Yarmouth girls edge Greely in Senior Night thriller

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Yarmouth senior Meredith Lane (23) congratulates classmate Greta Elder after an Elder goal during the Clippers’ 12-10 home win over Greely Wednesday night.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Yarmouth 12 Greely 10

G- 5 5- 10
Y- 6 6- 12

First half
21:02 G Morrison (Sullivan)
20:48 G Van Curan (unassisted)
19:17 G Clement (free position)
16:59 Y Lane (unassisted)
15:52 Y Lane (Groothoff)
13:28 Y Then (free position)
12:39 Y Elder (unassisted)
11:39 Y Thornton (unassisted)
11:09 G Bennert (Clement)
7:17 G Sullivan (unassisted)
6:02 Y Then (free position)

Second half
22:25 Y Lane (unassisted)
21:25 G Van Curan (Clement)
20:45 G Morrison (Bennert)
16:31 Y Elder (Lane)
15:35 G Goldburg (Sullivan)
13:21 Y Lane (free position)
11:43 Y Groothoff (Lane)
10:28 G Van Curan (free position)
7:44 Y Marston (Lane)
5:30 Y Lane (unassisted)
48.0 G Bennert (Sullivan)

Goals:
G- Van Curan 3, Bennert, Morrison 2, Clement, Goldburg, Sullivan 1
Y- Lane 5, Elder, Then 2, Groothoff, Marston, Thornton 1

Assists:
G- Sullivan 3, Clement 2, Bennert 1
Y- Lane 3, Groothoff 1

Draws (Greely, 15-9)
G- Goldburg 12 of 17, Sullivan 3 of 7
Y- Then 8 of 17, Lane 1 of 5, Corey 0 of 1, Thornton 0 of 1

Ground balls:
G- 27
Y- 37

Turnovers:
G- 11
Y- 18

Shots:
G- 17
Y- 30

Shots on cage:
G- 13
Y- 26

Saves:
G (H. Perfetti) 14
Y (Serrano) 3

YARMOUTH—Yarmouth and Greely’s girls’ lacrosse teams put on a memorable show Wednesday evening, one that fans can only hope is repeated.

And if the teams indeed meet again, it could be even more special and would come on an even bigger stage.

On the Clippers’ Senior Night, the team’s seniors played a huge role in achieving one of their biggest goals, closing out their home schedule with a victory, and in the process, they took another step toward their biggest goal of all, winning the state championship which eluded them a year ago.

The Rangers, seeking to end a 13-year dry spell against Yarmouth, shot to a 3-0 lead behind goals from junior Jayme Morrison, senior Greta Van Curan and junior Brooke Clement, but the Clippers roared back, scoring five times in just over five minutes to take the lead.

After senior Meredith Lane got the hosts on the board, sophomore Ehryn Groothoff and senior Eva Then scored to tie it and senior Greta Elder and junior Abi Thornton added goals for a 5-3 Yarmouth lead.

Greely then rallied behind goals from sophomore Katie Bennert and senior Courtney Sullivan, but with 6:02 to go in the half, Then scored on a free position to put the Clippers back on top.

Yarmouth could have had a healthy lead at halftime, but Rangers freshman goalie Hannah Perfetti made 11 saves in the first 25 minutes to keep things close.

After Lane started the second half with a goal, Van Curan and Morrison scored to tie it.

Elder put the Clippers ahead with 16:31 remaining, but 56 seconds later, freshman Sam Goldburg forged the game’s fourth tie, 8-8.

With 13:21 on the clock, Lane scored on a free position to give Yarmouth the lead for good and Groothoff added a goal to make it 10-8.

After Van Curan cut the deficit to one, Clippers senior Callie Decker came up with a huge defensive play to prevent Greely from tying it and goals from senior Emma Marston and Lane provided some breathing room.

Bennert scored with 48 seconds to play to make things interesting, but a late save from Yarmouth junior goalie Izzy Serrano helped close the door and the Clippers held on for a palpitating 12-10 victory.

Lane led all scorers with five goals, Elder and Then added two apiece and Yarmouth won its sixth game in a row, improved to 9-2, beat the Rangers for the 14th straight time, handed them their third straight defeat and dropped them to 7-4 in the process.

“It was a really exciting night,” Decker said. “We all wanted it so badly. Before the game, we got in a huddle and talked about playing for the seniors. We know Greely’s such a good team. They’re well-coached and they’ve had a great season. It was awesome to beat them.”

Two teams to watch

Greely and Yarmouth have both turned heads over the course of the season and it’s quite possible that Wednesday’s meeting won’t be the last between the Clippers and Rangers, who will be on the short list of title favorites when the Class B state tournament begins next month.

Greely started with a 16-4 win at North Yarmouth. After a 13-5 loss at defending Class B champion Kennebunk, the Rangers downed host Morse (14-3), visiting Waynflete (7-5), visiting Gorham (8-7), visiting York (8-6), host Freeport (13-10) and visiting Scarborough (12-6) before their six-game win streak, the program’s longest since a 13-game run in 2005, was snapped by visiting St. Dom’s, 14-13, in overtime. In its last outing, Greely fell at Lake Region, 13-10.

Yarmouth started with victories over visiting Lake Region (15-12) and host Freeport (22-7), then dropped an 11-7 decision at defending Class A champion Massabesic before bouncing back to dominate visiting NYA, 13-1. After a 12-5 home loss to Kennebunk in a state final rematch, the Clippers caught fire, downing host Cape Elizabeth (9-6), host St. Dom’s (14-11), visiting Marshwood (11-1), visiting York (12-7) and host Messalonskee (18-7).

Wednesday, the Rangers sought their first victory over the Clippers since May 23, 2005 (8-7 at home) and their first ever on Yarmouth’s turf field, but on their Senior Night, after eight seniors were honored, the Clippers had too much firepower and beat Greely for the 14th consecutive time (see sidebar, below, for recent results).

But it certainly wasn’t easy.

The Rangers came out strong and after Perfetti set the tone by robbing Marston, Morrison earned a free position, but hit the post.

Morrison got another chance with 21:02 to play in the first half, finishing a feed from Sullivan for the game’s first goal.

After Sullivan won the ensuing draw, Van Curan raced in and finished unassisted.

Then, with 19:17 to go before halftime, Clement scored on a free position for a quick 3-0 lead.

Greely sophomore Ellie Holt (the daughter of Clippers coach Dorothy Holt) then had a chance to extend the lead, but her shot hit the crossbar.

“Playing against my daughter is tough,” Dorothy Holt said. “It was easier this time. I’m so proud of her. She’s a sophomore and she’s playing at a great level. Her teammates are really encouraging.”

Yarmouth then turned momentum in its favor by exploding for five straight goals.

After Perfetti made a save on a Then shot, Lane picked up the rebound and fired a shot into the net to get the Clippers on the board with 16:59 remaining.

After Perfetti denied Then again, the Rangers turned the ball over, Lane collected the loose ball and threaded a pass to Groothoff, who found the net to cut the deficit to one with 15:34 on the clock.

Perfetti momentarily protected the lead by denying both Then and Lane on free positions, but with 13:28 to go, Then scored on a free position to make it 3-3.

Forty-nine seconds later, Yarmouth was in the lead, as Elder scored an unassisted goal.

Then, with 11:39 on the clock, Thornton fought her way through traffic and beat Perfetti for a 5-3 lead.

Greely coach Becca Koelker called timeout to stem the tide and it worked, as 30 seconds later, Clement set up Bennert to cut the deficit to one.

After Serrano made a save on a bid from Sullivan, Sullivan scored unassisted with 7:17 remaining to tie the game for a second time, 5-5.

The Clippers went back on top with 6:02 left, as Then finished a free position.

Then rest of the half saw Yarmouth control possession, win every 50-50 ball and pepper Perfetti, who denied Thornton twice, Then twice and Elder once to keep the score 6-5 at halftime.

In the first 25 minutes, the Clippers had a healthy 18-7 shots advantage (17-6 on cage), but 11 saves from Perfetti kept the game very much in doubt.

“Hannah’s very composed for a freshman,” said Koelker. “She made huge saves and kept us in the game. She’s seeing the ball really well.”

Perfetti started the second half the same way she started the game, robbing Marston, but this time, Yarmouth got the first goal of the half, as Lane beat Perfetti with a high shot with 22:25 to play.

Greely came right back, as Clement set up Van Curan for a goal a minute later and with 20:45 remaining, off a free position, Bennert passed up a shot, threw the ball to Morrison instead and Morrison finished to make it 7-7.

Twenty seconds later, Lane had to sit for two minutes after receiving a yellow card, but the Rangers couldn’t take advantage and take the lead, as Morrison shot wide on a free position and Van Curan’s shot was saved by Serrano.

Then, after Then hit the post on a free position, Lane set up Elder for the lead with 16:11 to play, but a mere 36 seconds later, Sullivan set up Goldburg to tie the game for the fourth and final time, 8-8.

Yarmouth never let Greely take the lead, however, as with 13:21 to go, Lane earned a free position and finished to put the hosts ahead for the final time.

“I try to change it up on free positions,” said Lane. “I tend to go high a lot, but she had saved a lot high.”

The Rangers nearly drew even on the ensuing draw, as Sullivan picked up a ground ball and heaved the ball 40 yards downfield to Clement, but Decker came out of nowhere to break up the scoring chance.

“I’ve tried to focus on doing the little things right,” Decker said. “Ground balls, interceptions. The defensive line is incredible. I’m so lucky they’re there to have my back.”

With 11:43 remaining, Lane set up Groothoff for momentary breathing room, but with 10:28 left, Van Curan’s free position made it a one-goal game again, 10-9.

Perfetti kept it that way by denying Lane and with 8:45 on the clock, Sullivan earned a free position with a chance to tie the score.

Sullivan passed up the shot and tried to pass the ball instead, but again, Decker came up huge, stealing the pass and that’s as close as Greely would come to pulling even.

With 7:44 left in regulation, Lane threw a high pass in front that Marston managed to grab before beating Perfetti to make it 11-9.

Out of a timeout, Yarmouth won the ensuing draw and milked a couple minutes off the clock, as Groothoff kept possession by winning a ground ball, and with 5:30 to go, Lane scored unassisted for a three-goal lead.

The Rangers got one final dose of life late, as Then was sent off with a yellow card with 1:05 on the clock and 17 seconds later, Sullivan set up Bennert to cut the deficit to two.

Goldburg won the ensuing draw and with 31.6 seconds on the clock, Bennert had a free position and a shot to really put the pressure on, but Serrano came up huge, making the save, and the Clippers were able to run out the clock from there and celebrate their 12-10 Senior Night victory.

“It was fun,” Lane said. “It was exciting to win our Senior Night. We were hyped for this game. Greely’s always tough competition. We started off a little bit slow. That was nervewracking, but I knew we had it. We weren’t winning the draw and that’s usually one of our strengths. We’ve worked on new plays, getting the ball moving a lot and feeds from everywhere. It clicked tonight. We stayed positive and tried to focus our shots in different areas.”

“It was fun to play them,” said Decker. “It was stressful, but we stayed composed. On defense, we focused on communication and that was a big key. We successfully worked as a team. We were all on edge, but when they’d score, we’d have a chat and talk about fixing it. We take what went wrong and make it better. That’s something we do well. There’s been a lot of adjusting this year on defense.”

“It was a great game,” Holt added. “We needed a challenge. I watch Greely a lot and I told Becca that tonight was the best I’ve seen them play. It’s great for us. We needed that. Going into this game, we hadn’t lost the draw, so tonight, we had to work and figure it out. Our defense had to step up. Those are things we can’t simulate in practice. Playing a really good team brings our game up. Our attack and defense settled down. We were ramped up for Senior Night.”

Yarmouth got goals from six different girls, as Lane scored five times, Elder and Then each had two goals and Groothoff, Marston and Thornton tickled the twine once.

Lane assisted on three other goals and Groothoff had one assist.

Serrano, who replaced four-year standout Mary Kate Gunville in goal this spring, made three saves, all of them timely.

“Mary Kate left big shoes to fill, but Izzy has done a great job,” Decker said. “She has a great stick.”

“Mary Kate came to practice this week and gave (Izzy) a pep talk and got her game-ready,” Holt said.

Serrano got a lot of help from her defense.

“Callie had some killer interceptions and we say ground balls win games and that showed through tonight,” Lane said.

“I thought the defense came together great,” Holt said. “They were a little off at the beginning, then (senior) Olivia (Robichaud) and Callie and (senior) Hannah (Corey) and (junior) Isabel Brennan and (sophomore) Avery (May) all stepped up. It was a team effort.”

The Clippers enjoyed a 37-27 advantage in ground balls (Elder and Then each had seven and Lane collected five), a 30-17 edge in shots (26-13 on cage) and overcame 18 turnovers.

Encouraging

Greely got three goals from Van Curan, two apiece from Bennert and Morrison and one each from Clement, Goldburg and Sullivan.

“We know Courtney is very good,” Decker said. “She’s tall and physical, but we have a lot of girls on our team who are like that as well. Courtney is great at boxing out, so we had to focus on doing that well. We tried to deny the pass to her. I think we handled her pretty well.”

Sullivan had three assists, Clement two and Bennert one.

Perfetti stood out by making 14 saves.

The Rangers won 15 of 24 draws, as Goldburg went 12 for 17.

“Sam is another freshman who has played well for us,” Koelker said. “Having her on the draw has been a momentum-changer for us. With her in there, we can put our top sticks in the circle.”

Greely got a game-high nine ground balls from Sullivan and only turned the ball over 11 times, but still fell a little short.

“It was a very exciting game,” said Koelker. “Our girls came out really hard, then Yarmouth responded and it was back-and-forth the rest of the game. We felt like we could make it happen. We’re really proud of the effort we put out there today. If we can take care of little things, like getting ground balls, that will bump us up. That killed us tonight, giving them extra possessions. Yarmouth’s so well-coached, they have great players. You have to play a great game against them to win.”

Heals jockeying continues

Greely (currently third in the Class B Heal Points standings) closes at home Saturday afternoon against Cape Elizabeth in another pivotal contest. If the Rangers can finish in the top four, they’ll be guaranteed a home quarterfinal next week.

“We know if we take care of the ball, we can beat any team,” said Koelker. “It’s going to be exciting. I love how things have worked out this year. There are a lot of talented teams. We’ll be right in the running.”

Yarmouth has the top spot in Class B locked up and the Clippers hope to end the regular season on a high note Friday at Waynflete before embarking on a run to finish what last year’s team started.

“This win was huge,” said Decker. “We’re looking forward to Waynflete and our playoff run. Going into the playoffs, we’re all so fired up.”

“We’re so hyped for playoffs,” Lane said. “We want to win so badly. This game is a big confidence boost because Greely will be one of our biggest competitors in the playoffs. We’re excited and ready to go hard.”

“I think all the games will be challenging,” Holt added. “Being home and having our fan support and school support will be incredible. This group is working really hard. The seniors know it’s now or never. The postseason is our ‘go time’ and we’ll be really fired up.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Yarmouth senior Eva Then fires a shot on a free position.

Greely senior Courtney Sullivan collects a ground ball in front of Yarmouth senior Greta Elder.

Greely sophomore Katie Bennert fires a free position shot as Yarmouth senior Eva Then defends.

Yarmouth senior Greta Elder gets a step on Greely junior Jill Cass.

Greely freshman Sam Goldburg shoots and scores past Yarmouth junior goalie Izzy Serrano.

Yarmouth senior Meredith Lane shoots past Greely senior Courtney Sullivan.

Greely senior Greta Van Curan shoots an scores on a second half free position.

Recent Yarmouth-Greely results

2017
@ Yarmouth 9 Greely 3

2016
@ Yarmouth 10 Greely 4

2015
@ Yarmouth 11 Greely 10

2014
@ Yarmouth 11 Greely 9 

2011
Yarmouth 17 @ Greely 8

2010
Yarmouth 11 @ Greely 7
@ Yarmouth 15 Greely 10

2009
Yarmouth 20 @ Greely 8

2008
Yarmouth 12 @ Greely 9
@ Yarmouth 13 Greely 12

2007
@ Yarmouth 17 Greely 5

2006
Yarmouth 9 @ Greely 5
@ Yarmouth 13 Greely 11 (OT)

2005
@ Greely 8 Yarmouth 7

2004
@ Yarmouth 10 Greely 3

2003
@ Greely 10 Yarmouth 5

2002
@ Yarmouth 17 Greely 4
Yarmouth 14 @ Greely 7

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.