YARMOUTH – For such a historic moment, the Greely boys’ soccer team seemed to take in stride its hard-fought 2-0 Western Maine Conference victory over Yarmouth on Thursday night.
The win ended an unbeaten run for Yarmouth (9-1-3) with one game left in the regular season and gave the Rangers (9-4) their first victory over the Clippers since 2007, the year before their 11 seniors enrolled at Greely High. That was also the last time Greely carried home the state Class A championship plaque.
After the final horn, the Rangers gathered around their goalie, traded hand slaps and looked pleased. And once the postgame handshake was over, it seemed the win was well behind them. Chances are the boys already were pondering what the result might mean for their future.
“The biggest thing for us was we were able to hold a lead against a quality opponent,” said Greely Coach Mike Andreasen. “The important thing about a game like this is it’s like a playoff game. It gets your players ready.”
Mitchel Donovan put Greely up 1-0 just 1:15 into the second half. He carried a throw-in from Nick Shain down the left touchline, got around the last defender and drove the ball inside the near post.
“I don’t think we played poorly, we just didn’t play well enough to win,” said Yarmouth Coach Mike Hagerty. “Great goal scorers score great goals and that was certainly one. Greely just looked cleaner and tighter than we did tonight, and deserved to win.”
With forward Ted Hart and defender Liam Campbell sitting out until the playoffs, the Rangers leaned on a stout defense and keeper Elijah Leverett (four saves) to keep the Clippers from mounting much of an offense, with defenders stepping into passing lanes and blocking shots.
“Everyone was getting back as fast as possible, doing a great job on man marking,” Leverett said. They were doing a good job on transition, but our guys were right with them.
“It feels so good to finally win against Yarmouth.”
“(Donovan’s) goal was big. The problem with that was it was two minutes in,” Andreasen said. “I was pleased that we just kept going. After the goal we kept attacking.”
Jacob Nason made the score 2-0 at 27:08, finishing off Matt Crowley’s hard work along the end line to keep the ball in play. Crowley slipped it back across the goal mouth, where Nason knocked it past Andrew Fochler (seven saves).
Late in the tightly contested first half, the Clippers were dealt a blow when senior captain Thomas Sullivan injured a knee stumbling over the long-jump pit just beyond the touchline.
“That was a real punch for us,” Hagerty said. “His effort is so contagious. He’s the hardest- working kid, and the kids love to work with him and for him.”
Both teams’ final tests come Saturday. York visits Yarmouth and Greely visits Falmouth. Then it’s off to the Western Class B tournament for the Clippers, and the Class A tourney for Greely.
“For us to go far,” Andreasen said, “we need a good defense, which I think we do, and a good keeper, which I think we do. We need to develop scoring. If we can, we could be dangerous.”