CUMBERLAND—It literally came down to the final second.

Tuesday afternoon, with daylight fading, host Greely had one final chance to earn a pivotal victory in its field hockey tilt with rival Cape Elizabeth.

The Rangers, who took a 1-0 lead in the first half on a goal from junior Charlotte Benoit, only to see the Capers draw even with just over 24 minutes to play when senior Michaela Pinette scored on a rebound, had a big edge in shots on goal and possession, but couldn’t produce the game winner.

Then, as time wound down, senior Sophie McMonagle broke free and had a chance to win it, but Cape Elizabeth’s dynamic senior goalie Mary DiPietro made her biggest save of the season and as the ball rolled harmlessly away, the horn sounded on the 1-1 draw.

Greely, which still has some work to do if it wants to qualify for the playoffs, is now 3-7-1 on the year, while the Capers will take a 6-6-1 mark into their regular season finale Thursday.

“We’re definitely very proud of ourselves,” Benoit said. “We stayed intense and aggressive the whole game. It was one of our best games this season.”

“We really came back strong,” said DiPietro. “We’re always hoping for win, but this is better than a loss. I think we’re all pretty proud of ourselves. We worked our hardest tonight.”

A lot at stake

Cape Elizabeth came to Cumberland Tuesday looking to right its ship after going just 1-3 in its last four outings, while the Rangers sought a signature victory to help it climb up the standings and qualify for the playoffs.

Greely opened by falling at Lake Region and Poland by 3-2 scores (the loss at the Knights came in overtime). After a 1-0 home setback against Falmouth, the Rangers lost at York, 6-1, then fell at Cape Elizabeth, 1-0. Greely finally broke through with wins over visiting Gray-New Gloucester (3-2, in OT), Lake Region (2-0) and host Waynflete (3-1) then lost at Kennebunk (4-1) and at home to powerhouse York (3-0).

Cape Elizabeth opened with a 1-0 home win over Gray-New Gloucester, then enjoyed a 2-1 victory at Falmouth. The Capers then lost at home to Poland (2-1) and at Fryeburg Academy (4-0) before bouncing back with a 2-1 home win over Lake Region and holding off visiting Greely, 1-0. After a 2-0 loss at Freeport, Cape Elizabeth beat visiting Kennebunk in double overtime, 2-1, but the Capers then fell at Yarmouth (2-0) and Kennebunk (3-0). Their one-step-forward-one-step-back play continued with a 2-0 home victory over Falmouth and a 2-1 overtime home loss to Fryeburg Academy.

The rivalry has turned in recent seasons. After Greely won 17 times and tied once in a 20-game span between 2003 and 2011 (see sidebar below), Cape Elizabeth had captured the last five outings, including the 1-0 decision Sept. 15, which was decided on a goal from senior Taylor Herrera.

Tuesday, the Rangers were desperate for a win and played like it, but they wound up having to split Heal Points with the Capers, who were able to hold on for dear life.

There weren’t many chances in the first half, but Greely did manage to rattle the cage.

In the fifth minute, Cape Elizabeth sophomore Taylor Young appeared to have a promising rush, but Rangers freshman goalie Lizzie Brown came out to break it up.

In the eighth minute, Brown made her first save, denying a blast from Capers senior Caroline Garfield on a corner.

With 18:46 remaining, Greely senior Mikela Nolin had a shot turned aside by DiPietro and shot the rebound wide.

Two minutes later, Nolin had a shot blocked.

With 12:17 to go in the half, senior Maura Perry fired a backhanded shot, but DiPietro again made the save.

With 5:08 remaining, Cape Elizabeth sophomore C.J. Logue got to a loose ball in a scrum and sent it just wide.

The Rangers then struck with 2:14 to go.

The ball was sent in on DiPietro, who slipped, and the ball was momentarily lodged under her. With a penalty stroke imminent, Benoit was able to poke the ball free and into the cage for a 1-0 lead. Nolin was credited with an assist.

“(The ball) was kind of underneath the goalie and I just pushed it in,” Benoit said. “She did very well this game, but we definitely wanted to score.”

“I slid up my right foot and lost my traction and landed on (the ball),” said DiPietro. “My initial thought was not letting it go in, then I thought it might be a stroke. One of their girls got a stick on it.”

It didn’t take long for the Capers to answer in the second half.

With 24:22 to play, Pinette managed to make the most of a scrum and beat Brown to make it 1-1.

Neither team would score again, although both teams would have chances.

Less than a minute after the equalizer, Herrera set up Pinette for another shot, but Brown made the save.

At the other end, DiPietro robbed a bid off a penalty corner from Greely senior Gina Richard.

Late in the game, Capers freshman Charlotte Emerson had a bid denied by Brown.

The Rangers then transitioned to offense and McMonagle fired a shot, but DiPietro managed to barely get a foot on it. For good measure, she saved the rebound shot as well.

With just over a minute to go, a McMonagle rush was broken up by Cape Elizabeth junior Jillian Petersen and it was on to overtime.

Teams play two eight-minute “sudden victory” overtime sessions and if no one scores, the game goes in the books as a tie.

That’s how this one would end, but not without plenty of anxious moments.

Early in the first OT, McMonagle sent a long pass ahead to Nolin, but her potential game winner was saved by DiPietro.

Greely then earned a corner and junior Kayla Barry had a shot, but again DiPietro stopped it.

DiPietro later cleared a long feed to Barry and it was on to the second overtime.

After generating no offense in the first session, the Capers came out hot in the second and a backhanded shot by sophomore Hannah Bosworth, who has had a penchant for clutch goals this fall, went just wide.

After Benoit shot wide at the other end, Cape Elizabeth earned a corner, but could do nothing with it.

With exactly 2 minutes showing, the hosts earned a corner and the ball came to senior Maura Perry, whose shot was blocked right in front.

The Capers got a break with 54.7 seconds remaining, when Greely junior Alyssa Casarez, whose energy and speed wreaked havoc all day, was sidelined with a yellow card, meaning the visitors had an extra player for the rest of the contest.

They weren’t able to do anything with it, however, and the game was on the verge of ending when the Rangers made one final push and the ball was played ahead to McMonagle.

With time winding down, McMonagle raced in on DiPietro and shot.

Had the ball gone in, it would have beaten the horn and counted.

But after playing so well for so long, DiPietro wasn’t going to let that happen.

With 1.1 seconds showing, DiPietro kicked the ball away for her 17th and most crucial save of the game and the teams settled for a 1-1 tie.

“Double overtime isn’t one of my favorite situations,” DiPietro said. “There were a lot of hectic moments. I just kicked it and hoped for the best. I avoid looking at the clock so I won’t get stressed out. I was terrified of getting beaten in the five-hole. I just all saw the girls running, so I thought I did something right.”

“I was so hoping she’d make the save,” Cape Elizabeth coach Darci Holland said. “I was really hoping time would run out sooner. I lit into them at halftime because I wasn’t happy with how they were playing. They dug deep in the second half and dug even deeper in overtime. I’m happy we played so well on grass. I’m OK with the tie.”

Greely wound up outshooting Cape Elizabeth, 19-9, but couldn’t get the goal that mattered most.

“We were close again,” Rangers coach Becki Belmore said. “The girls played with intensity for a whole game and that was our goal for this game. We didn’t give up. We haven’t given up in any game all season. I’m so proud of them. They’re tired for sure.”

Almost done

Greely, which is 10th in the Western Class B Heal Points standings (only nine teams make the playoffs), has three games left and likely needs to win them all. After hosting Freeport in a playoff rematch Thursday, the Rangers visit Falmouth Monday and close Wednesday of next week at home versus Fryeburg Academy.

“We’ll use this game to move forward,” said Benoit. “I think we can make a run. We know we can compete against top teams if we can get in.”

“I don’t know what to expect from Freeport,” said Belmore. “It’s on our field, which should help. We’ll fight right to the end.”

Cape Elizabeth (which has slipped to seventh in Western B) closes Thursday at York. The Capers will be heavy underdogs to the defending regional champs, who are one of the state’s premier squads this fall, but they’ll look to finish the regular season on a high note.

“York’s definitely a strong team,” DiPietro said. “We go into every game optimistic. Even if we lose, we’ll learn from it. We’re excited. It’s definitely been a roller-coaster ride. We’ve won huge games, then we’ve had some downs. I’d love to see us make a run. I hope we can do it.”

“We have nothing to lose and everything to gain on Thursday,” Holland said. “We’ll see if we can get a home game. We’re trying to stay out of a prelim. I hope the girls realize what’s at stake. We won’t have another chance.”

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

Greely junior Kayla Barry prepares to whack the ball as Cape Ellzabeth junior Megan Nicholson closes in.

Greely junior Alyssa Casarez tries to poke the ball away from prone Cape Elizabeth senior Julia Ginder.

Cape Elizabeth sophomore Hannah Bosworth and Greely senior Maura Perry engage in a battle for a 50-50 ball.

Cape Elizabeth senior Caroline Garfield and Greely junior Alyssa Casarez fight for possession.

Greely senior Sophie McMonagle races up the field.

Cape Elizabeth senior Aubrey O’Meara takes a shot.

Cape Elizabeth senior Michaela Pinette sends a shot on goal.

Greely junior Danita Storey fires a shot as Cape Elizabeth senior Taylor Herrera closes in.

Recent Greely-Cape Elizabeth results

@ Cape Elizabeth 1 Greely 0

Cape Elizabeth 3 @ Greely 2 (OT)
@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Greely 0

Cape Elizabeth 5 @ Greely 4
@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Greely 0

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

@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Greely 1
@ Greely 1 Cape Elizabeth 0
Western B quarterfinals
@ Greely 4 Cape Elizabeth 3

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

Greely 1 @ Cape Elizabeth 0 (OT)
@ Greely 2 Cape Elizabeth 0

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

Greely 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 1
@ Cape Elizabeth 0 Greely 0 (tie)

@ Greely 4 Cape Elizabeth 0
Greely 4 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
Western B quarterfinals
@ Greely 3 Cape Elizabeth 0

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

@ Greely 6 Cape Elizabeth 2
Greely 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 2 (OT)

Greely 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 1
Cape Elizabeth 3 @ Greely 2
Western B semifinals
@ Greely 6 Cape Elizabeth 0

Cape Elizabeth 3 @ Greely 2
Greely 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 1

Sidebar Elements

Cape Elizabeth senior goalie Mary DiPietro denies Greely senior Maura Perry in overtime of the teams’ contest Tuesday afternoon. DiPietro later made a huge save as time expired to bring the curtain down a 1-1 draw.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.