came midway through the session, but Rouleau saved a shot by Meredith-Pickett and the rebound was cleared by a defender.

With 1:36 remaining, Freeport freshman Ally Randall got the ball near the far post and looked to end the contest, but her bid was knocked away by a diving Rogers.

Then, with 34 seconds to go, Randall got the ball again near the far post and tried to set up Rogers before shooting, but again, Rogers, while diving, made a sensational save.

“It’s a little crazy in the moment,” Rogers said. “I just went for it and didn’t think about it. My helmet came off, but I was aware of the ball.” 

Both coaches were impressed with Rogers’ play with the game on the line.

“Kylie really saved us at the end,” Belmore said.

“Kudos to their goalie,” Wood said. “(Ally’s) a freshman and she plays year-round. She didn’t just hit the ball. She tried to get it up and over.” 

That would be it for scoring chances and the game ended in a 1-1 tie.

“I feel good walking out of this game,” Rogers said. “We left it all on the field.”

“We take positive things from this,” Wood said. “We scored. Last year, we didn’t score enough goals. We stayed with a top team. We’ll take a tie.”

Greely had a 12-7 shots advantage and took 13 corners to Freeport’s three, but couldn’t score on those opportunities.

“We didn’t capitalize on our corners,” Belmore lamented. “We scored off them in the preseason.”

Rogers made six saves for the Rangers, while Rouleau stopped 11 shots for the Falcons.

“Katelyn has stopped shots in the preseason,” Wood said. “She didn’t get time last year on varsity, but she’s performed. She’s done camps and clinics and the girls appreciate it.”

“Katelyn has stepped up her game and she played amazing,” Belmore said.

Lots of challenges

Freeport is back in action Wednesday of next week when it goes to Fryeburg Academy. The Falcons play their home opener Sept. 8 when Lake Region pays a visit (the game will be played on the campus of Bowdoin College).

“Our biggest thing is conditioning,” Wood said. “Everything else will come with that. We’re working well together.”

Greely hopes to get in the win column when Gray-New Gloucester pays a visit Wednesday.

“There’s a lot on the line and a lot of pressure on our shoulders to live up to the expectations, but I think we’re prepared,” Rogers said.

“The girls are playing with confidence,” Belmore said. “They’re ready. If we leave everything on the field, we’ll be fine.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Greely senior Ella Novick races past Freeport sophomore Rachel Harmon.

Greely junior Courtney Rog plays the ball up the field.

Greely junior Wren Payne reaches for the ball in a scrum as Freeport junior goalie Katelyn Rouleau comes out to defend. 

Greely freshman Delia Knox chases after a loose ball as Freeport sophomore Rachel Harmon defends.

Freeport junior Alexa Koenig shouts encouragement to her teammates. Koenig was her typical force at both ends of the field throughout the contest. 

Greely junior Maddy Perfetti (3) is congratulated by her teammates after tying the score in the second half.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.