BOX SCORE

Greely 7 Scarborough 1

S- 0 1- 1
G- 5 2- 7

First half
23:50 G Dean-Muncie (free position)
17 25 G Dean-Muncie (unassisted)
16:33 G Kelman (unassisted)
13:45 G Ferentz (unassisted)
8:14 G Ferentz (unassisted)

Second half
24:20 G Dean-Muncie (unassisted)
22:25 G Dean-Muncie (free position)
6:01 S Spooner (free position)

Goals:
S- Spooner 1
G- Dean-Muncie 4, Ferentz 2 Kelman 1

Draws (5-5)
S- Stolz 3 of 7 Spooner 2 of 3
G- S. Goldburg 5 of 9, C. Taylor 0 of 1

Ground balls:
S- 25
G- 38

Turnovers:
S- 17
G- 11

Shots:
S- 10
G- 23

Shots on cage:
S- 5
G- 19

Saves:
S (Murphy) 12
G (Perfetti) 4

CUMBERLAND—Greely’s girls’ lacrosse team has learned from playing the best and has taken its game to the next level.

Wednesday at Glen Hutchins Field, four days after a 19-goal uprising in a victory at Brunswick, the Rangers, who suffered losses earlier this spring to powerhouses Falmouth and Yarmouth, hosted resurgent Scarborough and made an even more impressive statement.

On offense and on defense.

Greely got the only goals it would need when senior Elsa Dean-Muncie scored twice early.

With the Rangers’ defense holding the prolific Red Storm offense at bay, freshman Asja Kelman added a goal and Carley Ferentz scored twice for a 5-0 halftime advantage.

Dean-Muncie then ended any remaining doubt by starting the second half the way she did the first, scoring two more goals, and while that was it for Greely’s offense, the defense finished a nearly perfect game, allowing only one blemish, a late free position goal from Scarborough senior Paige Spooner, and the Rangers closed out a most-impressive 7-1 victory.

Greely improved to 4-2 and in the process, handed the Red Storm just their second loss in eight outings.

“Playing teams like Falmouth and Yarmouth was a teachable moment,” said Rangers coach Becca Koelker. “It woke us up to the fact we could play at that level and not accepting anything else.”

Interclass battle

Scarborough and Greely both look to be factors in next month’s playoffs and both have shown glimpses of greatness.

The Red Storm started the year with four straight victories, over Gorham (14-5), Thornton Academy (12-7), Cheverus (14-4) and Bonny Eagle (14-3). Then, after dropping a close 8-7 home decision to Massabesic, Scarborough bounced back and knocked off visiting Portland (13-4) and Westbrook (16-0).

The Rangers, meanwhile, started with decisive wins at North Yarmouth Academy (15-6) and at home over Gray-New Gloucester (21-2), then lost at two-time reigning Class A state champion Falmouth, 14-4, and at Yarmouth (13-6), before bouncing back with a vengeance Saturday with a 19-1 win at Brunswick.

“We learned a lot from those games,” said Greely senior defender Abby Taylor. “We had fun and we played hard and we learned a lot.”

“Beating Brunswick was cathartic,” said Koelker.

The teams played two years ago, in Scarborough, with Greely eking out an 11-10 victory.

Wednesday, on a cloudy and breezy evening, with temperatures in the high 50s, Scarborough looked to beat Greely for the first time since April 28, 2009 (15-7 at home), but the Rangers instead beat the Red Storm for the third year in a row.

With surprising ease.

Senior Sam Goldburg won the opening draw and Greely immediately set the tone as Dean-Muncie earned a free position and beat Scarborough senior Kathleen Murphy for a 1-0 lead just 70 seconds into the game.

The Red Storm had a great look to tie it with 18:14 left in the first half, but junior Darby Stolz’s shot rang off the post.

Then, at the other end, the Rangers doubled their lead when Dean-Muncie scored unassisted with 17:25 remaining.

“I think it was just getting in a mindset of playing our game,” said Dean-Muncie. “It doesn’t matter who we go up against but focusing on what we can control and how we’re playing. Our offensive coach (Carrie Bush) has worked with us a lot.”

“Elsa controlled play down there,” said Koelker. “She’s been working on her leadership and being vocal out there.”

After Murphy denied Goldburg on a free position, Greely went up by three, as Kelman scooped up a loose ball after a Scarborough turnover, raced in and scored unassisted with 16:33 on the clock.

With 13:45 to go, Ferentz finished for the first time, after a nice move and the lead was 4-0 and Red Storm coach Emily Field called timeout.

It didn’t help, at least not in the sense that it helped Scarborough’s offense get going.

Stolz did try to get the Red Storm on the board, but Rangers senior goalie Hannah Perfetti, playing her first full game all season since returning from injury, made the save.

“Hannah’s older and has experience and that’s very helpful,” Dean-Muncie said.

“We missed Hannah,” Taylor said. “She’s just outstanding. She’s one of a kind. She’s a team player and she helps out in every aspect. We’re so happy to have her back.”

Then, with 8:14 left before halftime, Ferentz scored for the second time, on a rebound.

Dean-Muncie hoped to extend the lead even further, but Murphy made the save and Greely took a 5-0 advantage to the break.

“All week we worked on coming out hard in practice, so we could start the game hard and that’s exactly what we did,” Koelker said. “We set the tone early and we got possession and we could dictate the pace for the rest of the game.”

In the first half, the Rangers forced 10 turnovers and enjoyed an 11-4 advantage in shots.

Greely, more specifically Dean-Muncie, started even stronger in the second half, as after a Scarborough turnover, she scored unassisted 40 seconds in.

Then, with 22:25 to go, Dean-Muncie scored her final goal, on a free position, to extend the lead to 7-0.

“We’ve started to click working as a team, which I think is so important,” Dean-Muncie said. “My teammates opened it up for me.”

Murphy prevented the score from getting worse, as she saved shots by Ferentz and Goldburg.

It took nearly 40 minutes before the Red Storm finally tickled the twine, as with 6:01 to play, Spooner scored on a free position.

That’s all the offense Scarborough could muster, however, and the Rangers were able to run out the clock on their 7-1 victory.

“I know in practice we’ve been working really hard,” Dean-Muncie said. “The coaches have given us a lot of specific feedback and things to work on. We have such a young team. The girls are like sponges and they learn quickly. We only have six returning varsity players. We had to really learn how to work with each other and know each others’ strengths.”

Dean-Muncie sparked Greely’s offense with four goals.

Ferentz added two goals and Kelman had one.

Perfetti made four saves in her return and didn’t have to face many shots because of a stellar defensive effort.

“We’ve worked hard on our clear and it looked great today and we work so hard on our doubles,” said Taylor. “That’s something we struggled with against Falmouth and Yarmouth. We’ve worked so hard on communication. Our talking has gone up, as well as our trust in each other, which is huge.”

“I’m so proud of them,” Koelker said. “The best defense is when your attack has the ball. Our attack did a really good job just holding possession. We got ground balls and didn’t give them second chances, which is improvement from a few days ago.”

The Rangers finished with a 38-25 advantage in ground balls (sophomore Allison Read had a game-high six, while Dean-Muncie, Kelman and sophomore Charlotte Taylor all collected five), out-shot the Red Storm, 23-10 (19-5 on frame), and only turned the ball over 11 times.

Scarborough’s offense consisted only of Spooner’s one goal.

Murphy made 12 saves.

Junior Maya Sellinger had a team-high five ground balls.

The Red Storm turned the ball over 17 times.

“I don’t attribute it to playing on the grass necessarily,” Field said. “We obviously didn’t bring our ‘A’ game today, to take nothing from Greely. They played high-pressure defense and they had good crashes on us. Our defense held their own today. They did a nice job. We’ve worked hard in practice on defending drives and they showed that practice paid off. We just struggled on offense.”

Closing stretch

Greely and Scarborough are now in the second half of the regular season schedule and have time to continue to improve to be at optimal strength when the playoffs begin early next month.

The Red Storm have some time to lick their wounds, as they’re idle until Tuesday of next week when South Portland pays a visit. Scarborough then finishes on the road, at Windham, Berwick Academy and Falmouth.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Field said. “We have to talk about what it’s like to play from behind. We’ve started off a goal down before, but we haven’t dug a hole like that before. We’re fully capable. We just have to figure out what it takes to get us there.”

The Rangers, meanwhile, have upcoming trips to Lake Region and York, then close with four straight at home, versus Gorham, Yarmouth, Freeport and Cape Elizabeth.

“At this point of the season, we’ve gotten really good at working as a team, which is so important,” Dean-Muncie said.

“We have plenty of season left, but we have to keep our heads up,” Abby Taylor said. “We’ve played to other teams’ level and we have to start playing our game every game and that’s how we move forward.”

“We have a lot of big games coming up and tough opponents,” Koelker added. “We’ve talked all season about the end-game. The playoffs are an open tournament and we want to improve every day. It doesn’t get any easier but that’s how we love it. We want the tough games.”

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

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