YARMOUTH—Standing tall or diving through the air, Yarmouth junior goalie Cassie Walsh couldn’t be beaten Wednesday night.

Facing an inspired Greely team on a drizzly evening at Yarmouth’s turf field, Walsh was given a 1-0 lead just two minutes into the game when senior Abby Hill finished on one of the Clippers’ patented transition runs, but the rest of the night belonged to her.

First, Walsh made a couple big saves to preserve Yarmouth’s lead into the half.

Then, in the second half, Walsh came up huge time and again, diving to the ground on multiple occasions to keep the ball out of the cage and the Clippers clung to a slim lead.

Then, with 9:34 remaining, junior Cat Jordan scored for some breathing room and after a few more anxious moments, which saw Walsh continue to dazzle, Yarmouth was able to close out a 2-0 victory.

The Clippers improved to 5-3 and in the process, dropped the Rangers to 2-5.

“I’m trying not to think about what I’m doing and just try to do it,” said Walsh, who made 10 saves, almost all of them of the highlight reel variety. “That worked out this game. It was really tough to hold them off.”

Saving the day

The Clippers, under new coach Molly Saunders, began their season with a 4-1 win at Cape Elizabeth, then lost at Falmouth (2-1), beat visiting South Portland (5-2), lost at home to Freeport, 2-1, on a goal just before the end of regulation, then twice blanked Gray-New Gloucester, 5-0, in Gray and 6-0 at home, before falling, 5-0, in a game much closer than the final score, last Wednesday at Freeport.

Greely, which also has a new coach this year in Burgess LePage, opened with home wins over Cape Elizabeth (3-1) and Gray-New Gloucester (5-1), then lost at home to Mt. Ararat (1-0), at Freeport (2-1), at home to Scarborough (5-0) and Saturday at Cheverus (10-0).

The teams were originally supposed to play Oct. 7, then Oct. 13, then Monday, but Mother Nature had other ideas each time.

Last year, the teams split, as the Clippers won at Greely (2-1) and the Rangers returned the favor in Yarmouth (2-0).

Wednesday, on a chilly (39 degrees) and drizzly evening, there was little separation between the teams, but while the Clippers managed to twice solve Greely goalie Savanna Harvey, who had a terrific evening herself, the Rangers just couldn’t get the ball past Walsh.

Greely got possession early and threatened to score, but couldn’t get off a shot and Yarmouth won possession and in the blink of an eye, scored to take the lead.

With 12:57 left in the 15-minute first quarter, after the Clippers worked the ball up to senior Hannah Swift, Swift fired it into the circle where Hill was waiting to send it past Harvey for a 1-0 lead.

“We just came out really hungry and we all really wanted that goal,” Hill said. “I know Savanna’s a really good goalie, but sometimes just lingering down there, you can get shots off. I just got the opportunity, so I took it. Our coach has had us practice transitions all season. We’ve been able to showcase those. Those transfers allow you to move the ball faster and get down the field which is great for the team.”

“We still had some nice fast breaks and nice passing sequences,” said Saunders. “A lot of give-and-go’s. It was great to see the girls work together.”

Hill nearly doubled the lead a minute later, but hit the post.

Greely then transitioned to offense and looked to draw even, but Ellie Newton missed wide and Walsh made her first save, sliding to rob Anna Dougan.

Walsh got some help from senior defender Olivia Bailey as well, who twice blocked shots from Dougan.

Each team had chances to score the second quarter, but couldn’t do so.

First senior Izabeth Cox-Faxon broke up a rush by Greely’s Delia Knox. The Clippers then cleared a Rangers’ penalty corner.

After Walsh raced out to break up a rush by Dougan, Knox missed just wide on a corner, while at the other end, after a nice transition rush, Swift was robbed by Harvey, keeping the score 1-0 at the break.

Yarmouth started the second half fast as well, but Harvey turned aside a shot by Jordan and Rangers defender Meredith Brubaker swept away a shot by junior Ari Rustad before Harvey saved a rebound bid from Jordan.

Hill then sent another shot off the post and an ensuing rebound scrum saw Harvey make multiple saves to keep Greely within one.

Later in the third quarter, the Rangers went back on the attack, but Walsh dove to deny a shot from Hannah Perfetti off a penalty corner, then dove again to rob Newton.

“I had to calm down,” Walsh said. “I couldn’t get too excited because that’s when things get iffy.”

Early in the fourth period, Greely again had looks to draw even, but Walsh saved shots by Dougan and Knox.

“(Cassie) played an incredible game and what was so cool about Yarmouth was how they supported her after every save,” said LePage.

Then, with 9:34 to go, again in transition, the Clippers got some breathing room.

This time, the goal was set up by a Hill rush. Hill got the ball to Swift and Swift sent it in front where Jordan was waiting to finish for a 2-0 lead.

“That was a relief,” Hill said. “We wanted to take a breath and that second goal allowed us to keep our composure.”

The rest of the contest was a Walsh clinic, as she robbed Newton, stopped a shot from Perfetti off a penalty corner, saved a bid from Marisa Crowley and a rebound shot from Perfetti, then dove to rob Knox off a corner to put the finishing touches on Yarmouth’s 2-0 victory.

“I needed to just play until the final second,” Walsh said. “I still think back to the Freeport game. I had to make sure it wouldn’t end the way that one ended. It’s really nice to play this year. Getting back into the swing of things and play with my teammates has been really awesome.”

“Cassie is such an incredible goalie,” Hill said. “I was so proud of her today. She showed off all her skills this game. She still has another great year ahead of her.”

“Cassie saved us the game,” Saunders added. “She had her best night of the year right there. She was amazing. We’ve been working in practice in giving her the confidence to (dive) and attack the ball and she did that every time the ball came near her and that was great.”

Greely had a 10-8 edge in shots, got six saves from Harvey and took six corners to Yarmouth’s two, but it wasn’t enough to prevail.

“We played well,” said LePage. “We have a lot of players who play on turf every offseason, so we like to play on turf. We’re just practicing trying to have a hunger in the goal and put the ball in. You definitely saw that more today, we just didn’t get it in. Our effort was super-encouraging. The girls knew Yarmouth’s always a great team. They went in knowing it was going to be a hard-fought game and it was.”

Encore

The teams play again Monday in Cumberland.

First, Greely hopes to snap its skid Friday at Scarborough. The Rangers finish their season Wednesday of next week at St. Dom’s.

“We’re pumped to see Scarborough again on the turf and looking ahead to Monday, we just need to be able to close,” LePage said. “We’re excited to play them again.”

Yarmouth, meanwhile, is home for the final time Friday against Mt. Ararat before closing at Greely Monday.

“I’m just really thankful that we have an opportunity to play,” said Hill. “I know some other schools don’t have that opportunity. Even though we’re not playing for a championship, we’re playing from our hearts. We all love the game and it’s great to come out and play one last year with my team.”

“I’m very happy with how things have gone,” Saunders said. “We play Greely again Monday and we’re excited to play them again.

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

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