Greely boys shock undefeated Falmouth

  • Mail this page!
  • Delicious
  • 0

Greely junior Evan Goettel heads the ball away from Falmouth senior John Mullin.

Falmouth junior Eli Friedman looks on in disbelief as Greely senior Hunter Graham (9) celebrates his goal and is congratulated by senior teammates Alvaro Obregon (14) and Owen McIntyre after giving the Rangers a 2-0 lead Tuesday evening. Greely held on for a 2-1 victory.

Chris Lambert photos.

More photos below.

CUMBERLAND—After a dominant weekend beating a pair of squads, Yarmouth and Waynflete, who played for a state championship a year ago, Falmouth’s boys’ soccer team learned the hard way Tuesday afternoon that not every opponent is going to go quietly.

Visiting longtime rival Greely, which has struggled in the early going, the Yachtsmen had to not only deal with an inspired foe, but also an oppressive sun and the Rangers took advantage.

Greely took a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute when senior Will Pidgeon finished with a shot that Falmouth senior goalkeeper Nicholas Buckley had no chance to stop, sun or no sun.

The Rangers doubled their lead late in the half, thanks to a terrific individual effort from senior Hunter Graham.

Greely junior goalkeeper A.J. Eisenhart then kept Falmouth off the board until the final minute of the game, when senior Andrew Muscadin tickled the twine, but the Rangers were able to hold on from there and earn their biggest victory to date, 2-1.

Greely evened its record at 3-3, beat the Yachtsmen for the first time in three years and dropped Falmouth to 4-1-1 in the process.

“This is good for us,” said Greely coach Mike Andreasen. “Falmouth has some injuries and we took advantage of that. That opened the door for us, but give our kids credit, they came, they competed, they defended and they worked hard.” 

Surprise result

This season, Falmouth wants to take the next step and win a Class A championship and based on what the Yachtsmen have done in the early going, they might well get there. Falmouth opened with a 1-0 home win over Greely and after settling for a scoreless draw at Cape Elizabeth, downed host York, 4-0. Friday, the Yachtsmen hosted ancient rival Yarmouth, the lone team that has been close to their equal this century, and crushed the two-time defending Class B champion Clippers, 5-0, Falmouth’s most lopsided win in the series since 2000. Then, 24 hours later, the Yachtsmen went out and blanked visiting Waynflete, the defending Class C South champion, by the same margin.

Despite its success, Falmouth has been decimated by injuries and both of last year’s leading scorers, senior Matt Polewaczyk and junior Ben Wuesthoff, are sidelined for the season and starting goalkeeper, senior Jack Scribner, is also out of action.

Greely has been ousted by Yarmouth two years running in the playoffs and hopes to end the Clippers’ reign this fall. After dropping their opener, 1-0, at Falmouth, the Rangers lost at York, 2-0. Wins at home over Kennebunk (2-0) and at Fryeburg Academy (7-0) followed, but last Thursday, Greely fell at home to Cape Elizabeth, 1-0.

Entering Tuesday’s contest, dating back to 2001, Falmouth had won 17 of 29 meetings against Greely, with the Rangers prevailing five times and seven other contests ending in draws (please see sidebar, below).

This time around, on a day in which the sun made life miserable for the goalkeepers, Greely looked for its first win over the Yachtsmen since a 2-1 home triumph Oct. 5, 2013 and held on and got it. 

The Rangers, knowing that the sun with in the face of Buckley, shot from anywhere and everywhere in the first half, starting with a blast from senior Owen McIntyre in the second minute that Buckley didn’t see until the final second, when he juggled and caught it.

“The sun was tough,” said longtime Falmouth coach Dave Halligan. “I couldn’t even see the flag during the national anthem. It affected our ability to clear the ball.”

“We usually defend in front of our bench first and the sun was tough on them,” Andreasen said.

The Yachtsmen’s first chance came in the third minute, when junior Nate Arrants, who had three goals in the win over Yarmouth Friday, got the ball in the box after a ricochet off a corner kick, but shot just wide.

After McIntyre and junior Evan Goettel both headed away Falmouth corner kicks, Greely struck with 29:09 to play in the first half. 

Out of a seemingly innocent run of play, McIntyre got the ball to Pidgeon in the middle of the field, about 20 yards out, and Pidgeon was able to get his foot on the ball before a defender and his blast sailed right past the sun-impaired Buckley and into the net for a 1-0 lead.

“That definitely felt good,” Pidgeon said. “It’s been a slow start to the season for me personally. Owen played me a good ball and I just stepped through it and it felt good.”

“We wanted to shoot the ball and see what the goalie had,” Andreasen said. “Will’s shot, I don’t know if anyone would stop because he shot so hard.” 

Eisenhart then took center stage, beating Arrants to a through ball and after Greely just missed on a shot from senior Henry Melville and junior Quinn Molloy’s cross just missed Pidgeon, Eisenhart had to make a dazzling save to rob senior Michael Sanzari and cut off the angle to deny senior Jonah Spiegel’s bid from the side.

Late in the half, Greely returned to the attack and was rewarded, as after Graham shot just wide and Buckley broke up a Melville rush, Graham stole the ball away from a Falmouth defender in the box and with Buckley in no man’s land, Graham ripped a shot into the goal to make it 2-0 with 1:09 to play before halftime.

“Hunter is pretty wily with the ball,” Andreasen said. “We’ve played just well enough to lose, but if we get two goals, we’re tough.”

The Yachtsmen almost got on the board in the waning seconds, but Eisenhart made one more big save, robbing Spiegel.

“A.J. gets better every game,” said Andreasen. “Our goalie from last year, Brandon George, is studying abroad and our senior goalie, Sam Cloutier, got hurt. A.J. stepped in, did a great job and hasn’t relinquished it.”

On the ensuing corner kick, as time wound down, Falmouth senior Ben Field headed the ball just over the goal.

The Yachtsmen kept the pressure on in the second half, but Eisenhart and his defense stood tall.

Just four minutes into the second half, Spiegel fired a promising shot which Eisenhart got a hand on and knocked out for a corner kick which didn’t result in a shot.

With 33:42 to play, Greely almost struck again, as senior Eric Kinkead broke free, but he was taken down from behind by Field.

After Buckley made a save on a long shot, the Yachtsmen went back on the attack.

With 27:23 left, Rangers senior back Chris Borden made a sensational defensive play knocking the ball away from Sanzari just before he was primed to score.

Four minutes later, Spiegel’s left-footed shot was tipped away by Eisenhart, who ran down the loose ball.

With 20:22 to go, Muscadin had a look from the side, but Eisenhart went to his knees to smother it.

Greely wasn’t content sitting back and again pushed for a third goal, but a free kick from Melville was tipped over the bar by Buckley for a corner kick and moments later, Molloy set up Pidgeon in the box for a promising header, but it went just wide of the mark.

The Yachtsmen got another chance with just under three minutes to go when they earned a corner kick, but they couldn’t generate a shot.

Falmouth finally broke through as time wound down, as Muscadin got free on the left side of the box, went one-on-one with Eisenhart and finally solved the Greely keeper to cut the deficit to 2-1 with 20.4 seconds showing.

The Yachtsmen couldn’t generate another chance, however, and the Rangers went on to the impressive win.

“We haven’t had the best start, but it feels good to get the win,” Pidgeon said. “Hopefully this sends out a statement that we’re here to play and to win. (Falmouth’s) a good team, but the defense played really well and A.J. made big saves.”

“We played urgent and inspired,” Andreasen said. “We were looking at (a 2-5 record) potentially if this week didn’t go well and missing the playoffs is something we don’t like to do. We don’t beat Falmouth much. Holding them to one goal is a good outing, especially seeing what they did to Yarmouth the other night.”

The Yachtsmen had more scoring opportunities, but the goal scoring well ran dry.

“We had chances we didn’t take advantage of and their goalie played exceptionally well,” Halligan said. “They were desperate (for a big win) and we were shorthanded and we’re coming off a tough stretch of three games in five days.”

No nights off

Neither team will have much time to exhale in the days ahead.

Falmouth will visit revenge-minded Yarmouth Saturday at 1 p.m., then goes to Wells and hosts Freeport next week. Home games with Cape Elizabeth and York and a trip to Gray-New Gloucester also remain.

“We made mistakes and if we learn from them, we’ll be a better team,” Halligan said. “Better to happen now than in the tournament. We have three days to practice. We haven’t practiced for a week because of all the games. We’ll regroup. I like my team.”

Greely hopes to build on this win and looks to avenge a loss when it goes to Cape Elizabeth Saturday. Next week brings visits from York and Yarmouth. The Rangers also play host to Gray-New Gloucester and close at North Yarmouth Academy and Yarmouth.

“Hopefully this gets our season going,” Pidgeon said. “Hopefully we can compete with everybody. We started last season 1-3-1 and finished strong and hopefully we’ll do the same this year. We want to play our best at the end and not many teams will be able to compete with us.”

“We still have a lot of big games,” Andreasen said. “I wish we didn’t have so many so early. I have a hard working group and they’re tough kids. They just play hard. They’re a lunch pail crew. There’s not necessarily the starpower of other teams, but they give me 80 hard minutes every game. They remind me a little of my 2004 team which peaked in the playoffs and came out on top.”

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

Greely junior goalkeeper A.J. Eisenhart leaps to make a save in front of Falmouth senior Michael Sanzari.

Greely junior Evan Goettel heads the ball away from Falmouth senior John Mullin.

Falmouth senior Ben Field takes the ball away from Greely senior Eric Kinkead.

Greely senior Will Borden shields Falmouth senior John Mullin from the ball.

Greely senior Lucca Pfruender fights past Falmouth junior Nate Arrants.

Falmouth senior Olin Rhoads fights off Greely junior Sam Colesworthy.

Recent Falmouth-Greely results

2015

@ Falmouth 2 Greely 0
@ Greely 0 Falmouth 0 (tie) 

2014

@ Falmouth 0 Greely o (tie)
Falmouth 1 @ Greely 0 

2013

Greely 3 @ Famouth 0
@ Greely 2 Falmouth 1 

2012

Falmouth 3 @ Greely 2 (OT)
Greely 1 @ Falmouth 0

2011

@ Falmouth 1 Greely 1 (tie)
@ Greely 1 Falmouth 0

2010

Falmouth 1 @ Greely 0
@ Falmouth 3 Greely 0

2009

Falmouth 4 @ Greely 2
@ Falmouth 2 Greely 1

2008

@ Falmouth 1 Greely 1 (tie)
@ Greely 2 Falmouth 2 (tie)

2007

@ Falmouth 2 Greely 1
Falmouth 2 @ Greely 1

2006

@ Greely 2 Falmouth 0
@ Falmouth 0 Greely 0 (tie)

2005

Falmouth 1 @ Greely 0
@ Falmouth 2 Greely 1

2004

Greely 2 @ Falmouth 1 
Falmouth 2 @ Greely 0

2003

Falmouth 3 @ Greely 0
@ Falmouth 3 Greely 2

2002

@ Falmouth 4 Greely 1
@ Greely 0 Falmouth 0 (tie)

2001

Falmouth 3 @ Greely 0
@ Falmouth 3 Greely 0

0
Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.