YARMOUTH—Momentum in soccer can change in the blink of an eye.
Tuesday evening, Yarmouth’s girls appeared to have everything going their way, with the exception of putting the ball in the goal, but seconds after the Clippers came within inches of going ahead, they found themselves looking up at longtime nemesis Greely.
After Yarmouth junior Lilly Watson hit the post on a corner kick at one end, the Rangers transitioned to offense and their two most explosive players, juniors Izzy Hutnak and Jocelyn Mitiguy, combined on a stunning goal.
Hutnak played a long ball ahead to Mitiguy, who beat Clippers senior goalkeeper Shannon Fallon and just like that, the visitors were on top, 1-0.
While Yarmouth pushed hard for the equalizer, it never came and with just over a minute to play, Greely got another score in transition, as sophomore Ellie Schad set up sophomore Jamie Keisman, and the Rangers prevailed, 2-0.
Greely made it two victories in a row to start the season and handed the promising Clippers a loss in their first countable outing.
“I think we did really well,” Schad said. “Coming in, we knew it would be a big one. We knew we had to come to play. Everyone worked hard.”
Greely and Yarmouth are always on the short list of contenders and both appear to be legitimate threats to defending Class B state champion Cape Elizabeth this autumn.
Last fall, the Rangers got to the regional final before losing to the Capers, 4-2. Greely got its 2014 season off to a terrific start with a 4-0 win at Fryeburg.
Yarmouth had a strong season with a young core a year ago, but was upset by visiting Freeport in the quarterfinals, 1-0. The Clippers were supposed to kick off their season Saturday night against Poland, but the threat of poor weather postponed the contest.
The rivalry has been one-sided in favor of the Rangers.
Since the start of the 2001 season, Greely had won 17 of the 25 meetings, with Yarmouth prevailing just three times and five other games ending in ties (see sidebar, below).
However, the Clippers won the most recent meeting, 1-0, last October.
Tuesday, Yarmouth had its chances, but the Rangers wound up earning another victory.
Early in the first half, Greely had the better opportunities, but Fallon broke up an early chance in the box, Mitiguy shot wide, Fallon denied a feed from Mitiguy to Hutnak and a shot from freshman Katherine Steinberg on a cross from Mitiguy was saved by Fallon.
Then, the Clippers carried play until halftime.
Yarmouth’s first good chance came in the 19th minute when junior Eavan O’Neill rushed in, but Rangers junior goalkeeper Maddie Cyr broke it up. The ball came to sophomore Katie Clemmer, but her shot was denied by Cyr.
After O’Neill shot wide, the Clippers earned a corner kick in the 22nd minute and Watson’s serve landed in the box and came to senior Emma Torres, but Torres sent her shot wide.
After Torres hit the side of the net with a shot, freshman Sara D’Appolonia won the ball back and passed to Torres, but her low shot was saved by Cyr.
Later in the half, Torres set up D’Appolonia, but she was denied, as were O’Neill and freshman Hannah Corey moments later to keep the game scoreless at the break.
Yarmouth enjoyed a 9-3 edge in shots in the first half, but six Cyr saves kept the game 0-0.
The Clippers earned a corner kick in the 44th minute and looked like they would go ahead, but instead, the contest turned for good.
Watson sent the ball over the crowd in front of the goal and as Cyr watched helplessly, it hooked on target, but luckily for the Rangers, the ball hit the post and bounced away to Corey, who sent the rebound high.
Not only had Greely dodged a bullet, it was about to counter.
Before most on hand realized what happened, the Rangers pushed the ball up the field, Hutnak passed ahead to Mitiguy and Mitiguy got behind the defense and went one-on-one with Fallon. Mitiguy shot to Fallon’s left and sent the ball past the goalie and into the net for a 1-0 lead with 35:15 to play.
“We finally put one in,” said Mitiguy. “We had to keep going strong and staying positive. That’s what we did. We built up from the backfield. We worked on that in practice, connecting passes. We did and it led to a goal. I’m just looking to go where the goalie isn’t.”
“You never know who is going to step up,” Greely coach Josh Muscadin said. “I’m proud of how we came out in the second half. That showed quite a bit. I really like the way we passed the ball. It shows strength and confidence. I hope to see more of that.”
The hosts refused to buckle and kept the pressure on.
Five minutes after the goal, Yarmouth had a corner kick and again, Watson served up a great ball, but Cyr came out to punch it away.
A minute later, Watson took a free kick. the ball was headed away by a Rangers defender, but it came to Torres, who shot just wide.
Sophomores Abby Condon and Eliza Lunt then sent shots on frame which Cyr snared.
With 13:15 to play, the Clippers had another good chance, as O’Neill broke free behind the defense, but Cyr came out and got a piece of the ball.
With 11:31 to go, Clemmer shot just wide and Hutnak was hurt on the play (she would miss the rest of the contest, but is expected to be fine).
Down the stretch, Torres twice shot wide and Clemmer missed the target once.
With 1:50 left, Yarmouth earned one final corner and Torres got off a shot, but Cyr made the save.
That set up another transition goal as this time Schad got the ball, passed ahead to Keisman and with 1:21 showing, Keisman beat Fallon for a 2-0 lead.
“I got a nice ball down the wing from Jocelyn and saw Jamie making a good run,” Schad said. “She was clearly open. I gave her a nice ball and she put it in the open net. When Izzy got hurt, we knew we had to finish it for her.”
“(Greely) capitalized on their chances and we didn’t on ours,” said Yarmouth coach Rich Smith. “Greely is a very skilled team. They have a lot of offensive firepower. They have nice passing and keep their composure in the box.”
Yarmouth couldn’t muster another attack and time ran out on Greely’s 2-0 triumph.
The Clippers enoyed a 22-8 edge in shots, got five saves from Fallon and had six corner kick opportunities, but were left to lament what-if.
“I felt like we played well and had some opportunities,” Smith said. “The girls hung in there and did good stuff. I’m not disappointed in our effort. We’re still a young team overall. It was the first varsity game for some of the girls. It was a learning experience. I’m very proud of them. I think I played 17 players tonight. They went in and played hard and played well.”
Cyr made a dozen saves for Greely and got plenty of help from her defenders.
“The defense was really strong,” Mitiguy said. “(Junior) Maggie (Reed), (junior) Kelsey (Otley) and Maddie stopped everyone coming through. I think Maddie is going to have a really good season. She’s really good getting balls in the air.”
The teams will meet again Oct. 17 in Cumberland, but both have plenty of heavy lifting in the meantime.
The Clippers will be sternly tested again Friday, when Cape Elizabeth pays a visit.
“We played Cape tough last year,” Smith said. “We’ll be ready. We have one under our belt now. We’ll be more focused.”
Next Tuesday, Yarmouth will get a crack at revenge when it goes to Freeport.
The Rangers are home Saturday, but will have the daunting task of beating Falmouth. Greely then hosts Gray-New Gloucester Tuesday of next week.
The Rangers know there’s still room for improvement.
“We need to connect passes more in the center,” Schad said. “We did a good job tonight. We have to keep working on it.”
“I think we have a chance to make it all the way,” said Mitiguy. “This is just the beginning. We’ll see how it unfolds.”
“(Tonight) was a big test and we’re going to have a lot of them,” Muscadin added. “We’re still learning each other. Hopefully, if we minimize injuries, we can go far. We still have work to do. We’re not there yet.”
Yarmouth sophomore Katie Clemmer launches a shot as Greely junior Allison Coon closes in.
Greely junior goalkeeper Maddie Cyr punches the ball away from Yarmouth junior Eavan O’Neill on a Clippers corner kick.
Greely junior Izzy Hutnak and Yarmouth freshman Sara D’Appolonia fight for the ball.
Greely sophomore Jamie Keisman, who scored the game’s second goal, impedes the progress of Yarmouth sophomore Ella Antolini.
Greely junior Jocelyn Mitiguy fires a shot.
Yarmouth junior Eavan O’Neill races up the field with Greely junior Allison Coon in hot pursuit on a second half breakaway. O’Neill’s bid for a goal was denied.
Greely senior Kristina Volta prepares to boot the ball up the field as Yarmouth senior Emma Torres looks on.
@ Greely 3 Yarmouth 0
@ Yarmouth 1 Greely 0
Greely 2 @ Yarmouth 1
@ Greely 5 Yarmouth 1
@ Yarmouth 2 Greely 1 (OT)
@ Greely 1 Yarmouth 0
Greely 3 @ Yarmouth 1
@ Greely 1 Yarmouth 0 (OT)
@ Greely 4 Yarmouth 0
@ Yarmouth 2 Greely 2 (tie)
@ Yarmouth 2 Greely 0
@ Greely 1 Yarmouth 1 (tie)
@ Greely 2 Yarmouth 2 (tie)
Greely 2 @ Yarmouth 1
Greely 3 @ Yarmouth 2
@ Greely 1 Yarmouth 1 (tie)
@ Greely 4 Yarmouth 2
@ Yarmouth 0 Greely 0 (tie)
Greely 3 @ Yarmouth 1
@ Greely 2 Yarmouth 0
Greely 5 @ Yarmouth 1
Greely junior Jocelyn Mitiguy (2) is congratulated by classmate Izzy Hutnak after scoring the first goal in the Rangers’ 2-0 win at Yarmouth Tuesday night.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.