CUMBERLAND—Greely’s field hockey team has gradually improved as the 2015 season has progressed.
Now, the Rangers are seeing the fruits of their labor in the form of victories.
Wednesday afternoon, four days after getting in the win column for the first time, Greely hosted undefeated Traip Academy in an interclass battle of Rangers, started and finished fast and did enough in-between to make it two in a row.
Greely took a 1-0 lead in the game’s fifth minute, when sophomore Sydney Meredith-Pickett set up senior Charlotte Benoit for a goal.
Greely didn’t allow a shot in the first half, but couldn’t add to its lead.
In the second half, senior goalie Lizzie Brown entered the game for Greely and she saw six shots, stopping every one.
Greely, after failing to convert several penalty corners, finally got an insurance goal with 2:12 to play, when in transition, senior Alyssa Coyne fed senior Kayla Barry for a goal to put it away.
Greely went on to a 2-0 victory, improved to 2-4 and dropped Traip to 4-1 in the process.
“We came out strong,” said Greely coach Becki Belmore. “That was the goal coming into the game. We’ve worked on not starting flat. It was nice to get that first goal.”
Greely was a playoff team a year ago, but got off to a slow start this fall, losing at Fryeburg Academy (4-0) at home to Lake Region (3-1) and Yarmouth (3-2) and at Falmouth (2-0) before getting in the win column Saturday (3-0) at Cape Elizabeth.
“It was a huge boost of confidence to beat Cape,” Benoit said. “We knew we were capable of winning the games against Yarmouth and Falmouth. We went in knowing we could win against Cape and we did it.”
Traip opened with a 3-0 victory at Old Orchard Beach, edged visiting perennial power North Yarmouth Academy, 1-0, then downed visiting Wells (5-0) and host Sacopee Valley (1-0).
The teams had no history, at least none in the 21st Century.
Wednesday, on a gorgeous late summer day (it was 85 degrees at the onset), Greely took care of business.
Greely, notorious for starting slowly, actually forced play at the beginning and after a penalty corner didn’t result in a shot in the fourth minute, with 25:27 to play in the first half, Greely took a 1-0 lead when Benoit finished Meredith-Pickett’s feed.
“It was a boost to my confidence to get that first goal,” Benoit said. “It was open and I knew where the goal was and I just shot.”
“The goals come when we’re confident and play like we know how to play,” Belmore said.
After Traip took a timeout, it got a couple corner opportunities, but couldn’t finish. Greely then closed the half with four corners, but couldn’t score either. After Benoit was denied by Traip goalie Taylor Kashamer, senior Danita Storey had consecutive shots stopped by Kashamer and the score remained 1-0 heading into the break.
Early in the second half, Traip got its first shot on goal, but Amelia Sullivan was denied by Brown.
After Greely couldn’t finish when freshman Maddy Perfetti had a shot deflected wide, Storey’s shot on a corner was blocked.
With 18:12 to play, Traip had a couple looks, but Brown saved them both.
Greely then had four consecutive corners, but only managed one shot, off Benoit’s stick, which was blocked.
After Storey had a shot blocked, Barry shot wide.
Traip’s last chance came with 4:08 left, but Sierra O’Brien hit the side of the cage.
Then, with 2:12 to play, in transition, Coyne passed to Barry, who one-timed a shot past Kashamer to make it 2-0.
“I didn’t have any awareness of the time,” Barry said. “I just shot the ball as soon as I could. When we got that goal, we knew we could do it. I was super-tired and I had no energy, but I got it eventually.”
“We weren’t so much thinking of defense as we were offense, because we knew we needed to score and Kayla did,” Benoit said.
Coyne , who set up the score, was a bundle of energy all game, all over the field.
“Seeing Alyssa play makes us intense because she really wants the ball and seeing her try as hard as she can makes us want to work together and be intense,” Barry said.
Greely cleared one final corner, then celebrated its 2-0 win.
The Rangers finished with an 11-6 shots advantage and a 10-5 edge in corners. Brown made six saves.
“Lizzie was amazing, especially with all the pressure on her,” Benoit said. “She did what she needed to do. We’re confident with her back there.”
Traip got 10 saves from Kashamer.
While Traip returns to action Friday at the McAuley/Waynflete co-op team, Greely has the daunting task of having to go to powerhouse York, the defending Class B state champion. Last fall, the Rangers lost at the Wildcats, 6-1, and again at home, 3-0.
“We’re doing better in practices and games,” Benoit said. “The energy on the whole team has boosted a lot.”
“We need to keep our intensity up and score early and often,” Barry said. “We have to keep that in mind. I think we have a shot to get into playoffs.”
“We have work to do,” Belmore added. “The girls know how to play hard for a long time. Hopefully we’ll go to York Saturday with some confidence. It’s anybody’s game.”
Greely senior Alyssa Coyne dodges a Traip Academy defender during the Rangers’ 2-0 home win Wednesday afternoon.
Bruce Feeley photos.
Greely freshman Maddy Perfetti tries to get around Traip Academy’s Sierra O’Brien as goalie Taylor Kashamer looks on.
Greely sophomore Ella Novick attempts to control the ball.
Greely senior Meredith Dwyer fights Traip Academy’s Molly Humiston for the ball as Rangers senior Hannah Rose looks on.