CUMBERLAND—Nathaniel Dudek subbed in at the right time.

Schuyler Wetmore dove at the right time.

And as a result, Mike Andreasen was pleasantly surprised with how his Greely Rangers’ game versus defending Class C state champion Waynflete ended up.

Triumphantly.

In an interclass showdown of two of the best teams in Southern Maine, neither squad could break through until late in the first half, when the Rangers earned a corner kick and after Dudek, a junior, came on to the field, the ensuing kick landed at his feet and he buried it for a 1-0 halftime lead.

Greely wouldn’t score again, but it wouldn’t need to, as Wetmore, a senior, made multiple highlight reel saves to preserve the lead and the Rangers held on for a 1-0 victory.

Greely improved to 3-1-1, handed the Flyers their first loss in 22 games and dropped Waynflete to 3-1 in the process.

“Waynflete’s that good,” Andreasen said. “They could play in the Class B tournament and hold their own. They’re at a point we’re they’re there regularly. Look what they’ve done in recent years. I don’t want to use the word surprised, but I’m happy to beat them.”

Litmus test

Waynflete started the 2019 campaign with wins over host York (2-0), at home over Sacopee Valley (8-0) and Thursday, a come-from-behind 3-2 triumph at Traip Academy.

Greely edged visiting Cape Elizabeth (3-2) to start, then settled for a 2-2 home draw versus defending Class B South champion Freeport. After a 4-0 loss at Yarmouth, the Rangers handled host Fryeburg Academy Thursday, 5-1.

The teams don’t meet often, but last fall, they squared off in Portland and the Flyers eked out a 1-0 victory en route to the title.

Saturday, on a gorgeous 72 degree evening, Greely returned the favor.

Waynflete had the first good look, but junior Joey Ansel-Mullen shot high.

After senior Andy Moore and junior Lucas Goettel each missed high for the Rangers, an Ansel-Mullen free kick from just outside the box was headed out of harm’s way.

In the 17th minute, a rush by Flyers’ junior Pat Shaw was broken up in the box by Greely junior Chris Williams.

Williams then headed a corner kick out of harm’s way.

With 6:27 left in the half, Waynflete nearly went on top, as sophomore Samir Sayed got his head on the ball on the doorstep, but Wetmore made the save and Sayed’s rebound went over the crossbar.

After Wetmore denied Ansel-Mullen, the Rangers returned to the attack and in the 38th minute, were rewarded.

With 1:43 to go, Greely earned a corner kick, but before taking it, Dudek, who had waited on the sideline for several minutes, was finally allowed to sub in.

And that proved fateful.

On the corner kick, the serve from senior Silas Cunningham deflected right to Dudek, who beat Flyers’ senior goalkeeper Aidan Carlisle for a 1-0 lead.

“I got subbed in and I had to switch with my partner quickly,” Dudek said. “That didn’t give them time to set up and focus on my position. I just ran and swerved and the ball was right there.”

“It was Nathaniel’s first shot,” Andreasen said. “We tell kids who don’t play a lot to make things happen. He made something happen. He reported and two or three times the ball went out, but he didnt get in. We finally got him in there and I don’t think he was in five seconds and he scored.”

First half shots were even, 3-3, and the Flyers had a 4-3 edge in corner kicks, but Greely clung to the lead at the half.

The score remained 1-0 in the second half, but each team had their chances.

After Waynflete senior Oliver Burdick shot high early in the second half, Moore twice hit the post for the Rangers and Goettel sent a header just wide.

After Carlisle dove to rob Greely senior Ethan Fraser, then denied Goettel, the Flyers returned to the attack looking to draw even.

With 11:37 on the clock, senior Ian McClure-Chute had a long shot saved by Wetmore.

Wetmore then put on a show with 11:14 remaining, diving to deny Sayed.

Burdick then appeared to break free with 9:36 on the clock, but Wetmore cut off the angle and robbed him point blank.

“I was ready for it,” Wetmore said. “I was fired up.”

“It feels good to shut them down,” Dudek said. “Our defense has a lot of great players and Schuyler did really well today.”

“Schuyler looked really good and the defense came together,” Andreasen added.

After Burdick had another shot saved, the Rangers hit the post again, this time Goettel doing the honors, and the Flyers had one final chance, but Burdick’s feed to Shaw was broken up at the last second, allowing Greely to hold on, 1-0.

“We had a couple humbling games, so it’s nice to come out and get a win against a top team,” said Wetmore (eight saves).

Waynflete got six saves from Carlisle and held an 8-7 edge in shots, but couldn’t keep its winning ways going.

“I think it was a great high school game,” Flyers coach Brandon Salway said. “We played really well. We did everything but finish. I like how we were competitive right to the very last second. The guys are disappointed with the streak coming to an end. It’s our first loss in awhile (since the 2017 Class C South semifinals), so it stings a little bit, but I think our long-term goals are still well within reach and I actually feel better about things after tonight. The group I have right now likes to play in these games and we feel like we’re right there with these teams. These games get us tournament tested. We had to play from behind and I thought we were resilient.”

Back to business

Waynflete travels to St. Dom’s Tuesday, then has another key test at home versus Cape Elizabeth Thursday.

“We have to tighten things up on crosses,” Salway said. We need to do a better job marking. St. Dom’s is another away game, then Cape is another good test. We look forward to it.”

Greely stays home to meet Gray-New Gloucester Tuesday.

“Gray-New Gloucester is much improved,” Andreasen said. “That will be good for us.”

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

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