Greely’s girls’ soccer team erupts in a celebration 13 years in the making after its decisive 6-0 win over Hermon in Saturday’s Class B state final.
Mike Strout photos.
Greely seniors Susannah Jacobson (20) and Maggie Reed show off the Gold Ball. The Rangers won their fourth state title Saturday.
More photos below.
PORTLAND—When all was said and done, Greely’s girls’ soccer team was exactly what we thought they were.
The best team in the state.
The Rangers, who dominated for most of the regular season, then suffered a late-season slump prior to embarking on an impressive regional playoff run, wrote the final victorious chapter of its unforgettable season in indelible ink Saturday afternoon at Fitzpatrick Stadium.
Facing Hermon, a team seeking its first Gold Ball, in the Class B state final, Greely had some near-misses early, then got the only goal it would need when senior standout Jocelyn Mitiguy scored with 10:31 to play in the first half.
With 5:59 to go before the break, senior Izzy Hutnak continued her transcendent postseason by scoring off a corner kick and the Rangers had a 2-0 lead at halftime.
Greely wasn’t content sitting on its lead.
No, the Rangers were just getting warmed up.
Just 6 minutes, 35 seconds into the second half, sophomore Courtney Sullivan scored after a terrific individual effort and with 28:38 to play, Hutnak scored for the ninth time in her breathtaking playoff run, pushing the lead to 4-0.
After Hutnak had a goal waved off, which would have given her three hat tricks in four postseason games, Mitiguy scored unassisted and just moments after entering the game, sophomore Lily Black brought the curtain down with a goal of her own and Greely went on to a statement-making 6-0 victory.
The Rangers had four different goal scorers, wound up 16-2, ended the Hawks’ season at 15-1-2 and won their first Gold Ball in 13 seasons and the fourth in program history.
“This is a dream come true,” Hutnak said. “I grew up going to the Greely soccer games and I knew I wanted to be on the team someday and here I am. I never saw them win states. To do it, I’m just so proud. We just all connected. We’re so close. We’re best friends. There was nothing stopping us this year.”
Greely is always in the title hunt, but the past two seasons both ended a game shy of states, as the Rangers lost to Cape Elizabeth in the Western A Final.
This fall, senior-laden Greely was bound and determined to finish the job and for 12 games, had no peer anywhere, as it met every challenge, turning heads in the process. The Rangers struggled late, however, closing with losses at Yarmouth and York, but still earned the top seed in Class B South.
Greely, behind the offensive wizardry of Hutnak, blanked No. 9 Lincoln Academy, 7-0, in the quarterfinals, edged fourth-ranked Yarmouth, 2-1, in the semifinals and Wednesday, advanced by virtue of a 5-1 win over No. 2 York in the regional final.
Hermon went 12-0-2 in the regular season, tying eventual Class C champion Orono and Presque Isle, and wound up second in Class B North. The Hawks beat No. 10 Mount View, 5-0, in the quarterfinals, ousted No. 6 Presque Isle, 2-1, in overtime, in the semifinals, then upset top-ranked Oceanside, 1-0, in Wednesday’s regional final.
The teams had no playoff history.
Hermon entered seeking its first title in three all-time state game appearances, while Greely was hoping for its first championship since 2002 and fourth all-time (see sidebar, below).
Saturday, the Rangers Express couldn’t and wouldn’t be denied.
It did take awhile to tickle the twine, however.
Greely didn’t come out remotely tentative and just 83 seconds in, Hutnak sent a nice cross through the box, but no one was there to bang it home.
In the fifth minute, Rangers freshman sensation Anna DeWolfe had a rush broken up.
In the seventh minute, Greely not only missed out on a scoring chance, but almost lost one of its stars as Hermon senior goalkeeper Bryanne Crouse broke up a feed to Hutnak and Hutnak went flying over the keeper, hitting the turf hard.
After staying down for an uncomfortable moment, Hutnak got up and the Rangers returned to the attack.
After DeWolfe was taken down after a rush with no call, Greely had a couple corner kicks, but only managed one shot, a high bid from sophomore Katie Steinberg.
After Hutnak had a rush broken up, the Rangers got as close as possible to a goal without scoring, as a Steinberg floater in the 18th minute landed on the crossbar, then was cleared.
A minute later, Mitiguy eluded two defenders, then launched a shot just wide.
With 20:05 remaining, DeWolfe got her body on a corner kick, but Crouse made the save.
After Mitiguy had a shot blocked and freshman Skyler Cooney’s bid was saved, DeWolfe set up junior Ellie Schad for a shot which hit the post.
With 11:50 to go before halftime, Mitiguy’s blast hit the underside of the crossbar.
But just when it appeared Greely was going to be frustrated all game, it finally struck.
The first goal came with 10:31 left before halftime, as DeWolfe passed to Mitiguy, who got a great look and this time, her shot found the net for a 1-0 lead.
“We came out strong as a team and we all wanted it,” Mitiguy said. “We fought for it and we got it. We got chances, but you’ll get unlucky sometimes. If you keep pressuring, it’ll come. We have so many scorers. Once we finally got one in, we stepped it up.”
Indeed, the floodgates were open.
After Schad had a blast saved by Crouse, Greely senior goalkeeper Maddie Cyr had to make her first save, off a shot from Hawks sophomore Alex Allain, and the Rangers transitioned back to offense, where Mitiguy’s shot was tipped wide by Crouse.
After Hutnak had a shot saved, Greely earned another corner and this one resulted in a goal.
After Steinberg served it in, DeWolfe headed the ball on target and Hutnak sent it home for a 2-0 lead with 5:59 remaining before halftime.
Shots in the waning moments by Steinberg and Mitiguy both were off target and the Rangers took the two-goal lead to the break.
In the first 40 minutes, Greely had a whopping 22-3 shots advantage (15-2 on frame).
The Rangers knew full well how unsafe a two-goal lead can be and they made sure they ended the competitive phase of the contest early in the second half.
First, Hermon almost cut the deficit in half when it earned a corner, but junior Emi Higgins fired a shot just high.
With 33:25 left, Greely extended its lead and Sullivan did it herself, getting past the defense before beating Crouse for a 3-0 lead.
If that wasn’t enough, less than five minutes later, with 28:38 to play, Hutnak showed just how dynamic she can be when she gets the ball in the open field, as she took a pass just inside the midfield stripe, raced down the left side and after beating the defense into the box, she shot past Crouse, just inside the far post, for a 4-0 advantage.
“At halftime, we talked about the offense needing to step it up,” Hutnak said. “We were off a little in the first half, but we came back strong in the second half. I got the ball and I just had to get around two defenders. It was a toe ball. I did all I could to score.”
The goal was Hutnak’s second of the game and ninth in four playoff contests.
“Izzy’s excellent, but she has a lot of good players surrounding her,” Mitiguy said. “That leads to success.”
“Izzy was amazing,” Greely coach Josh Muscadin added. “She’s been unbelievable. It’s a team effort. She was in the right place at the right time when people fed her the ball. It was great to see her finish her opportunities.”
A minute later, Hutnak almost had her third hat track of the playoffs, as she buried a rebound of her own shot, but the goal was waved off as Crouse was ruled to have had control of the ball before the second attempt.
Hutnak then took a pass from DeWolfe and shot just high as a third goal wasn’t to be.
With 13:05 to play, it was Mitiguy’s turn to get a second goal, as she scored unassisted to make it 5-0.
“We realized we had to win it now,” Mitiguy said. “We knew a 2-0 lead is the hardest to hold in soccer. We knew we had to come out, get more goals and keep pushing it.”
“It’s great for Jocelyn as a senior to finish up like that,” Muscadin said. “As a coach, you couldn’t ask for more.”
The final tally came with 8:15 remaining, after Muscadin sent several substitutes into the game.
One of them was Black, who finished a feed from sophomore Kelsey Currier to push the lead to 6-0.
Greely ran out the clock from there and at 4:56 p.m., after 13 years, celebrated winning the final game of the season.
“We really wanted to make it this far,” Mitiguy said. “I think our hard work paid off for everyone. I thought it was amazing. Most of us have grown up together. We wanted it since we were little. It’s bittersweet. It’s the best way to end, winning my last game, but I’ll miss it, definitely.”
“We lost to Yarmouth and York and wound up beating both of them in the playoffs,” Hutnak said. “That gave us confidence coming in to tonight. All the way from youth soccer, we knew we’d be a good team.”
“I knew the momentum would keep us going,” Muscadin added. “I knew we had to keep at it. We didn’t stop at one or two. The girls really wanted it. The key part this year was the bonding. There was no nit-picking. They focused on being one. That was most important. All teams have ups and downs. We stayed healthy. Those losses were good for us. That helped us. The timing was perfect. It’s been fun. I wish you were there during training. They keep me going. It’s a great atmosphere.”
Greely finished with a lopsided 33-12 shots advantage (22-9 on frame). Cyr made seven saves, while sophomore Molly Matthews came in late and made two. The Rangers had a 6-4 edge in corner kicks.
Hermon got 16 saves from Crouse.
Greely is graduating a special class of eight seniors, led by Cyr, Hutnak and Mitiguy and also including Allison Coon, Susannah Jacobson, Lanie Kropp, Kelsey Otley and Maggie Reed.
“The seniors were a great bunch,” Muscadin said. “I’ll miss all of them terribly.We hope the seniors have left behind a tradition for the underclassmen and incoming freshmen to follow.”
Indeed, that tradition figures to carry on next fall when the 2016 Rangers make a serious run at doing something this program has never accomplished, winning consecutive titles.
Greely will return state game scorers Black and Sullivan, along with DeWolfe and many others and can’t be overlooked.
“The future’s bright, always,” Hutnak said. “We have a really great coach.”
Greely senior Jocelyn Mitiguy splits two Hermon defenders en route to the game’s first goal.
Mitiguy is congratulated by junior Ellie Schad after her first goal.
Greely junior Riley Soule shields the ball from Hermon freshman Olivia Nash.
Greely freshman sensation Anna DeWolfe heads the ball.
Greely senior Izzy Hutnak fires a shot. Hutnak capped a playoff run for the ages by scoring her eighth and ninth postseason goals.
Greely sophomore Courtney Sullivan, who scored the game’s third goal, skies for a header.
Greely senior goalkeeper Maddie Cyr scoops up the ball.
Previous Greely state games (3-5)
2004 Class A
Brunswick 0 Greely 0 (4-5 PK)
2003 Class A
Mt. Ararat 1 Greely 0
2002 Class A
Greely 1 Brunswick 0
2000 Class A
Greely 2 Brunswick 1 (3 OT)
1994 Class A
Greely 3 Cony 0
1993 Class A
Mt. Ararat 3 Greely 0
1991 Class A
Mt. Ararat 2 Greely 1
1986 Class A
Caribou 6 Greely 0
Previous Hermon state games (0-2)
Windham 3 Hermon 0