CUMBERLAND — Greely senior Kelsey Ouelette blasted a shot into the top left corner, breaking a scoreless tie midway through the second half as the Rangers defeated Yarmouth, 2-0, Monday night in Cumberland.
Ouelette’s goal came off a pass from senior captain Kylie Ross, who had worked a nifty set of give-and-goes with junior Stella Keck to advance the ball up field.
“That’s the way we like to play ball,” said Greely coach Michael Kennedy. “We like to move it around from side to side, connect up, and hit the weak side.”
Ouelette struck Ross’ pass at a dead sprint and rocketed a shot into the top left corner, beating Yarmouth junior goalkeeper Sammy Fochler despite a valiant, diving effort.
“It was a beautiful shot, well executed,” said Kennedy. “We’ve scored 44 goals this year and that one was definitely in the top five.”
Junior Maggie Johnson put the game away with 30 seconds remaining. Johnson followed senior Taylor Hicks’ free kick, sending in the rebound that had squirted away from Fochler.
“Taylor has an excellent shot,” said Johnson. “It went right to the goal and from there it was just about composure and getting it to the back of the net.”
Until that point, the game was far from settled, with both teams playing even in their regular-season finales.
With just under four minutes to play and trailing by a goal, Yarmouth junior Courtney Barker played a corner to the near post. Sophomore Erica Pierce got a head on it, but sent it just wide of the net. With 15 minutes remaining, senior Lizzie Fischman controlled the ball on a long run down the right side, but sailed her shot well high without challenging Greely senior goalkeeper Jamie Moody.
“Scoring goals is the name of the game if you get an opportunity,” said Yarmouth coach Rich Smith. “We had some good chances and shot it wide or just didn’t quite get a foot on them. They had a couple of chances and finished them.”
Prior to its first goal, Greely just missed on one of those chances. Senior Abby Diehl played a high cross from the right corner that bounced high off the inside of the far post, deflecting in front of the goal. No Greely players crashed the net, however, and the Yarmouth defense was able to clear the ball away from danger.
Both teams had similar opportunities in the first half.
Fochler saved a free kick from Hicks 10 minutes into the game and Yarmouth immediately countered with senior Annie Clabby sending a pass to sophomore Morgan McNaboe in the box. McNaboe slid to get a foot on the cross, but deflected it just wide right.
With 13 minutes remaining in the first half, Greely took a throw in from deep in the offensive zone. The ball was eventually sent to the far post where it got by Fochler, but Pierce was there to clear it off the goal line and away from danger.
“That’s how we are playing, “Kennedy said. “We had a lot of opportunities. I wish we finished a little better in the first half, but we had other opportunities.”
Both teams will be going to the playoffs, with Greely (11-1-2, its best regular season mark since 2003) heading into the Western Class A tournament and Yarmouth (7-5-2) taking on the Class B bracket.
“We are playing well,” Kennedy said. “We have a strong team, we play the way that I like and are playing well right now. We took every game one at a time. Its an old cliche but we really do. We show up, we work hard, then we go home. We look forward to any of the matchups. We just have to show up. It’s just soccer. If you play the right way, hopefully things will go your way. That’s all we can do.”
The Rangers were second in the Western Class A Heal Points standings as of Tuesday morning, but could drop before the final rankings were released Wednesday. Regardless, Greely will play at least one postseason game at home next week.
Despite the loss, Smith was encouraged by his team’s play against a top opponent heading into the playoffs.
“I am definitely encouraged by how hard we played for a whole game,” Smith said. “Greely is one of the best teams in Class A with lots of experience. Being able to play a whole game, I think, pretty evenly with them, is good.”
Yarmouth was fifth in Western B as of Tuesday morning and could face a quarterfinal round test at Leavitt next week.
Greely senior Kelsey Ouellette (No. 7) and senior Kylie Ross celebrated the game’s first goal Monday. The Rangers added one more to cap an 11-1-2 regular season with a 2-0 triumph at Yarmouth.