YARMOUTH—The only thing that was determined by Saturday evening’s Greely-Yarmouth boys’ soccer showdown is that the teams have unfinished business.
With the season.
And with each other.
In the penultimate game of the regular season, the surging Rangers and the preseason favorite Clippers gave each other everything they could handle for 90 minutes, but ultimately had to split Heal Points.
After a scoreless first half, host Yarmouth got the jump when senior Andrew Beatty blasted home one of the prettiest goals of the season, but Greely roared right back behind its standout, senior Jacob Nason, to tie the score.
After both teams had their chances late in regulation and in overtime, they settled for a 1-1 draw.
The Rangers are now unbeaten in eight outings, are 7-3-3 on the season and the Clippers record now reads 11-1-1.
“My high school coach used to say a tie is like kissing your sister,” said Yarmouth coach Mike Hagerty. “It was an interesting game and we learned a lot tonight.”
“We competed,” said Greely coach Mike Andreasen. “We had chances. We’ve closed the gap.”
Yarmouth entered the season as the heavy favorite in Class B South, but injuries have slowed the Clippers at times. In the meantime, Greely has overcome a slow start to become, once again, the top threat to Yarmouth as the playoffs loom.
The Rangers opened with a 4-0 home win over Fryeburg Academy, then lost a 2-0 home decision to Yarmouth, a game in which Greely hung tough for 80 minutes despite being undermanned. Losses at Falmouth (2-0) and Kennebunk (4-2) were sandwiched around a 1-1 home tie versus Gray-New Gloucester, but the Rangers then got it together, starting with a dramatic 5-4 overtime win at Cape Elizabeth. After a 6-0 home victory over Freeport, Greely settled for a scoreless home tie against Falmouth, won, 3-0, at York, then downed visiting Kennebunk (4-1) and Cape Elizabeth (5-0) before romping at Lake Region Tuesday, 10-1.
The Clippers, meanwhile, opened with a 9-0 home win over visiting Poland, then enjoyed a 2-0 victory at Greely. After a 4-0 home win over Cape Elizabeth, Yarmouth won at Freeport, 5-0, blanked visiting York, 3-0, and dominated visiting Kennebunk, 8-0, then finally met its match, losing, 2-1, at Waynflete. After getting back on track with a 5-1 victory at Cape Elizabeth, the Clippers edged visiting Falmouth in a thriller, 1-0, then won by shutout at York (4-0) and Kennebunk (4-0) and at home over Gray-New Gloucester (3-0).
Heading into play Saturday, Yarmouth held a 16-10 (with five ties) advantage in the rivalry since the start of the 2001 season. Greely was hoping to win in Yarmouth for the third year in a row and while the Rangers couldn’t do so on the Clippers’ Senior Night, they did get something out of their 90-minute effort.
Both teams pressured quite a bit in the first half, but had nothing to show for it as both Clippers keepers, senior Noah Grondin (who got the start on Senior Night) and sophomore Cal Owen, and Rangers sophomore keeper Brandon George ensured the game would go to the break, 0-0.
The game’s first goal came early in the second half and was one for the highlight reel.
Beatty, who the night before kicked a field goal and the winning extra point in Yarmouth’s epic 37-36 home football win over Cape Elizabeth, showed he’s quite adept booming a soccer ball as well, as his 35-yard blast sailed over George and just under the crossbar for a 1-0 lead.
“It was a beautiful goal,” Hagerty said. “It’s frustrating that it wasn’t the winner. It went under the crossbar. He’s made those in practice a lot. He knows how to kick a ball, whether it’s round or a football.”
The Clippers didn’t get to celebrate it for long, however, as Nason, who has produced so many clutch goals during his high school career, got a great chance and beat Owen, low and to the goalie’s left to make it 1-1.
“I thought defensively we did a good job limiting (Nason), but he got one,” Hagerty lamented.
Down the stretch, both teams looked to win the game in regulation, but were frustrated.
After successive Greely corner kicks were headed out by Yarmouth senior defensive standout Conor O’Donnell, Rangers junior Eric Kinkead had a look which Owen saved.
The Clippers then had three corners in a minute, but a shot from junior Matt Dostie was tipped out and a beautiful bid by Beatty was denied by a diving George.
Greely almost won it with 2:48 left, when Nason went one-on-one with O’Donnell, but O’Donnell cut off his angle and Nason shot high.
In the waning seconds, a long lead pass meant for Dostie was played just a little too far and George got to it first and the game went to overtime.
In the first of two potential five-minute, “sudden victory” overtimes, Yarmouth sophomore Luke Groothoff sent a cross on target, but it was headed out, Dostie had a shot blocked on a corner and Groothoff’s rebound was also blocked and Dostie’s shot from a tough angle hit the side of the goal.
In the second OT, Beatty crushed a free kick just high, Rangers junior Hunter Graham had a rush broken up and in the final minute, George got to a through ball before Clippers senior Patrick Grant could reach it.
Greely counter-attacked and drew a foul about 30 yards out as time wound down, but before the Rangers could kick the ball toward the goal, the final horn sounded and the game ended in a 1-1 deadlock.
“That was just tough luck at the end,” Andreasen said. “Our defense did a great job to hold that team to one goal. They’re good. They remind me a lot of last year’s team, but their injuries bring them down to Earth. We’ve come a long way. I think it’s because we got healthy. Since (senior) Lucas (Watt) has been back with us, we haven’t lost and the two draws were Falmouth and Yarmouth.”
“I thought we’d get one at the end,” Hagerty said. “Coaching-wise, I learned about some kids and where we need to put kids for playoffs.”
The Clippers finished with a decided 16-3 advantage in corner kicks and a 10-9 edge in shots, but the Rangers had a 6-5 advantage in shots on frame. Grondin and Owen combined to make five saves for Yarmouth, while George stopped four shots for Greely.
It’s quite likely Greely and Yarmouth will meet in the playoffs for the third straight season, although the encounter might not come in the regional final.
First, each team has a huge test remaining.
The Rangers (fourth in Class B South) close at home versus York Tuesday. A win likely moves them to third for the playoffs.
The Clippers (still second behind Maranacook) go to Falmouth for what figures to be a showstopper in their last game Tuesday.
Don’t be surprised if Greely comes to Yarmouth either for the semifinal round Oct. 31 or the regional final, for the third year in a row, Nov. 4.
“Now it looks like we’ll have to play (Yarmouth) in the (semifinals), which is unfortunate,” Andreasen said. “Actually, we’ve done better here against them than at home.”
“Greely’s a much different team than they were at the beginning of the year,” Hagerty said. “They’re a nice team. I think we’re the two best teams and hopefully we’ll play in the (Western Maine Final). In a perfect world, we’d stay 2 and they’d drop to 4, but I think we’re going to be 2 and 3.”
Yarmouth sophomore goalkeeper Cal Owen dives in vain in an attempt to stop a blast from Greely senior Jacob Nason during the rivals’ showdown Saturday night. Nason’s goal tied the score in the second half and the Rangers and Clippers settled for a 1-1 draw.
Mike Strout photos.
Yarmouth senior Patrick Grant heads the ball away from Greely junior Dylan Fried.
Yarmouth junior Henry Coolidge and Greely junior Hunter Graham meet in the air.
Greely junior Henry Melville defends Yarmouth senior Henry Becker.
Yarmouth junior Henry Coolidge hugs senior Andrew Beatty after Beatty’s goal gives the Clippers a 1-0 lead in the second half.
Greely senior Jacob Nason is mobbed by his teammates after tying the score moments later.