Greely’s field hockey team celebrates Wednesday’s 1-0 home victory over York in a critical Class B South showdown. The Rangers beat the Wildcats in Cumberland for the first time since 2008.

Derek Davis / Press Herald photos.

More photos below.

CUMBERLAND—While her team was overjoyed to hold the lead Wednesday afternoon, first-year Greely coach Chelsea Morley knew that the Rangers had plenty of work to do to finish off visiting York in a Class B South field hockey showdown.

That’s because Morley, a one-time York standout, knew that the Wildcats never go down without a fight.

And York gave resurgent Greely a battle for 60 minutes, but thanks to a first half goal from senior Courtney Rog, off a penalty corner, and a stellar defensive effort, the Rangers were able to hold on and prevail, 1-0, for their biggest win to date this fall, as they beat the Wildcats at home for the first time in a decade.

Greely improved to 8-2 by virtue of its eighth victory in nine outings and in the process, dropped York to 7-3.

“It speaks volumes about how much work the girls have put in,” said Morley, York Class of 2011. “It’s nice to see all the hard work fall right. (This win) means a little bit more. It’s always a rivalry. It’s a different perspective being on the other side of it. You can’t beat the energy the girls have brought to the field lately.”

Biggest test yet

Greely has enjoyed a terrific season this fall, its first under Morley. The year began inauspiciously, with a 5-2 home loss to Freeport in the opener, but the Rangers bounced back and defeated host Gray-New Gloucester, 3-2, visiting Cape Elizabeth, 5-0, host Yarmouth (3-0) and host Poland (5-2). After a 2-1 home loss to Lake Region, Greely handed visiting Fryeburg Academy its first loss, 1-0, then downed host Traip Academy (4-0) and host Cape Elizabeth (3-1).

York, the defending regional champion, also has a new coach this fall in Nora Happny, who replaced the legendary Barb Marois, winner of 258 games, 12 regional crowns and four Class B state titles in her 18 seasons.

This season, the Wildcats have remained a top contender, opening with wins over visiting North Yarmouth Academy (3-0) and at Yarmouth in overtime (1-0). After a 1-0 setback at Poland, York blanked host Lake Region (2-0) and visiting Gray-New Gloucester (4-0). The Wildcats then lost at home to Fryeburg (2-1) before bouncing back to down host Cape Elizabeth (4-0), visiting Freeport (2-0) and Saturday, hold off host St. Dom’s, the defending Class C champion, 3-2.

Last fall, Greely went to York and prevailed, 2-0, ending a 16-game skid against the Wildcats in the process. The teams met again in Cumberland in the regular season finale and York held on for a 1-0 victory.

Wednesday, the Wildcats looked to win at the Rangers again, but for the first time since Oct. 3, 2008 (2-0), Greely protected its home turf against the region’s gold standard.

Play was back-and-forth in the first half, but the teams managed just a three combined shots.

The first didn’t come until the 18th minute, when York junior Bailey Oliver was denied by Greely sophomore goalie Cassie Ward.

The Rangers, who had two early penalty corners which didn’t result in a shot, got the jump with 7:24 to play in the half, off their third corner, which proved to be the charm.

Sophomore Delia Knox inserted the ball to senior standout Maddy Perfetti, who, as usual, drew a crowd. Perfetti eschewed the shot and instead, passed the ball to her left to Rog, who made solid contact, firing her shot past Wildcats senior goalie Julianna Kiklis for a 1-0 lead.

“It was just timing,” Rog said. “Maddy passed it just where I needed to have it. I took the shot and it felt good off the stick. I love to see it work out like that.”

“Courtney has a powerful hit and when she strikes it right, it’s tough for anyone to stop,” Morley said. “Their goalie is incredible and she’s an anchor of their team. Delia shielded the defender beautifully and cut off an angle. The fact it hit the back post so hard and there was no question about it, I’m so happy for her. We practice corners every day and we capitalized.”

“No one was really on her and it was just a really powerful shot,” Happny said. 

Late in the half, York freshman Lexi Brent had a chance in the circle, but Greely sophomore Stephanie Bruder broke it up.

The Rangers hoped to add to their lead early in the second half, but couldn’t convert on a corner.

The Wildcats then carried play most of the rest of the way.

With 18:50 on the clock, off a penalty corner, Oliver couldn’t get her stick on a blast from sophomore Christina Dargie.

Twenty-eight seconds later, Dargie’s shot was denied by Ward.

Off a subsequent corner, Rog cleared the ball.

With 14:05 to play, freshman Sage Works fired a promising shot off a corner, but it hit Oliver’s foot.

Morley called timeout to attempt to turn the tide and Greely would transition to offense, but Knox had three bids saved by Kiklis to keep York in the game.

With 9:40 remaining, a cross from Dargie trickled through the circle untouched.

With 8:01 on the clock, Brent got free and went one-on-one with Ward, but Ward got her pad in the way.

The Wildcats kept the ball in the Rangers’ end and with 2:20 remaining, off a corner, York senior Emlyn Patry missed just wide.

The visitors earned one last corner with a minute to go, but Ward stood tall and saved Works’ shot.

Greely managed to run out the clock and celebrated its 1-0 victory.

“We went into it knowing we beat them on their field last year, so we had a lot of positive energy,” Rog said. “We did what we needed to do. We were ready to go. We kept our heads down and played our game and kept our sticks down and held on.

“We’ve come together as a team. It was a little difficult at first, but we’ve overcome and we’ve collaborated and created the team we are today. Coach has brought so much passion. When she’s on the sidelines or talking to us at halftime, you can see she really cares about us and the game.”

“I think we won the first half and York beat us the second half, but some balls didn’t fall their way,” Morley said. “Courtney has a long reach and (sophomore defender) Hannah Perfetti made some great blocks. Then, it was just getting the ball wide.” 

Final shots were even, 5-5. Ward stopped all five shots she faced.

The Wildcats had a 10-6 edge in corners, with eight coming in the second half. Kiklis had four saves.

“We just couldn’t put it in,” Happny said. “We both have strong midfields and that’s where the ball was in the first half and unfortunately, once we got it in their end, we couldn’t finish.

“I have a great group of girls who are used to winning, so losing in tough. I tell my girls that everyone comes for us because we’ve been strong for so many years.”

Playoff push

York (currently third behind Freeport and Fryeburg Academy in the Class B South Heals) returns home Friday to meet Yarmouth, then has a chance to avenge an earlier loss when it travels to Fryeburg Academy Tuesday of next week. Greely pays a return visit to York Oct. 4 and the Wildcats close at home versus Lake Region Oct. 10.

“We just couldn’t finish today and I’m bummed, but I’m happy we’ll see them again next week at our place,” Happny said. “It’s exciting that this year in our conference that it’s anyone’s game.”

Greely (which moved up to fourth in the region) has two more home games, Friday versus Gray-New Gloucester and Tuesday against Sacopee Valley. The Rangers then visit York and close at Freeport Oct. 10.

“We can do whatever we put our minds to,” Rog said. “We’re very excited to have this opportunity. We have to keep our heads and realize anything can happen and we have to do our part as a teammate.”

“We know we’re capable of more,” Morley said. “We’re excited to go (to York) next week and show we can play a whole game. We’ll enjoy this win, but in a couple hours, we’ll move forward. We have Poland, York and Freeport in seven days. This conference, it’s anyone’s game. As soon as you think you have something figured out, it changes.”

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

Greely sophomore Delia Knox keeps her eye on the ball.

Greely senior Courtney Rog launches a shot off a first half penalty corner for the game’s lone goal.

Rog celebrates the goal.

Greely sophomore Delia Knox splits a pair of York defenders and prepares to shoot.

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