CUMBERLAND—After 80 minutes of scoreless action that featured chances for both teams, the difference between going on and going home was destined to come down to one play.
Enter Greely senior Kelly Burrell.
With 8:47 left in the first golden goal overtime, Burrell took a through ball from sophomore Sammi Toorish on the right side and sent a low shot past Gorham’s diving goalie for the singular and decisive score in the Rangers’ 1-0 win in Tuesday night’s Western Maine Class A quarterfinal girls’ soccer game.
“I ran past the defender as the goalie was coming out,” Burrell said. “I hustled hard and hit it with the outside of my foot and hoped it would go in the far corner and it did.”
No. 3 Greely (10-3-2) moves on to play No. 2 Thornton Academy (12-3), the defending regional champion, in the semifinals in Saco. The Golden Trojans held off No. 7 Windham, 1-0, in their quarterfinals.
No. 6 Gorham finishes its season at 11-4.
“That Gorham team is not a No. 6 seed,” said Greely coach Michael Kennedy. “They are the real deal. They are a very good team. That was a really quality win. It could have gone either way. “
While the Rangers and Rams do not meet during the regular season anymore since Gorham now competes in the Southern Maine Activities Association and Greely plays in the Western Maine Conference, the teams do have a history. In 2005, 2007 and 2008, the teams also met in the playoffs, with Rams knocking the Rangers out on all three occasions (2-0 in the 2005 semifinals, 4-3 in the 2007 regional final and 4-1 in the 2008 semis).
It looked like Gorham could once again be the thorn in Greely’s side, as it was the Rams who had the best scoring opportunity in the first half. With 4:41 to go, Greely junior goalie Lindsey Arsenault charged out on a ball that stayed just outside the box. She went to the ground, but was unable to clear the ball away. Gorham senior Kylie Perrin got a clean look from about 20 yards out on an open net, but her shot dinged off the right post and the Greely defense cleared the ball away.
Seven minutes into the second half, it was Perrin again who had a good look in close after a nice pass from junior Kiersten Turner, but Arsenault was there for the stop. Greely quickly came back the other way, with junior Audrey Parolin unleashing a shot from the right wing that trailed just wide of the far post.
Turner, a constant threat with her speed and aggressive play, broke in with 15 minutes left in regulation, but Arsenault blocked her shot. Six minutes later, Turner teed up a long shot from outside the top of the box. Arsenault was perfectly positioned to reel it in.
Arsenault knew Turner would be dangerous from playing against her over the years.
“I knew how she played,” Arsenault said. “I’ve played against her for a very long time. I knew how to read her through balls, and I knew she’s fast, and I had to get there before she did.”
In overtime, Greely freshman Leah Young sent a nice cross into the goalmouth from the right side, but Gorham junior goalie Sarah Perkins snagged it. Less than a minute later, Gorham had a chance as a loose ball bounded in the box, but Arsenault was able to corral it.
A few minutes later, Burrell found the net and the Greely bench was sprinting from the sidelines to mob her.
“I felt like we wanted it more,” Arsenault said. “The teams were pretty even. Gorham shouldn’t have been seeded where they were. They should have been higher. They’re a really good team.”
Game-winning goals are nothing new for Burrell, who also got the sole tally in Greely’s 1-0 win over Yarmouth in the regular-season finale.
“Kelly has done that for us before,” Kennedy said. “She’s a senior. She was the leading scorer in Class A last year. She and Sammi are at the top of Class A this year. She scored the same goal against Yarmouth the other day, which got (the No. 1 seed in Western B). She comes through for us in big games. She’s a great player.”
Burrell and Toorish both have 15 goals this season for the Rangers.
After losing three straight early in the year, Greely is now 8-0-2 in its last 10. The Rangers hope to keep the unbeaten streak alive when they visit Thornton Academy, which upset Greely 2-1 in last year’s semifinal when the Rangers had the apparent equalizer nullified on a questionable call.
While Greely has not played Thornton this season, Kennedy said the Golden Trojans are not a complete unknown.
“We lost to them last year, I know that much,” he said. “So there’s a little bit of payback. We don’t play them, but I’ve seen them play a couple times. They’re a very good team. They’re well coached. They’re playing at their place. Tonight was a good matchup from the old Greely-Gorham days, and this one will be a nice matchup because Thornton knocked us out last year. It was a tough game for us.”
This time around, the pressure won’t be on the underdog Rangers as they visit Thornton Academy seeking to return the upset favor.
“We’re a very young team,” Kennedy said. “Half of our team is freshmen and sophomores, so this is a new experience for them. The game will be another big test for them. Everything they do now is kind of icing on the cake.”
Greely junior Shannon Donovan sprints to cut off Gorham senior Kylie Perrin.
Greely junior Libby Thomas and Gorham junior Audrey Adkison meet at the ball.
Greely senior Maggie Johnson dribbles around sliding Gorham junior Allie Lurvey.
Greely senior Kelly Burrell tries to get around Gorham junior Sierra Peters to reach the ball.
Greely senior Kelly Burrell gets a hug from junior Libby Thomas after scoring the game-winning goal in the Rangers’ 1-0 overtime triumph over Gorham in Tuesday’s Western Maine Class A quarterfinal girls soccer game.
Greely players mob senior Kelly Burrell while Gorham players look on in disbelief following Burrell’s overtime game winner in Tuesday’s regional quarterfinal girls soccer game.
More photos below.