CAPE ELIZABETH—It wasn’t about revenge, Greely said.

It was about continuing to be the best girls’ soccer team it can be and so far this autumn, to the surprise of many, the Rangers have been better than good.

They’ve been perfect.

Tuesday evening at Hannaford Field, Greely got (and passed) its toughest test to date when it visited defending Class B state champion Cape Elizabeth in a regional final rematch.

While the Capers have had the Rangers number in recent seasons, this time around, Greely made a powerful statement.

In the 21st minute, a great individual effort from senior Kristina Volta culminated in the game’s first goal, the only one the Rangers would need as it turned out.

After a timely defensive save from freshman Caroline Swaney late in the first half preserved the 1-0 score, Greely came out strong in the second half and doubled its lead when sophomore Ellie Schad finished a feed from junior Izzy Hutnak.

With 16:51 remaining, Schad scored again, this time on a rebound of a shot from junior Jocelyn Mitiguy and the Rangers went on to a decisive 3-0 triumph.

Greely has now won all six of its outings this fall and dropped the up-and-down Capers to 4-3 in the process.

“Going into the season, we were looked at as an underdog team in a building year, but we’ve proved ourselves and we’ve worked hard to get here,” Volta said. “Cape has always been a big rival. We came out and wanted to play our best against them.”

Here we go again

There’s little love lost between these programs, due largely to a longtime rivalry and the fact that they’ve met in so many big games in recent seasons.

Cape Elizabeth won all three meetings in 2012, including a 3-0 victory in the Western A quarterfinals. Both teams moved down to Class B a year ago and again squared off three times, each of them memorable.

In the first meeting, in Cumberland, the Capers got early goals from Kathryn Clark and Addie Wood, then had to hold on for dear life to prevail, 2-1.

In the rematch at Cape Elizabeth, the hosts appeared destined for another victory when Wood and Tori Diaz scored before the half, but the Rangers came alive behind three goals from Hutnak in the second half to beat the Capers, 3-2, their first victory in seven tries against their rival.

Not surprisingly, the teams met again in the Western B Final. Again, the host Capers took a 2-0 lead, behind an own goal and a Kate Breed strike, but again, Greely roared back to tie, as Hutnak again scored two quick goals. This time, the Rangers couldn’t complete the comeback, however, as Clark and Breed scored second half goals to give Cape Elizabeth a 4-2 victory.

The Capers went on to win the Class B title on penalty kicks over Waterville (with Breed icing it) and despite losing some key seniors, entered 2014 still viewed as the team to beat.

Cape Elizabeth got off to a fast start this fall with a 5-0 home win over Freeport, then crashed to earth with losses at York (3-1) and Yarmouth (2-1). The Capers then hit their stride, dominating visiting Lake Region (10-0) and host Poland (8-0). Friday, Cape Elizabeth enjoyed its biggest win to date, 3-0, at Falmouth.

Greely won at Fryeburg (4-0) and Yarmouth (2-0) to start the year, then downed visiting Falmouth (3-1), visiting Gray-New Gloucester (3-0) and host Kennebunk (6-1).

Tuesday night, the Capers were looking to improve to 7-1-1 in the last nine meetings in the series, but the Rangers managed to win on Cape Elizabeth’s turf for the second year in a row.

The Capers got the jump on Greely in each of last year’s meetings, but this time, Greely would strike first.

Cape Elizabeth did get the first good look, but Breed’s shot hit the spot where the goalpost and the crossbar meet and bounced harmlessly away.

Shots from Mitiguy, junior Allison Coon and Hutnak forced Capers junior goalkeeper Tessa Goldstein to make saves and after Hutnak sent a blast just high, the Rangers broke through.

The first goal came with 19:22 to play before halftime and Volta made it happen by fighting off two defenders to win the ball, playing it to her left to get some room, then shooting past Goldstein for a 1-0 advantage.

“I saw the net and I just felt like I wanted to get my first goal this season,” Volta said. “A first goal against Cape was a pretty good goal to get.”

“That was a very nice goal,” said Greely coach Josh Muscadin.

The Capers pressured for the equalizer, but a bid from sophomore Mariah Deschino was saved by Rangers junior goalkeeper Maddie Cyr.

With 9:05 to play in the half, Schad almost doubled the lead, but after she took a pass from Mitiguy, she was denied point blank by Goldstein.

The hosts almost got a gift in the 38th minute, when the ball was sent into the Greely box and with Cyr coming out to play it, it ricocheted off a defender’s head and appeared “own goal”-bound, but Swaney calmly cleared it off the line to keep the score 1-0.

“Caroline Swaney used to play for (my premier team) and that came back to bite me,” lamented Cape Elizabeth coach Craig Fannan.

It was still anyone’s game when the second half began, but the Rangers made sure they kept the potent Capers offense at bay.

The best way to do that was by keeping the ball in their offensive zone and after Hutnak had a shot saved by Goldstein, Hutnak served the ball into the box, it bounced off a defender and came to Schad, who had some room. Schad took a touch, then rocketed a shot past Goldstein for a 2-0 advantage with 37:11 to go.

“We knew it was really important to keep our energy up,” Schad said. “If we let down, Cape would run all over us and we wouldn’t be able to come back from that. We came out strong, just like we did in the first half. We worked hard and we were able to finish.”

Again, the hosts looked to answer, but Breed shot high, Clark had a shot from the side saved by Cyr and with 32:07 remaining, a long shot from junior Katherine Briggs was mishandled by Cyr and got past her, but Greely got two gifts, as first, the ball bounced off the post and after the rebound came right to Clark, the normally sure-footed, prolific scorer sent her shot over the wide open net.

The Rangers then ended all doubt with 16:51 left in the game.

Mitiguy sent a shot on goal and Goldstein couldn’t handle it cleanly. While the Capers had missed their wide open opportunity, Schad wasn’t about to do the same as she finished for a 3-0 lead.

“Jocelyn had a nice strike to the goalie and she fumbled it and I was there to put it away,” Schad said.

Greely clamped down on defense and put the finishing touches on its impressive win.

“I have to say I’m proud of the girls,” Muscadin said. “We also got lucky, but that’s part of soccer. If you don’t put away chances, they will come back to haunt you. We didn’t give up. We kept going.”

The Rangers finished with a 17-15 shots advantage (12-6 on frame). The Capers took five corner kicks to two for the visitors, but didn’t convert any of them.

Cyr made six saves and enjoyed strong defensive play in front of her.

“Our defense has done really well this year,” Volta said. “(Juniors) Maggie (Reed) and Kelsey (Otley) know where each other will be.”

“Tonight, we stepped it up, especially on defense,” Muscadin said. “I like Cape’s style. It’s a lot like ours. They have speed and we didn’t give them many chances. The whole idea was taking care of them when they counterattack. They like to surprise you and we don’t like to be caught by surprise.”

Goldstein made nine saves for Cape Elizabeth, but it wasn’t enough.

“Football is a game of chances,” said Fannan. “Unfortunately, they took theirs and we didn’t take ours. Kate hit the bar, they cleared the ball off the line. It seemed like the football gods were against us. Congratulations to Greely. They were excellent tonight. I was expecting they would be good.”

Just getting started

Both teams face questions as the second half of the regular season commences.

Can the Capers put it all together on a consistent basis and return to their championship form?

Cape Elizabeth (which was sixth in the Western Class B Heal Points standings at press time) has three more home games upcoming. Next week, it hosts Yarmouth and Kennebunk and on Oct. 7, three days before going to Greely for a rematch, the Capers welcome Falmouth.

“I’m not concerned,” Fannan said. “We responded great after we lost to York and Yarmouth and I think we’ll do it again. We have a tough road ahead of us, but we know we can beat anybody out there. We have a week off, which is nice.”

Can the Rangers keep this fabulous run going? How will they do the second time they see the powerhouses they’ve already beaten?

Greely (first in Western B) returns home Saturday to host Freeport. The Rangers play at Falmouth and York next week.

“This gives us so much confidence, but we know that all teams will want to beat us,” Schad said. “We can’t take any team less seriously than we did Cape. I like being the underdog, but it’s good to be on top. We know we’re a good team. We’ve showed we can beat good teams.”

“We try to treat every game the same,” said Volta. “We have really good chemistry. That influences our play very much. We have to keep our confidence up. That’s a big reason why we’ve played so well this season.”

“Every game we play is different,” Muscadin added. “Everybody is gunning for us now. Rightfully so. We just have to be prepared. It just gets harder. We’ll have to work extra hard and be ready. It certainly has been a pleasant surprise so far. We worked hard in the summer and it’s paid off.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Cape Elizabeth junior Montana Braxton gets a step on Greely sophomore Ellie Schad.

Cape Elizabeth junior Kate Breed tries to hold off Greely senior Kristina Volta as they fight for possession.

Cape Elizabeth junior Katherine Briggs runs up the field with Greely junior Jocelyn Mitiguy in hot pursuit.

Greely junior Izzy Hutnak finds some operating room.

Two of the state’s top scorers, Greely junior Izzy Hutnak and Cape Elizabeth senior Kathryn Clark, battle for a loose ball.

Greely junior Maggie Reed beats Cape Elizabeth senior Kathryn Clark to the ball.

Cape Elizabeth junior Morgan Wight goes up to head the ball.

Recent Cape Elizabeth-Greely meetings


Cape Elizabeth 2 @ Greely 1
Greely 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 2
Western B Final
@ Greely 4 Cape Elizabeth 2


Cape Elizabeth 1 @ Greely 0
@ Cape Elizabeth 0 Greely 0 (tie)

Western A quarterfinals
@ Cape Elizabeth 3 Greely 0


@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Greely 0
Cape Elizabeth 1 @ Greely 0


@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Greely 1
@ Greely 4 Cape Elizabeth 0


@ Greely 3 Cape Elizabeth 2
Greely 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 0


Greely 1 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Greely 2 Cape Elizabeth 1
Western Class A quarterfinals
@ Greely 2 Cape Elizabeth 1


@ Greely 2 Cape Elizabeth 2 (tie)
Greely 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 0


Greely 1 @ Cape Elizabeth 0 (OT)
@ Greely 0 Cape Elizabeth 0 (tie)


@ Greely 1 Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Cape Elizabeth 1 Greely 0


Cape Elizabeth 3 @ Greely 2
Greely 1 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
Western Class A semifinals
@ Greely 2 Cape Elizabeth 0


@ Greely 3 Cape Elizabeth 1
Greely 1 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
Western Class A quarterfinals
@ Greely 1 Cape Elizabeth 0


Greely 5 @ Cape Elizabeth 1
@ Greely 2 Cape Elizabeth 2 (tie)
Western Class A semifinals
@ Greely 1 Cape Elizabeth 0


@ Greely 3 Cape Elizabeth 0
Greely 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 1

Sidebar Elements

Greely senior Kristina Volta (10) is congratulated by junior Izzy Hutnak after scoring the first goal of Tuesday’s 3-0 victory at rival Cape Elizabeth.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

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