Yarmouth girls stun undefeated Greely

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YARMOUTH—Greely’s girls’ soccer team seemed unstoppable entering Saturday afternoon’s Senior Day contest at Yarmouth, but the Clippers showed that they too can be tough to beat when they’re able to finish their scoring chances and as a result, the Rangers’ quest for a perfect season has gone by the wayside.

Thirty-nine days after giving up six goals in a lopsided loss at Greely, Yarmouth put forth a much stronger defensive effort and after weeks of near-misses and frustration on offense, finally broke through.

The Clippers got the jump when junior Katie Clemmer finished a feed from sophomore Evan Then in the 20th minute.

Five minutes later, sophomore Sara D’Appolonia and freshman Olivia Feeley combined for a give-and-go which resulted in a D’Appolonia goal and a 2-0 lead.

The Rangers reminded everyone just how dangerous they can be when senior standout Jocelyn Mitiguy willed the ball into the goal with 6:52 to play in the half, cutting the deficit to 2-1.

Few thought 2-1 would be the final score, but Yarmouth’s defense and sophomore goalkeeper Meredith Lane rose to the occasion and the Clippers went on to their biggest victory of the season to date, by that margin.

Yarmouth earned a major infusion of Heal Points, improved to 6-4-3 and in the process, handed Greely its first loss in 13 outings.

“I’m really proud of the girls,” said Yarmouth coach Rich Smith. “We needed that. It was nice to score a couple goals. We’ve been playing well and doing everything but scoring goals, but the girls have been really great. On Senior Night, our senior captains kept everyone positive.”

Surprise, surprise

Both teams went deep into  the playoffs a year ago and both were expected to contend this fall, but Greely had enjoyed far more triumph to date.

The Clippers opened with a 6-0 victory at Poland, then lost at Greely (6-3) and home to Cape Elizabeth, 3-0. After blanking visiting Freeport, 3-0, Yarmouth lost at York, 2-1, then turned around and downed host Kennebunk, 6-2, and visiting Wells, 3-0, before falling back to .500 after a 2-1 loss at Cape Elizabeth. After rallying to tie visiting Falmouth, 1-1, the Clippers settled for 0-0 home ties against York and Kennebunk, then finally found the net twice in a 2-0 win at Gray-New Gloucester Tuesday.

The Rangers started by blanking visiting Fryeburg Academy, 5-0, in their opener, then impressed with victories over visiting Yarmouth (6-3) and at Falmouth (4-2). The good times kept rolling with wins at Gray-New Gloucester (3-1), at home over Kennebunk (4-1) and Cape Elizabeth (1-0) and at Freeport (4-1). After passing another home test, blanking York, 2-0, Greely enjoyed a 4-1 victory at Kennebunk, then made a powerful statement with a 4-1 win at Cape Elizabeth. Earlier this week, the Rangers downed visiting Falmouth (2-0) and visiting Lake Region (4-0).

Entering the game, since 2001, Greely held a 19-4 advantage over Yarmouth (with five ties).

Saturday, the Rangers hoped to take another step toward perfection, but after five seniors and their families were honored in a pregame ceremony, the Clippers had other ideas and beat Greely at home for the second time in three years.

Mitiguy had a couple good looks early, but on the first, she was denied by Lane and on the second, she shot wide.

The Clippers’ first good chance resulted in a shot from sophomore Hannah Corey going just wide.

In the seventh minute, Yarmouth almost grabbed the lead as the dangerous D’Appolonia got the ball in space and launched a low rocket that appeared ticketed for the back of the net, but Rangers senior goalkeeper Maddie Cyr dove to make the save and after the rebound came out to Clippers junior Gretchen Barbera, her follow-up bid sailed high.

Lane made a nice stop in the 13th minute, as Greely senior Izzy Hutnak launched a high shot which forced the keeper to go to her tiptoes and stretch to snare it.

After Lane made a save on Hutnak off a corner kick, Yarmouth returned to the attack and was rewarded.

The game’s first goal came with 20:21 to play in the first half.

After receiving a long pass, Then got the ball ahead to Clemmer, who went one-on-one with Cyr and beat the keeper with a low shot just inside the far post for a 1-0 lead.

“We’ve worked a lot on one-time shots and getting through balls,” Clemmer said. “Eva did a great job and I saw it coming and I made the run. Every practice, one of the main things we focus on is offensive work.”

“I played Katie up top and she was everywhere,” Smith said. “She was exhausted at halftime.”

Facing a rare deficit, Greely hoped to answer, but instead, the Clippers struck again.

After Cyr made a save on a bid from Feeley, Feeley and D’Appolonia teamed up for the second goal.

With 15:46 left before halftime, off a stoppage in play, D’Appolonia passed to Feeley, who got the ball back to D’Appolonia and D’Appolonia got behind the defense and shot just inside the near post for a 2-0 lead.

“We just had to work together and have combinations out of the back,” D’Appolonia said. “Possession is key. This game showed what teamwork can do. Olivia and I read each other great. From the start of preseason, we’ve worked really well together. I know right where she will be. She knows right where I’m going to be. We had the fire in us.”

Yarmouth had a couple opportunities to really open up a comfortable lead, but Cyr saved a Then shot off a corner kick, then Barbera took a pass from D’Appolonia and had a great look, but shot just high.

The Rangers’ offense then returned to life and after freshman sensation Anna DeWolfe had a shot saved by Lane and Hutnak set up Mitiguy for a shot which was saved, Mitiguy fought her way through a couple defenders and with 6:52 to play in the half, she shot past Lane to cut the deficit to 2-1.

A minute later, Mitiguy almost tied the score, but she shot just wide.

Late in the half, Feeley shot just wide after a turnover, Clippers junior Ella Antolini cleared a loose ball from the box and Yarmouth senior Lilly Watson broke up a rush from Greely junior Ellie Schad.

In the first half, the Clippers had a 10-8 edge in shots, but the Rangers had a 6-5 advantage in shots on frame. Five Lane saves helped keep Yarmouth ahead.

While Greely had some chances in the second half, they were minimal thanks to the continued strong play of the Clippers’ defense.

Just 73 seconds in, Mitiguy lofted a shot toward the goal, but Lane made the save.

After Clemmer and D’Appolonia weren’t able to finish, Yarmouth earned a couple corner kicks, but had nothing to show for them.

With 23:21 to play, Clippers senior Lauren Bartlett stepped up big on defense, stretching to prevent a feed from sophomore Caroline Swaney from getting through to Hutnak. 

With 20:07 to go, off a free kick, the ball came to Greely sophomore Courtney Sullivan, who had a great look, but she missed her shot.

Four minutes later, after a steal, Mitiguy shot wide.

With 15:06 to play, Yarmouth junior Cory Langenbach broke up a rush by Mitiguy and seconds later, Watson did the same thing to DeWolfe.

Lane made a save on a Mitiguy shot with 9:47 remaining.

With 8:05 left, Hutnak sent a free kick in from the side and after the ball deflected to her, Mitiguy’s shot went barely over the crossbar.

With 4:08 to go and Lane out of position, Bartlett cleared the ball from harm’s way.

Second later, Schad shot wide and that proved to be the visitors’ last shot.

Down the stretch, D’Appolonia cleared away a corner kick and as time wound down, both Watson and Feeley booted the ball out of the defensive zone and the horn sounded on Yarmouth’s 2-1 victory.

“Our defense worked really well together today,” Bartlett said. “It’s been solid throughout. We just had to play for each other every second of the game. Meredith stepped up so much in goal. We all communicated and backed each other up. We all really, really wanted it. It was fun and it’s great to win.” 

“All we needed to do was go as hard as we could from start to finish and I think that’s what we did in this game,” Clemmer said.

“We’ve had some tough ties and losses, but we’ve moved forward,” Smith added. “We knew when the time came, we’d get our goals and we did tonight. I thought it was a great team effort. ‘D’Aps’ won the balls in the middle and kept feeding them forward. We were solid in the back. Lauren, Lilly and Ella. Cory Langenbach too. Hannah Corey had her best game tonight, I thought. That 2-1 lead is always so dangerous and they’re such a talented and fast team.”

Yarmouth finished with a 17-14 shots advantage, a 5-2 edge in corner kicks and got seven saves from Lane.

Greely put eight shots on frame to seven for the Clippers and got five saves from Cyr, but found itself in the unfamiliar position of walking off the field on the losing side of the score.

“Yarmouth deserved this one,” said Rangers coach Josh Muscadin. “I give them all the credit. They came out very, very strong. We were flat. It’s a lesson and hopefully we’ll learn it. We did not come out to play.”

One more step

Greely, which has the top spot in the region wrapped up, will go to York for the regular season finale Tuesday.

Yarmouth (which has soared to fourth in the Class B South Heal Points standings at press time) closes the regular season at Falmouth Tuesday.

The Clippers hope to build on Saturday’s result.

“I think it’s a springboard for us,” D’Appolnia said. “We’ve had a lot of ties. I don’t think our record is an example of what we’ve done. I think this shows that anything is possible and we’ll come out of this stronger and better.”

“We have so much potential,” Bartlett said. “It’s just a matter of keeping our confidence.”

“This boosts our confidence,” Clemmer said. “We really needed this. It sends us to the playoffs on a good note.”

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

Yarmouth senior Lauren Bartlett jumps into the arms of sophomore goalkeeper Meredith Lane during the postgame celebration of the Clippers’ 2-1 upset win over Greely Saturday. Yarmouth handed the Rangers their first loss of the season.

Mike Strout photos.

Greely senior Jocelyn Mitiguy battles Yarmouth senior Lilly Watson for the ball. Mitiguy had the Rangers’ lone goal.

Greely freshman Anna DeWolfe boots the ball away from Yarmouth sophomore Sara D’Appolonia.

Yarmouth sophomore Eva Then tries to play the ball along the sidelines as Greely sophomore Caroline Swaney defends.

Greely senior goalkeeper Maddie Cyr gets to the ball just before Yarmouth junior Katie Clemmer can send it home. Clemmer did score the game’s first goal.

Greely sophomore Caroline Swaney gets her head on the ball.

Greely senior Izzy Hutnak tries to play the ball on a corner kick as Yarmouth junior Gretchen Barbera (9), senior Lauren Bartlett and sophomore goalkeeper Meredith Lane defend.

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