Greely girls fall in final seconds to Massabesic
CUMBERLAND—The Greely girls' lacrosse team is still looking to put together a complete 50 minute effort.
Friday afternoon, the Rangers hosted defending Western Class A champion Massabesic and had opportunities to produce a signature victory, but they slipped away.
Greely trailed the Mustangs, 5-2, at halftime, but erupted for three goals in 76 seconds to pull even. After falling behind, 6-5, the Rangers tied the game again, as freshman Katherine Leggat-Barr scored with 7:23 to play.
Greely had possession late in the contest with a chance to win the game, but a critical turnover led to a Massabesic opportunity and with just 15.7 seconds remaining, sophomore Maquila DiMastrantonio scored and the Mustangs went on to a 7-6 win.
The Rangers got two goals from senior Cameron Keefe, but dropped to 3-3 on the season, as Massabesic improved to 6-1 in the process.
"That was a really tough loss," Greely coach Becca Koelker said. "I think we had an opportunity to put it away, but we didn't take advantage of it."
While the schools are in different classes and have virtually no history in any other sport, they have met fairly regularly in girls' lacrosse in recent seasons.
Entering Friday's game, Massabesic had won three of five meetings (see sidebar, below), even though Greely prevailed last year at home, 10-9.
The Mustangs shook off that loss and advanced all the way to the Class A state final, which they lost in a heartbreaker to Cheverus, 8-7.
So far this season, Massabesic appears to be the team to beat again in Western A, as it rode a five-game win streak coming into Friday's game. After opening with a 10-7 home loss to Kennebunk, the Mustangs beat visiting Thornton Academy (12-6), host Portland (13-7), visiting Marshwood (7-6), host Deering (16-2) and Thursday gained a measure of revenge by holding off visiting Cheverus, 12-10.
Greely won its opener, 21-8, at Gould and lost at home to Kennebunk (in a game played on the turf at North Yarmouth Academy), 8-3. The Rangers then appeared primed to upset host Yarmouth, opening up a six-goal first half lead, but they were blanked in the second half and the Clippers rallied to win, 11-9. Greely bounced back by holding off York in an overtime thriller, 10-9, then registered an impressive 15-10 triumph at Falmouth Wednesday.
The Rangers hoped to extend their win streak to three Friday, but it would Massabesic that kept its run going.
The Mustangs had the first great scoring opportunity, but senior captain Rayne Whitten, who, for most of the game, was the best player on the field, hit the post.
Greely then transitioned to offense and took its lone lead of the game when senior Teal Otley fed classmate Gabby Bouchard for a shot which eluded Massabesic junior goalie Megan Hill.
Bouchard almost doubled the lead, but hit the crossbar.
Rangers senior Krystyna Rybka then made her presence felt by denying Whitten, DiMastrantonio and senior Alexis Foglio.
Whitten finally tied the score on a free position with 15:36 to play in the first half.
After Keefe shot wide on a free position, Rybka saved bids by freshman Emma Desrochers and DiMastrantonio and Foglio shot wide, but with 8:59 to go, Whitten converted a free position for a 2-1 lead.
A free position goal from senior Jackie Guillemette and a tally from Whitten (set up by junior Karlie Pike) stretched the Mustangs' advantage to 4-1.
Koelker took timeout and it worked as Greely managed to end an 18 minute, 39 second drought, as Keefe scored unassisted.
Bouchard had a chance to cut the deficit to one, but her free position shot was saved by Hill.
With 4:22 to go before halftime, DiMastrantonio scored on a free position and after Hill denied a free position from senior Jill Booth and a shot from senior Teal Otley, Massabesic took a 5-2 lead to the break.
The Rangers came out a new team in the second half and didn't take long to pull even.
Just 37 seconds in, Otley scored on a free position.
Seconds later, after Otley's shot was saved by Hill, senior Katie Nicolaou scored on a rebound.
Then, with 23:07 to go in regulation, Keefe converted a free position to erase the deficit and tie the game, 5-5.
Rybka preserved the tie by saving shots from Pike and DiMastrantonio.
With 15:25 to play, Otley had a chance to put Greely on top, but her free position opportunity resulted in a charge.
Four minutes later, Nicolaou almost gave the Rangers the lead, but she shot wide.
With 8:47 showing, the Mustangs took timeout and it worked, as Pike, from behind the goal, spotted an open Whitten in front, who one-timed a shot past Rybka for a 6-5 advantage.
The Rangers roared right back with 7:23 to play and sophomore Meghan O'Donovan passed to Leggat-Barr to tie the game again.
Greely had its chances to win in regulation, but it wasn't to be.
Otley earned a free position with 6:10 left, but Hill made the save.
After Rybka saved a bid from Whitten and Otley had a free position blocked, Greely sophomore defender Maggie Reed forced a turnover with just over two minutes to play and the Rangers set up to try and win it.
Koelker called timeout to set up a play and Greely looked for a storybook finish, which wasn't to be.
After the Rangers milked a minute off the clock, Massabesic senior Jolena Lampron earned a yellow card, making the hosts' chance for victory even better.
Instead, Greely threw it away.
A Rangers pass into the circle was intercepted by Foglio.
"Their defense is stellar," Koelker said. "They work well in their zone. We just couldn't find our way into it. (A turnover) wasn't our plan. Our idea was isolate a player and then work on our double cuts. We overloaded on the weak side and looked to get it there, but their pressure was high enough that we turned the ball over."
The Mustangs hadn't just dodged a bullet, they now had an opportunity to win it.
And that's exactly what happened.
With 15.7 seconds to play, DiMastrantonio got a step on a defender, shot and beat Rybka for a 7-6 lead.
On the play, Greely was called for a foul, which negated the ensuing draw and gave the ball back to Massabesic.
Out of a timeout, the Mustangs managed to transition into their offensive end and run out the clock and the Rangers suffered a tough 7-6 loss.
"Each game we get better and we'll get better from this," Koelker said. "It's bittersweet. They're one of the best teams in Class A."
Greely got two goals from Keefe and one apiece from Bouchard, Leggat-Barr, Nicolaou and Otley.
O'Donovan and Otley had assists.
The Rangers won 10 of 14 draws and had a commanding 44-22 advantage on ground balls, as Booth had a game-high nine and Otley collected six. Rybka made 12 saves.
"Krystyna has been incredible all year," Koelker said. "This is one of the best games she's had."
Greely outshot Massabesic, 20-19, but committed 17 turnovers.
The Mustangs were paced by Whitten's four goals. DiMastrantonio scored twice and Guillemette had the other score. Pike finished with two assists. Whitten led the team in ground balls with six, while Foglio grabbed four. Hill stopped nine shots.
Massabesic turned the ball over 17 times, but put 19 shots on frame to 15 for the Rangers.
Three weeks left
The regular season has three weeks to run its course and both teams are in the thick of things in their respective regions.
Massabesic (which sits first in the Western Class A Heal Points standings) is back in action Tuesday when it hosts Windham. After playing at Scarborough, Sanford and South Portland, the Mustangs close with a home game versus Gorham.
Greely is in arguably the most tough region of them all and needs to rack up wins to stay near the top of the heap. After going to Gardiner Monday, the Rangers (sixth in the Western B Heals at press time) host longtime nemesis Waynflete Wednesday of next week. Games at Freeport and Kennebunk and at home versus Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth also remain.
"(This) would have been a great boost for our team to win, but each day we're getting better," Koelker said. "I feel the girls rising up every game. Now we just need to pull it all together. We love our schedule this year. It's a great schedule. It's so much more challenging and it's making us better. All we need is that big win. That would give our girls confidence because they're great players."
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.
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