CUMBERLAND—There figures to be a three-team race for the ages this fall in Southern Class B girls’ soccer.
While two-time defending regional champion Cape Elizabeth is as strong as ever, two other squads are bound and determined to knock the Capers off their perch and make a run at a Gold Ball.
Those teams, Greely and Yarmouth, did battle for the first of two (possibly three) times this fall Tuesday evening at Greely’s stadium field and both squads showed why they believe they’ll be celebrating in November.
The Rangers just managed to do more of what matters most, putting the ball in the net.
On a steamy night which required play to be stopped twice for water breaks, it took less than two minutes for Greely to take the lead, as freshman phenom Anna DeWolfe did the honors.
There would be a ton of offense to come.
After the Clippers drew even in the 21st minute on an unassisted tally from junior Katie Clemmer, the teams combined for three goals in less than four minutes.
First, the Rangers retook the lead, as senior standout Jocelyn Mitiguy scored on a breakaway with 15:55 to go in the half.
With 13:50 left, on a corner kick, Yarmouth freshman Olivia Feeley finished the serve of sophomore Sara D’Appolonia to retie the contest, 2-2.
That changed a mere 101 seconds later, as, on a corner kick, DeWolfe headed home a feed from senior Maggie Reed, and Greely took a 3-2 lead to halftime.
After five combined goals in the first half, there would be four more in the second, but three of them came from the Rangers, who gradually pulled away.
Just 42 seconds into the second half, senior Izzy Hutnak scored on a breakaway.
The Clippers then had an abundance of opportunities to answer, but were either frustrated by Greely’s temporary goalkeeper, sophomore Courtney Sullivan, or hit the post.
Then, with 13:07 remaining, Hutnak set up Mitiguy for a breakaway goal and a little over a minute later, Mitiguy completed her hat trick. Clemmer got a goal back for Yarmouth, but it was too little, too late and the Rangers went on to a 6-3 victory.
Greely got three goals from Mitiguy, two from DeWolfe and one from Hutnak to go along with 20 saves from Sullivan as it improved to 2-0 on the young season, dropping the Clippers to 1-1 in the process.
“It was a crazy game,” said Rangers coach Josh Muscadin. “A lot of offense and defensive mistakes. It’s the beginning of a wonderful season. Every team we play will be like that. We have a long way to go.”
Last year, Yarmouth surged late and appeared bound for great things, but its title hopes were dashed by Cape Elizabeth in the semifinal round, 1-0.
Greely lost to the Capers in even more painful fashion, dropping a 2-1 decision in the regional final which required penalty kicks (Cape Elizabeth won, 4-2).
This season, both teams return ample firepower and both started fast, as the Rangers blanked visiting Fryeburg Academy, 5-0, and the Clippers won at Poland, 6-0.
Entering Tuesday’s contest, Greely held a 18-4 advantage (with five ties) since the start of the 2001 season, but last year, after the Rangers won at Yarmouth early, 2-0, the Clippers won in Cumberland for the first time in the 21st Century, 2-0.
This time around, both teams produced their share of offense, but in the end, Greely prevailed.
The tone was set just 1 minute, 58 seconds in when DeWolfe got some room on the left side and fired a shot which Guay tried to kick away but missed. The ball rolled into the net and just like that, the Rangers had a 1-0 lead.
“It’s been nervewracking, but exciting,” DeWolfe said, of being a varsity player as a freshman. “My teammates get me the ball in the right place. They’ve made sure I fit in. Scoring early in a game gives me confidence. If Jocelyn or Izzy serves it in, I know it will be a great ball.”
“(Anna) has stepped up,” Muscadin said. “We hope she stays healthy. She’s been a surprise. She brings a lot to the table. She reads the game extremely well.”
There would be plenty more offense to come.
Yarmouth soon went on the attack and got good looks from Clemmer (who took a pass from junior Cory Langenbach then had a shot tipped away by Sullivan, setting up a corner kick), sophomore Eva Then (who was robbed by Sullivan), senior Lilly Watson (who shot wide) and Clemmer (whose one-timer was saved by Sullivan).
Greely had a golden opportunity to double its lead with 22:13 to go in the half, when Mitiguy fed Hutnak behind the defense. Hutnak went in one-on-one with Guay and had a lot of net to shoot at, but she instead kicked it right at the goalie and the ball bounced harmlessly away.
On the ensuing corner kick, Reed’s serve was headed in by DeWolfe, but she was ruled off-sides, keeping the score, 1-0.
That re-energized the Clippers, who drew even with 19:42 left before halftime.
Sophomore Hannah Merrill sent a long pass ahead to classmate Meredith Lane, but Sullivan came out and broke up the play. The ball came to Clemmer, who wound up for a shot. Sullivan got back in position, but Clemmer’s shot got through her legs and just like that, the score was 1-1.
And then the goals came fast and furious.
After a official-mandated water break, D’Appolonia tried to put Yarmouth ahead, but her shot from the side was saved by Sullivan. Junior Abby Condon then shot wide.
Greely then showed just how dangerous it is and how quickly it can score, as Mitiguy received a long pass behind the defense and she wasn’t about to be denied, beating Guay to the far side for a 2-1 lead with 15:55 remaining in the half.
Two minutes later, after Watson sent a free kick wide, Yarmouth earned a corner kick and D’Appolonia’s serve was headed home by Feeley to make it 2-2 with 13:50 left.
That deadlock only lasted a minute and 41 seconds.
After Feeley was just high on a bid to put the Clippers ahead, the Rangers transitioned to offense and earned a corner kick. Reed served it into the box and DeWolfe headed it home for a 3-2 lead.
Down the stretch in the first half, Guay saved a Mitiguy shot from the side, Feeley shot high, D’Appolonia was denied by Sullivan, a rebound bid from Merrill went high, Clemmer had a blast saved and Clemmer shot wide.
Yarmouth had a 10-6 shots advantage in the first half, but Greely had the lead.
And the Rangers promptly added to it in the second half.
Just 42 seconds in, Hutnak got behind the Clippers defense, took a pass and this time, wasn’t going to be denied as with a defender right on her, she shot past Guay for a 4-2 lead.
Over the next 26 minutes, Yarmouth would have ample opportunities to crawl back in the game, but the Clippers could never finish.
With 36:19 to play, Clemmer danced through the Greely defense before sending a cross on the ground right through the goalmouth, but there was no one there to bang it home.
A minute later, D’Appolonia shot wide.
After junior Gretchen Barbera had a shot saved, Langenbach set up Then for a one-timer, but Sullivan denied it.
After Clemmer had a shot deflected right to the goalie, Yarmouth earned a pair of corners. On the second, D’Appolonia floated a perfect shot which Sullivan couldn’t reach, but fortunately for the hosts, it tipped off the crossbar and bounced away.
The Clippers continued to press and Feeley bounced a shot that Sullivan mishandled, but she grabbed the ball before sophomore Sophia Harpool could clean up the rebound.
With 20:05 left, D’Appolonia’s cross was headed away by Greely senior Susannah Jacobson. After Clemmer had a rush broken up by Sullivan, Yarmouth earned a corner kick and D’Appolonia’s serve was bobbled by the goalie, but the rebound was sent wide by Harpool.
In the 64th minute, D’Appolonia had a good look, but Sullivan got in front of her blast, then D’Appolonia sent the rebound wide.
A minute later, on another corner kick, Feeley headed the ball just wide.
With 14:35 remaining, D’Appolonia’s free kick was saved and Condon’s rebound was saved as well.
The Rangers then got some breathing room.
After DeWolfe got possession, she passed to Hutnak, who passed ahead to an open Mitiguy, who finished with 13:07 to play for her second goal.
Sixty-six seconds later, Mitiguy completed the hat trick, taking a pass from junior Ellie Schad, then deking a defender before beating Guay to make it 6-2.
After Clemmer and Feeley were just off target, Yarmouth finally got another goal with 4:06 remaining, as after Sullivan dove to make a save on a D’Appolonia bid and saved Clemmer’s rebound in similar fashion, Clemmer got the ball again and buried her shot to make it 6-3.
The Clippers didn’t seriously threaten from there and Greely went on to the 6-3 victory.
“We definitely started off not playing our normal game,” Mitiguy said. “Yarmouth controlled the beginning of the game. We slowly got into it. Izzy played nice balls and we knew if we stayed with their last defender, we’d beat them in a footrace.”
“We got lucky,” Muscadin said. “In soccer, you need a little luck. Luck was on our side. They had opportunities, they moved the ball, they just didn’t put it away. We put away our breakaways.”
Sullivan, normally a field player, who is filling in for senior Maddie Cyr as she recovers from a back injury, made a 20 saves, most of them in a manner that forced her to react quickly and often contort her body.
“Our defenders, Maggie and Kelsey, and definitely Courtney, kept us in it,” Mitiguy said. “(Courtney’s) really athletic and good with her hands. She’ll put her body on the line.”
“Courtney’s done a tremendous job,” Muscadin said. “She’s normally a forward. The defense in front of her keeps her going. Maggie and Kelsey played extremely well. We hope to have Maddie back. Only time will tell.”
Yarmouth had a 23-10 shots advantage and took eight corner kicks to five for the Rangers. Guay made four saves. The Clippers also lost Condon and junior Ella Antolini to injury.
“I think we just made some mistakes of inexperience,” lamented longtime Yarmouth coach Rich Smith. “Territorially, shots on goal, we controlled things. We had some really good chances, but they made the best of theirs. They scored when they needed to. They have good goal scorers. They got the ‘W’ tonight. I saw a lot of good things out there from my team. Hustle, heart, they fought until the end. Their goalie made big saves. We’ve played good teams in the preseason, but we didn’t see anyone with their speed and finishing ability. We’ll get them again.”
If Tuesday’s game was any indication, both teams will dazzle in the weeks to come and both have many tests before they square off again Oct. 17 in Yarmouth.
The Clippers hope to bounce back Saturday when they get a chance to avenge their playoff loss, as Cape Elizabeth comes to town.
“Some adjustments need to be made,” Smith said. “We have a lot of tough games upcoming. The girls will be fired up for Cape Saturday. We know what we have to work on. We’ll sharpen up everything.”
The Rangers visit perennial powerhouse Falmouth Thursday night.
“We just need to stay composed,” Mitiguy said. “We have high expectations. We can’t feel too pressured. From here on out, we have to play balls on the ground, keep our composure and play our game.”
“This is just the beginning,” Muscadin said. “We have the whole season ahead of us. We have to put this behind us. It’s already behind us.”
Greely senior standout Jocelyn Mitiguy plays the ball during Tuesday’s contest against Yarmouth. Mitiguy scored three times to help the Rangers prevail, 6-3.
Bruce Feeley photos.
Greely sophomore Caroline Swaney plays the ball forward.
Yarmouth junior Cory Langenbach looks to make something happen as Greely freshman Anna DeWolfe gives chase.
Yarmouth celebrates a first half goal.
Yarmouth sophomore Abby Condon and Greely sophomore Caroline Swaney battle for possession.
Dangerous Yarmouth sophomore Sara D’Appolonia plays the ball and looks to pass.
Yarmouth senior Katie Waeldner races past Greely freshman Anna DeWolfe.