Greely freshman Brooke Obar, center, is congratulated by sophomore Skylar Cooney, left, and senior Ellie Schad after scoring one of her two goals in Saturday’s 4-0 home win over Waynflete.
Chris Lambert photos.
More photos below.
CUMBERLAND—The defending Class B girls’ soccer state champions got their first taste of adversity Thursday night and decided they didn’t like losing very much.
Less than 48 hours after a setback at Cape Elizabeth, Greely hosted Waynflete Saturday morning in an interclass battle and quickly got back on track.
The Rangers got the only goal they’d need when freshman Brooke Obar scored in the sixth minute. Senior Riley Soule added a goal in the 13th minute and by halftime, despite stellar goalkeeping from Flyers senior Ali Pope, Greely extended its advantage to 4-0 thanks to a tally from junior Courtney Sullivan and a second goal from Obar.
The Rangers held the fort from there and returned to the win column with a 4-0 victory over the defending Class C South champions.
Greely improved to 4-1 and dropped Waynflete to 2-2 in the process.
“We showed some signs today, but we still have a lot of work to do,” said Rangers coach Josh Muscadin. “I’d like to see more consistency and communication and better decisions to help the team. It’s a very young team. We have to look forward to.”
Greely and Waynflete have won a lot of games and a lot of hardware over the years, but Saturday’s matinee was the rare time the squads were on the same field at the same time.
The Flyers, who lost in painful double overtime fashion to Orono in last year’s Class C state final, began their 2016 campaign by defeating host Wells (3-0) and Traip Academy (1-0). Thursday, in its home opener, Waynflete was blanked by Sacopee Valley, 2-0.
Greely began its title defense with a dramatic 3-2 overtime win at Falmouth, then defeated host Kennebunk (3-0) and visiting Fryeburg Academy (4-1). Thursday, the Rangers took a step back, losing at Cape Elizabeth, 2-1.
“That loss was certainly deserved,” Muscadin said. “Cape should have probably beat us, 5-1.”
Saturday, in just the third all-time meeting between the schools (Greely won, 8-1, at home in 2010 and 3-0 at home in 2012), the Rangers scored early and often and returned to form.
Greely’s onslaught started quickly, but a pair of shots from sophomore Skylar Cooney were denied by Pope.
With 34:50 left in the first half, Obar scored her first goal, taking a through ball from junior Katie Steinberg before beating Pope just inside the far post for the only goal the Rangers would need.
Obar is one of six freshmen on the roster and has found her role on the team.
“It’s been a challenge, but the seniors are really nice and the upperclassmen are all supportive,” Obar said.
“Brooke is showing a lot of promise,” Muscadin said. “She’s seeing the field well and is distributing the ball. She’s a good finisher too.”
After Pope denied Steinberg, junior Caroline Swaney crossed the ball in front and Soule was there to direct it home for a 2-0 lead with 27:51 to play before halftime.
The Flyers’ first scoring bid came in the 17th minute when junior Lydia Giguere sent a 30-yard free kick on target, but Greely junior goalkeeper Molly Matthews made the save.
Pope continued to keep her team alive by making a terrific diving save to rob Cooney, but off a corner kick with 17:59 remaining, Cooney’s serve found the foot of Sullivan in front and the lead was 3-0.
Pope remained under assault, but she broke up a rush from senior Ellie Schad and got back to grab the ball in the nick of time after a prone Schad steered the rebound toward the goal.
Then, with 9:22 left in the half, Schad fed Obar, who broke in and ripped a shot that Pope couldn’t save and Greely took a 4-0 advantage to halftime.
The Rangers’ offense dried up in the second half, but their defense kept the Flyers off the board. Waynflete did have a few good chances, but a rush from junior Amelia Bertaska was broken up by Matthews, senior Elisabeth Lualdi shot just wide, Matthews beat junior Ava Farrar to a through ball and freshman Clara Sandberg missed just wide.
Greely then put the finishing touches on its 4-0 win.
“We’ve struggled to communicate, but we started to pick that up,” Obar said. “We started strong today and kept it all the way through. We just have to keep it going.”
Greely had a 16-3 shots advantage (13-2 on frame), had five corners to two for Waynflete and got a pair of saves from Matthews.
The Flyers played much better in the second half.
“Greely’s a tough team,” said Waynflete coach Todd Dominski. “We play these teams so we can get better and this helps us tremendously. We definitely got better in the second half. If we played the first half like we did the second half, we’d have been in the game more. We had major lapses in marking. You can’t do that against teams that move the ball like they do.”
Pope made nine saves.
“Ali is great,” Dominski said. “She’s worked four years to get to this spot. Even last year she was fantastic. When we do break down, she’s there to make saves for us.”
Waynflete will look to return to form Tuesday at St. Dom’s. The Flyers host Fryeburg Academy Thursday of next week.
“We’re starting get our feet under us,” Dominski said. “We have kids in different roles. We’ll continue to work hard to get better. We have to put the ball in the net more.”
Greely, meanwhile, in the midst of a difficult stretch. The Rangers welcome Falmouth Tuesday and Cape Elizabeth Thursday and after hosting Lake Region next Saturday, go to York and host Yarmouth.
“We’re starting to jell more as a team, which is really important since we lost a lot from last year,” Obar said. “We have a lot of big games coming up. We have to work hard in practice, communicate and keep our energy up in both halves of the game.”
“A lot of people are still gunning for us,” Muscadin said. “We hope they’ll start to gun the other way to Yarmouth. We have some big games coming up. There’s still a lot still to be determined.”
Greely freshman Brooke Obar beats Waynflete senior goalkeeper Ali Pope for the game’s first goal.
Greely sophomore Skylar Cooney boots the ball away from Waynflete junior Claire Dubois.
Greely senior Ellie Schad and Waynflete freshman Clara Sandberg battle for possession.
Greely sophomore Skylar Cooney serves up a corner kick…
Which Greely junior Courtney Sullivan finishes for a 3-0 first half lead.