Falmouth and Greely battle to 1-1 tie in girls' soccer showdown
FALMOUTH—Two of the best high school girls' soccer teams around met in an early season showdown Tuesday night and produced a memorable back-and-forth affair that reminded everyone why they are favorites to be in contention for state titles later in the year.
The host Yachtsmen scored in the game's second minute, but the Greely Rangers answered in the fifth. Despite a plethora of chances the rest of way, that was it for scoring and the teams settled for a 1-1 draw.
"It was a heavyweight fight," said Greely coach Michael Kennedy. "Two very good teams. I think we played the way we wanted to play tonight. We had our chances."
"It was a good litmus test as to where both teams are," said first-year Falmouth coach Jon Shardlow. "(Greely's) a quality opponent. A tie is a quality result."
Falmouth won the Class B title a year ago and returns an abundance of talent. Shardlow, who coached the Waynflete girls to a Class C championship last fall, got off to a great start with his new team Friday, leading the Yachtsmen to a 5-0 win at Fryeburg in the season opener.
Greely, meanwhile, reached the Western A semifinals a year ago and feels it can end Gorham's reign this autumn. The Rangers cruised to a 6-0 triumph over visiting Freeport Friday.
Last year, Falmouth downed Greely twice: 5-1 and 2-0. This time around, both teams quickly showed how explosive and dangerous they could be.
Just 1 minute, 47 seconds in, Falmouth junior Allie Lycan caught the Greely defense asleep, threw the ball in to senior Corey Morganstern and Morganstern did the rest, dribbling in, then firing a shot past Rangers senior goalkeeper Jamie Moody for a quick 1-0 advantage.
The visitors promptly answered.
Just 12 seconds after sophomore Sara Schad was just wide on a shot, junior Maggie Johnson headed the ball toward the goal and junior Kelly Burrell beat Falmouth junior goalkeeper Elizabeth Estabrook to the ball and banged it home to make it 1-1.
"It was the feeling out process," said Kennedy. "I wasn't surprised at the quick ones. A lot of times there's
nervousness at the beginning of these games. I thought we weathered the
storm very well. Last year, it snowballed. They scored early and it
turned into a 5-1 loss. It shows the character of this team."
"I knew that (the Falmouth goal) was just a mistake and that we'd get back from it," Moody added. "I was confident."
While neither team scored again, there was no shortage of drama over the next 85-plus minutes.
With 26:01 to play in the first half, Morganstern's high floater was snared by Moody. Less than two minutes later, Burrell got free for a shot, but Estabrook made the save.
With 14 minutes left in the half, Falmouth junior Jess DiPhillippo got the first of her many scoring chances, sending a shot that eluded Moody, but was kicked away by alert Greely senior defender Rachel Hawkins. Forty seconds later, DiPhillippo broke in again, but Moody denied her point blank.
DiPhillippo had two more chances in the half. In the 31st minute, her header on a corner was grabbed by a leaping Moody. With 8:17 left, she unleashed a shot out front which was saved. With 7:05 to go in the half, Morganstern sent a low blast which forced Moody to dive to make the save.
Good scoring opportunities were less frequent in the second half.
With 24:13 left in regulation, Greely senior Abby Diehl's bid was denied by Estabrook, who came out of the cage to make a play. With 13:30 to go, Rangers freshman sensation Sammi Toorish (who had three goals versus Freeport) sent a high shot that Estabrook grabbed. With 12:21 left, Falmouth junior Jamie Sabo's shot was deflected out of bounds, setting up one of just four corner kicks in the game (the Yachtsmen had all of them).
The Rangers had one final golden chance in the waning seconds as Toorish broke free down the right sideline, but her shot went wide and it was on to overtime.
Each team had one good opportunity in the first five-minute sudden-victory extra session. First, Burrell tried to win it for the Rangers, but her header hit the crossbar and was sent out of harm's way by Estabrook. At the other end, Morganstern sent a low bid that Moody saved.
In the second OT, Falmouth had its third and fourth corners back-to-back. The last one led to the ball squirting free in front momentarily before Moody dove on it. Finally, with 35 seconds to play, Schad fired a shot which Estabrook bobbled, but saved.
That was it and the teams had to split the Heal Points with an eye on a rematch.
"We look forward to the next time we cross paths," Shardlow said. "It was an enjoyable
game to watch. It was a game of cliches. You had a goal scored within
two minutes of another one. Goals were scored in the first five minutes
of a half. You had the classic example of teams taking advantage of
opportunities. It was a good game played by both teams.
"I think we're starting to get there and figure things out. Our primary
focus in the preseason was ball possession. We did a good job with
that. I think both teams will walk away happy with the result and the
momentum it gives them going into the rest of the season. We created
quality opportunities. At this point of the season, that's all you can
Greely was pleased as well.
"It was pretty exciting," Moody said. "It was pretty nervewracking, but I have a
great team in front of me. It definitely helps our confidence. We were
hoping for a win, but a tie is OK. This was a great game for us.
It was intense. This will help us for our next
games. We needed that confidence booster. I'm looking forward to seeing
"We lost to them twice last year and they're the team to beat," Kennedy added. "They're very good. We have unbelievable senior leadership. I thought tonight our seniors carried us a lot. They had a lot of opportunities. Jamie's a senior keeper. She had seven shutouts last year. She does a great job for us. She's very steady and aggressive. I always tell the girls if we hold a team to one goal, we're either going to win or tie. It's still early for us. We're still developing as a team. I like our team a lot. We'll see them again in October, it will be a great test of where we are then. We wanted to be able to play with these guys."
Greely returns to action Thursday at Wells. The Rangers are then idle until Monday when they host another top Western B contender, York.
Falmouth, meanwhile, goes to Poland Thursday and visits Cape Elizabeth Monday.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com