Lightning strikes, Greely-Falmouth settle for tie
CUMBERLAND—Tuesday afternoon's Falmouth at Greely field hockey showdown had a little bit of everything.
Except a winner.
Both teams entered the game hungry for a victory and it appeared the Rangers were en route to one when they scored twice in the first six minutes. Greely had an opportunity to completely seize control before halftime when it had five successive penalty corners, but couldn't convert and still held a two-goal advantage at the break.
The Yachtsmen came out hot for the second half and less than a minute in, took advantage of a fortunate bounce to cut the deficit in half. Then, with 16:53 to go, Falmouth tied the score, but two minutes later, lightning was seen in the area.
With a minimum of a half hour delay staring them in the face and the field conditions getting worse by the rainy minute, the officials, coaches and Greely athletic director David Shapiro consulted and agreed to call the contest, leaving it deadlocked, 2-2, as the teams split the Heal Points in their final regular season meeting of the season.
"I'm not happy with a tie, but it wasn't worth having any players injured," said Greely coach Kristina Lane Prescott.
Greely and Falmouth's games are often thrilling and are always memorable, for one reason or another. The rivals last met Opening Night, Aug. 29, at Falmouth, where the Yachtsmen enjoyed a surprisingly easy 3-0 victory.
Falmouth won its next two games, 3-0, at Cape Elizabeth and 4-0 to Yarmouth, but then went cold, losing 1-0 at home to Lake Region in overtime, 1-0 at York and 2-1 to visiting Fryeburg.
The loss to the Yachtsmen was the first of four straight for the Rangers to open the year. Greely also fell to visiting Fryeburg (3-1), at York (2-1) and at two-time defending Class C state champion North Yarmouth Academy (3-0). After getting in the win column, 4-0, over visiting Gray-New Gloucester, the Rangers dropped a 3-1 decision at Fryeburg before righting the ship Monday at Wells with a 4-1 victory.
Greely kept the momentum going early in Tuesday's contest.
Less than five minutes in, the Rangers broke the ice when senior Brittany Rogers played a long ball ahead to senior Rachel Hanson, who passed to classmate Jess Wilson, who made a nice move around Falmouth junior goalie Hillary Nash before sending the ball into a wide open cage for a 1-0 lead.
A mere 76 seconds later, Hanson scored a goal of her own as she tipped home a shot off the stick of senior Freyja Victory.
"The girls made a decision before the Wells game to restart their season," said Prescott. "We've had some struggles. It's behind us now. Obviously I wished it was the whole season, but we've moved forward. It's on the seniors. There are 14 of them. I told them it is what you make of it and you have to give everything you have and they are. The Wells game was unbelievable. The beginning of this game was too. We had solid passing. We moved the ball."
Just like that, the Yachtsmen were in a 2-0 hole.
"Greely came out ready to play," said Falmouth coach Robin Haley. "They passed the ball beautifully. They executed. Our feet were tied up and we were fumbling. I said from the get-go, that this could be a one half game and that we needed to score early. It may have unsettled them."
The visitors didn't buckle and in fact, carried play for the majority of remainder of the first half.
With 18:30 to go, junior Mikey Richards was at the far post for a sharp cross from classmate Leika Scott, but couldn't tap it in.
Then, in the latter stages, the Yachtsmen earned a penalty corner, then another, then another, then another and yet another, but could only put a grand total of one shot on goal in that stretch and went into the half down, 2-0.
Falmouth did take advantage of a break early in the second half to cut the deficit in half.
Scott attempted to whack at the ball, but a defender got her stick in the play and the ball popped up in the air to Richards, who passed to sophomore Elle Fitzgerald, who sent the ball into the cage to make it a 2-1 game.
Greely then had numerous corners, but like Falmouth in the first half, failed to capitalize, leaving the door open.
With 16:53 left to play in regulation, with the rain coming down harder, Richards tied the score, finishing a pass from Scott.
Both teams thought they'd have nearly 17 minutes (and perhaps even 16 more if the game went to overtime) to decide matters, but instead, the game was just about complete.
A minute after the tying goal, Yachtsmen junior Jillian Rothweiler broke in for what could have been the go-ahead goal, but Rangers senior goalie Michelle Gray, who replaced classmate Leah Dixon at halftime, raced out to break up the play.
Unfortunately for Gray, she was hurt during the collision and play was stopped for several minutes.
Once Gray was helped to the sidelines, play resumed, but not for long.
This time, the delay was due to weather, as lightning was viewed in the area. After a consultation, the game was called and the teams settled for a 2-2 tie.
"I'm glad we had a second half so we could tie it up," Haley said. "We played more of our game. I think our girls needed that."
"We knew they'd come back," Prescott said. "They're Falmouth. They're a great team. Always competitive. It's always a great game."
Each team finished with six penalty corners. The Yachtsmen's six came in the first half, while the Rangers' were all earned after halftime.
"We stopped (Greely's) corners, but we had a bunch of corners on our end that we couldn't execute," said Haley. "That's what we need to figure out."
Dixon finished with six saves to two for Nash. Falmouth had an 8-4 edge in shots.
Falmouth (3-3-1 and sixth in the latest Western B Heals) has another huge test Thursday night when it hosts York. A trip to Fryeburg and big home games against NYA and Cape Elizabeth also remain on the schedule.
Greely (now 2-5-1 and 11th in the standings) is back in action Thursday at home against Cape Elizabeth. Yarmouth pays a visit Saturday. The Rangers still face pivotal showdowns at Lake Region Monday and at home versus York Sept. 29.
"We know at this point we need to win some games," said Prescott.