CAPE ELIZABETH – Greely striker Izzy Hutnak sat out the first half Saturday because she’s working her way back from an injury.
It’s safe to say she’s on the mend.
Hutnak scored three goals in the second half to lead the rallying Rangers to a 3-2 victory over Cape Elizabeth in a physical Western Maine Conference girls’ soccer match at Hannaford Field.
Hutnak’s winning goal came with 10:29 to play when she timed her run into the goalie box perfectly to meet Ellie Shad’s cross from the right flank.
“It felt really good (to play,)” Hutnak said. “This is my first hat trick and I’m so excited this was the opportunity. I’m so excited right now.”
The victory avenged a 2-1 loss for Greely (9-2-1) to the Capers (9-2-1) on Sept. 21 at Cumberland — the Rangers’ first loss of the season.
Similarly, Cape took the early lead in that game before Greely came back, only to fall short.
“We didn’t want to be in the same situation,” Greely Coach Josh Muscadin said. “Once you have the edge you’ve got to finish it off.”
In this matchup between Western Class B’s top-ranked Capers and No. 2 Rangers, Hutnak saw to that.
“She completely changed the game when she came on,” said Cape Elizabeth Coach Craig Fannan. “They came out, they pressed us hard and very clearly wanted it more than we did in the second half. Even at 2-1, I thought we could reassert ourselves and we never did. They punished us for it.”
Hutnak’s opening goal was the product of hard work, driving in behind the Cape back line about five minutes into the second half.
“In the first half we kind of put our heads down when they scored,” Greely midfielder Joceyln Mitiguy said. “We decided at halftime that we’d come out and play our hearts out, and that’s exactly what we did.
“Once we got that first goal, everyone woke up and we were back in the game.”
About 10 minutes later, Hutnak drove hard for her second goal, chipping the ball over a charging Cape keeper Mary Perkins (eight saves) and tapping it in.
The game grew increasingly physical and emotional. Muscadin opted to let the Rangers sort that out for themselves.
“I have to, they’re the ones playing the game,” Muscadin said. “My job is to remain calm.”
“We just had to keep picking each other up,” Mitiguy said. “We had to keep playing our game and keep the ball on the ground.”
The emotions worked against Cape.
“Our girls got caught in the emotion of (the game),” Fannan said. “We turned it too much into a game of individual battles.”
Cape dominated the first half, holding a 2-1 edge in shots. Tori Diaz got the Capers started, meeting Kathryn Clark’s cross from the right side at the back post in the 18th minute for a 1-0 lead. About 10 minutes later, Cape midfielder Addie Wood’s volley beat Elyse Dinan (11 saves) to make it 2-0.