CUMBERLAND – It may have come too early, too easily for Noble.

After falling behind to a team that already had one upset under its belt, third-seeded Greely responded with four first-half goals Wednesday night to beat 11th-ranked Noble 5-1 and advance to the Western Class A boys’ soccer semifinals.

Noble (9-7) had reached the quarters by knocking off No. 6 South Portland 2-0 on Saturday, and continued that momentum behind a boisterous crowd of supporters.

After Noble sophomore Josh Emard was knocked down for the second time, his older brother, Jake Emard, a senior, made Greely pay. He hooked a direct kick from 20 yards just over the Greely wall and under the crossbar for a 1-0 lead in the eighth minute.

“Scoring that one early might have been the worst thing for us,” said Noble Coach Matt Foster. “I think we sat back a little bit and thought it was going to be easier than it was. Next thing you know it was 3-1, and then 4-1, and there it goes.”

Greely’s response took only a few minutes. Freshman Jacob Nason tied it by beating the Noble backs to a through ball sent from Nick Shain. Ten yards from the net, Nason stopped, spun and drilled a shot that Noble keeper Drew Martin managed to deflect, but only into the corner of the net.

A Noble bid to regain the lead was thwarted by Greely keeper Elijah Leverett, who first stopped a hard knuckleball off the foot of D.J. Cloutier, then gathered in the rebound at the far post just as Brandon Vigneault of Noble arrived.

“He made a big save on that shot,” said Greely Coach Mike Andreasen. “We came out kind of lethargic and Noble was ready to play.”

The Rangers (11-4) went ahead when Aidan Black redirected a pretty pass from Ben Giffard in the 18th minute after Matt Crowley sent a ball to the right of the Noble net.

Another nice feed four minutes later, again from Crowley, allowed Ben Ingraham to tap the ball past Martin for a 3-1 lead.

Nason, who saw his header strike the crossbar, found the net again four minutes before the break after he jumped on a low Noble goal kick straight up the middle and raced in alone for an easy score to make it 4-1 at halftime.

“Giving up a goal kind of worried me,” said Andreasen, whose team beat Yarmouth and Falmouth on consecutive shutouts.

“Could we come back and have the heart of a champion, so to speak? I guess so, because we got a bunch of them.”

Nicholas Dunnett made it 5-1 midway through the second half on a 40-yard free kick from near the right sideline. Martin leapt to stop it from going into the upper right corner, but stumbled and fell across the goal line when he returned to the ground.

Martin finished with nine saves. Leverett stopped seven.

Greely will face No. 2 Scarborough (12-0-2) in Saturday’s semifinal.

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

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