Yarmouth’s boys’ lacrosse team celebrates with victorious junior goalie Simon Algara following its 8-5 win at Greely in Thursday’s season opener. Michael Hoffer photos / For The Forecaster

BOX SCORE

Yarmouth 8 Greely 5

Y- 3 2 0 3- 8
G- 0 2 2 1- 5

First quarter
5:36 Y Psyhogeos (McGonagle)
2:16 Y Senger (unassisted)
38.4 Y Psyhogeos (Prinn)

Second quarter
6:14 Y Fulton (unassisted)
5:43 G Bennert (unassisted)
3:54 Y Yeo (Psyhogeos)
3:12 G Kenney (unassisted)

Third quarter
10:16 G Kenney (Leggat-Barr)
31.0 G Cornwall (Leggat-Barr) (MAN-UP)

Fourth quarter
11:17 Y Fulton (Psyhogeos)
9:11 Y Psyhogeos (unassisted)
8:17 Y Psyhogeos (Fulton)
2:17 G Kennedy (Kenney) (MAN-UP)

Goals:
Y- Psyhogeos 4, Fulton 2, Senger, Yeo 1
G- Kenney 2, Bennert, Cornwall, Kennedy 1

Assists:
Y- Psyhogeos 2, Fulton, McGonagle, Prinn 1
G- Leggat-Barr 2, Kenney 1

Faceoffs (8-8)
Y- Sullivan 8 of 16
G- C. Sasseville 7 of 14, Boese 1 of 1, Turner 0 of 1

Ground balls:
Y- 38
G- 31

Turnovers:
Y- 20
G- 27

Shots:
Y- 31
G- 27

Shots on cage
Y- 23
G- 14

Saves:
Y (Algara) 9
G (Osgood) 15

CUMBERLAND—It wasn’t the high-stakes atmosphere of a state final, but you can be sure that the Greely and Yarmouth boys’ lacrosse teams felt like champions Thursday afternoon at Glenn Hutchins Field when they were able to play a countable game for the first time in nearly two years.

Those feelings quickly took a back seat to competitive fervor, as the Clippers and Rangers met for the first time since deciding the 2019 Class B state title, and as was the case on that long-ago evening, Yarmouth was able to hold on for a victory over its rival.

The Clippers got a pair of first period goals from junior Peter Psyhogeos and another from senior Colin Senger to go up, 3-0.

In the second quarter, after junior Steve Fulton extended Yarmouth’s lead, an unassisted tally from sophomore Thomas Bennert broke the ice for Greely. Sophomore Aksel Yeo put the Clippers ahead by four again, but late in the half, a goal from senior D.J. Kenney pulled the Rangers within 5-2 at the half.

Greely then made things very interesting in the third quarter, getting goals from Kenney and senior Chase Cornwall to pull within a single tally.

But Yarmouth finished the game the way it started it, with a flourish, as Psyhogeos first set up Fulton for a goal allowing the Clippers to exhale, then he scored twice more to help Yarmouth go on to an 8-5 victory.

Psyhogeos led the way with four goals and two assists, the Clippers started the season in style and best of all, lacrosse is back and early indications suggest that it will be a memorable campaign.

“This is everything for the boys to play a regular season opener against a big rival,” said Yarmouth first-year coach Jon Miller. “I didn’t have to do much to fire them up. It’s nice to knock the rust off. I’m proud of the boys. They came out and played and executed a lot of difficult things after just two weeks of practice.”

At last

When Greely and Yarmouth last saw each other, it was June 15, 2019 at Fitzpatrick Stadium and the Class B state title was at stake. The Clippers won a thriller that evening, 11-10, for their first championship in a decade.

The teams could have easily met again in the 2020 final, but it wasn’t to be as COVID-19 cancelled the whole spring sports season.

Most of the key players from the 2019 state game graduated either in 2019 or in 2020, so Thursday, on a 49-degree, overcast afternoon, a new batch of Clippers and Rangers renewed the teams’ rivalry.

Greely sought to beat Yarmouth for the second straight time in Cumberland, but it would be the Clippers doing enough to frustrate the Rangers yet again.

Greely junior goalie Spencer Osgood made the first save of the young season, denying Yarmouth sophomore Killian Marsh two minutes in, but with 5:36 to play in the first quarter, Psyhogeos took a pass from freshman Michael McGonagle and finished to put the Clippers on top to stay.

“We had a scrimmage against Falmouth last week and it didn’t go the way we wanted it to, so we used it as motivation for this one,” said Psyhogeos.

Senger, a longstick middie who scored in the state final two years ago, then stole the ball and raced in and beat Osgood for a 2-0 advantage with 2:16 left in the opening stanza.

“We were just ready,” Senger said. “We worked hard in practice and were ready to go. We just came out with energy and worked on what we’ve been practicing.”

Psyhogeos then scored for the second time with 38.4 seconds on the clock, taking a pass from junior Oliver Prinn and finishing on the doorstep for a three-goal advantage after one quarter.

Greely sophomore Lukas Cook possesses the ball as Yarmouth senior Evan Arnold defends.

After junior Kevin Kamm hit the post for the Clippers, Fulton stretched the lead to 4-0 with 6:14 left in the first half, scoring unassisted.

Greely then came to life and got on the board 31 seconds later, as Bennert beat Yarmouth junior goalie Simon Algara.

The Clippers responded, as Psyhogeos set up Yeo for a fifth goal with 3:54 on the clock, but 42 seconds later, Kenney scored unassisted and the Rangers were within three at halftime, 5-2.

Greely carried its momentum into the second half and while its defense was holding Yarmouth at bay, goals from Kenney (from senior Elias Leggat-Barr in transition with 10:16 to go) and Cornwall (from Leggat-Barr, man-up with 31 seconds remaining) pulled the Rangers within 5-4 after three periods.

Yarmouth junior Oliver Prinn looks to pass as Greely junior Lev Giffune plays defense.

But after an impassioned speech from senior Evan Arnold prior to the start of the frame, the Clippers rediscovered their offense to start the fourth quarter and reopened a comfortable lead.

“Evan was great,” Senger said. “He got us fired up and ready to go. We knew we needed some goals.”

Just 43 seconds in, Psyhogeos drew the defense and fed Fulton for a goal, ending a 16-minute, 37-second drought.

“I’ve played sports with Steve for awhile and we’re good friends,” Psyhogeos said. “I have good chemistry with him. I came around and saw him cutting and I just hit him. Coach said the rule of thumb is you need 10 goals to win a lacrosse game. He challenged the offense to put up as many goals as we could. The defense was doing their job, so we had to step up.”

With 9:11 to play, Psyhogeos returned to the scoring column with an unassisted goal.

“We got a run going,” said Senger. “That was great to see.”

Then, with 8:17 remaining, Fulton returned the favor and set up Psyhogeos for a goal and an 8-4 advantage.

“My teammates did a great job setting me up on the crease,” said Psyhogeos. “They gave me easy looks, which was great.”

“It was really just calming down, going back to the basics and taking care of the ball,” said Miller, a one-time Yarmouth standout (Class of 2004) and former assistant with the program. “We just needed to find our composure.”

Not surprisingly, Greely again refused to roll over and after going man-up, the Rangers pulled within three  with 2:17 left, as Kenney set up sophomore Matthew Kennedy for a goal.

Greely had chances to draw even closer but couldn’t do so and Yarmouth closed out its 8-5 victory.

“It feels great to be out here,” said Senger. “It was a long time without playing. We’re back and we’re hungry. We knew that they don’t like us because we got them last time. They’re a good team with good attack and midfielders. We just did what we practiced. We knew who was going left-handed, who was going right-handed. Simon was a beast between the pipes.”

“It’s great to be back out here,” Psyhogeos said. “I haven’t really played since my freshman year. It’s great to get back on a lacrosse field and play Greely. We knew Greely would come out strong because of (the 2019 state game).”

Psyhogeos factored into six of the Clippers’ eight goals, scoring four times and assisting on two others. Fulton (one assist) added a pair of goals, while Senger and Yeo had one apiece. McGonagle and Prinn also had assists.

Yarmouth won the battle of ground balls, 38-31, as Yeo led the way with five and senior faceoff man Wyatt Sullivan collected four. The Clippers out-shot the Rangers, 31-27 (23-14) on frame and got nine saves from Algara.

Greely’s offense was paced by Kenney, who had two goals and one assist. Bennert, Cornwall and Kennedy also tickled the twine, while Leggat-Barr had a pair of assists and a game-high six ground balls. The Rangers got 15 saves from Osgood and turned the ball over 27 times.

“The guys were super-excited,” said Greely coach Michael Storey. “It’s been a long two years. A lot of these guys haven’t played since middle school and it’s what you’d expect. Mental lapses on our end were the difference. Lack of experience. It’s about understanding situations. Defensively, we played well man-to-man. Offensively, we improved as the game went on as the guys got the jitters out. We moved the ball and were somewhat competitive.”

Steady growth

The Clippers and Rangers will play again May 6 in Yarmouth, but both teams have tough tests first.

Greely returns to action Wednesday of next week, when it hosts Cape Elizabeth.

“Cape’s a perennial powerhouse, so we have our work cut out for us,” Storey said. “There’s a lot of work to do, I told the guys everything that went wrong today is correctable. We’ll work on building this day by day. I have good athletes who work hard. We want to improve every time we step on the field and we’ll worry about where we are June 1st. Hopefully, by the end of the season, we’ll be where we want to be.”

Yarmouth goes to Cape Elizabeth next Friday.

“It won’t get any easier,” Senger said. “Cape’s a big one and we’ll be ready for it.”

“We just have to work on composure,” Miller said. “The guys have been away from the game. They’re all finding their feet. We’re excited to see Cape. Another rival. We have a week now to prep.”

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

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