YARMOUTH—Prior to Tuesday evening’s home game against Greely, Yarmouth’s boys’ soccer team celebrated longtime coach Mike Hagerty’s 300th victory with the program, which came Saturday at York.

Then, the Clippers went out and made it 301, but it didn’t come easily.

Yarmouth, which hadn’t been sternly tested in its first three outings, not only conceded a goal for the first time all year, but actually fell behind, when junior Thomas Bennert scored for the Rangers in the 13th minute.

That punch in the mouth awakened the Clippers, who responded midway through the first half, when junior Liam Hickey served a long free kick into the box, where junior Stevie Walsh was waiting to head it home.

Yarmouth had several great looks later in the half, but Greely senior goalkeeper Luca Duina made clutch saves and the game went to the half deadlocked, 1-1.

After Clippers senior goalkeeper Cole Snyder preserved the tie with a diving save, his team got the go-ahead goal with 13:12 remaining, as junior Truman Peters scored in traffic, and Yarmouth’s defense slammed the door and closed out a 2-1 victory.

The Clippers won their fourth straight game and in the process, dropped the Rangers to 2-2.

“We needed this test,” said Hagerty. “We get everyone’s best shot. It was a great game to be in. It feels like we get close games from Greely since forever.”

Perfect start

Yarmouth has very much lived up to billing as the favorite in Class B so far this fall, opening by blanking host Cape Elizabeth (2-0), then shutting out visiting Freeport (4-0) and host York (4-0), giving Hagerty his landmark victory.

Yarmouth captains Steve Fulton (10), Oliver Prinn (14), Aiden Kamm (20) and Jared Conant and assistant coach Dale Wing join Mike Hagerty, right, as Hagerty is honored prior to Tuesday’s game for reaching the 300-victory plateau with the program. Hoffer photos.

Greely, meanwhile, rolled at Poland in its first game (10-0), then lost at Freeport (2-1) before holding off visiting Cape Elizabeth Saturday, 2-1.

The Clippers took both meetings a year ago, 4-0 at home and 3-2 in Cumberland, as it improved to 16-0-1 in the past 17 games in the series (see below, for previous results).

Tuesday, on a comfortable (62 degrees at the start) and breezy evening,  the Rangers sought their first win over Yarmouth since Sept. 9, 2014 (1-0 at Yarmouth), but despite a valiant effort in front of a large and boisterous crowd, Greely couldn’t hold an early lead, as the Clippers did barely enough to triumph again.

Greely senior Isaac Dusch plays the ball as Yarmouth sophomore Jonny Fulton defends.

Yarmouth had the first good look, in the ninth minute, but after taking a pass from senior Aiden Kamm, Peters sent a left-footed shot just wide.

A minute later, Kamm fought through the defense and had a look, but Duina made the save.

Greely then transitioned to offense and with 27:57 left in the first half, Bennert won the ball in the middle, spun and fired a shot. Clippers senior goalkeeper Zhi Cowles slipped and couldn’t get back in time to respond and the ball tickled the twine to put the Rangers ahead, 1-0.

“I think (Bennert) is underrated in our conference,” Hagerty said. “He’s very good, he’s strong and athletic. That was a nice finish. We gave him too much room and he made us pay.”

“My first goal was to beat (Yarmouth), my second goal was to play with them and my third goal was to score a goal because nobody had,” said longtime Greely coach Mike Andreasen. “Their keeper did slip, but it was a nice goal. It gave us confidence.”

That was the good news for Greely.

The bad news is that no one responds to a deficit like Yarmouth.

With 19:32 remaining before halftime, Hickey took a free kick from just inside the midfield stripe and sent it into the box where Walsh was waiting to head it perfectly past Duina to tie the score, 1-1.

“(Greely’s) goal made us realize we had to keep grinding and work harder,” Hickey said. “That was a good goal, but we kept fighting. Stevie made a great run. He’s great at heading the ball. I knew if I found him, he’d get it in the back of the net.”

“This was great for us to go down, 1-0,” Hagerty said. “Liam played well today. We don’t often like to go long, but he serves a beautiful long ball, whether it’s off his foot or off his throw.”

“Sometimes, you don’t want to score too early against Yarmouth,” Andreasen said. “When they’re down, nobody plays better or harder than they do.”

The rest of the first half saw the Clippers push hard for the lead, but ultimately be frustrated.

First, off a Hickey throw, senior Sutter Augur got his head on the ball, but Duina made the save.

With 7:15 to go before halftime, Duina robbed senior Steve Fulton point blank and sophomore Will Caruso sent the rebound just high.

A minute later, Duina had to dive to save a Augur header.

Fulton had another look, but he shot high and the game went to the half still even, 1-1.

Yarmouth had a 6-1 edge in first half shots on frame, but Duina’s five saves kept the score tied.

“We got the goal back and I thought we could have been up by a couple at halftime, but we need to be in those situations where, how do we deal when we’re frustrated because that’s how we grow,” Hagerty said. “We had five shots inside the six (yard line) in the first half and we usually get two of those, if not three. If we had, maybe the game changes a bit, but Greely worked hard and played well tonight.”

The Rangers had the first golden opportunity of the second half, as with 32:30 remaining, junior Ethan Njitoh took a pass from senior Caleb Knox on a short corner, served the ball in and Bennert headed it toward the near post, but Snyder, who entered the game at the start of the second half, dove to make a sensational save.

With 29:36 left, Walsh threatened to score his second goal, but he missed just wide with his left foot.

A minute later, at the other end, Bennert served a ball to Njitoh, who appeared to have a great look, but his shot was blocked by senior back Kevin Kamm.

Yarmouth went back on the attack, but sophomore Adam McLaughlin twice missed high, Fulton was denied by Duina and Augur missed wide.

After Peters had a shot blocked in the box, he would get another chance and this time, deliver.

With 13:12 on the clock, Hickey threw the ball in from the right side and it landed in the box, where Fulton and a Greely defender converged on it. Fulton managed to nudge it ahead to Peters, who found himself one-on-one with Duina with a lot of net to shoot at and Peters buried the shot for a 2-1 lead.

“Steve flicked it on to me and it was just kind of bouncing and I hit it on goal,” Peters said. “Steve did all the work. It felt great to score that goal.”

“I saw someone flick it back and there was a lot of chaos in the box and (Truman) put it in,” Hickey said.

“We look for Steve and Sutter, because they’re both excellent flickers,” Hagerty added. “What we haven’t done enough this year is get guys behind them, but Truman found that. He’s got a nose for it.”

Greely was stunned.

“They beat us on a goal where they were a little tougher in the box on that play,” said Andreasen.

Greely tried to respond and earned a corner kick with 7 minutes to go, but couldn’t convert.

The Clippers’ defense didn’t allow another shot and Yarmouth was able to close out its 2-1 victory.

Yarmouth celebrates at the final horn.

“Their striker’s really good, a fast, good player and the same with Tommy,” said Hickey. “We dropped Steve Fulton for the last 10 minutes and he helped us clear balls out and maintain the lead.”

“This was a great test for us to test our skills against another great program,” said Peters. “Greely played their hearts out. They’re a team to watch out for. Greely came out firing and surprised us a bit. We had opportunities we couldn’t finish. Their goalie played a great game. It was a great environment tonight.”

“Greely’s better than Mike might be saying,” Hagerty added. “They’re athletic. They might not be as technical as he’d like, but they pressure the ball. I was happy with a lot of what we did, but boy, do we have a lot of things we need to tighten up. Our gaps between our lines, remembering responsibilities. We over-shifted at the end and our back post was naked and they could have tied it up. They put us under pressure and did a nice job.”

Yarmouth enjoyed a 9-3 edge in shots and got a pair of saves from Snyder.

The Rangers got seven saves from Duina.

Each team took six corner kicks.

“We were a team without an identity, so tonight was good,” Andreasen said. “Once they went ahead, we came alive and had some chances. I like where we are. We have tough kids. We’re not the most technical team, but we make up for it with fight. I was just encouraged with how we played tonight.”

It’s only September

The teams will meet again on Oct. 15 in Cumberland, but each team will face many tests in the meantime.

Greely looks to bounce back Friday at home versus Lake Region. Next week, the Rangers host Sacopee Valley and go to Gray-New Gloucester.

“We play (Yarmouth) again at our place and we’ll see what happens on our grass.” Andreasen said. “Those teams (we play next) don’t play the speed Yarmouth does. We can work on some things and get healthy. We’re just hoping to get better every day.”

Yarmouth, meanwhile, hopes to stay perfect at North Yarmouth Academy Thursday, then returns home Saturday to meet Poland.

“I think we just need to keep practicing,” Hickey said. “This was a great game to get us ready for the rest of the season.”

“We’ve got to keep grinding and not let opponents get in our head,” Peters said.

“Over (at Greely), on grass, it’ll be a different game,” Hagerty added. “We’ll have to clean some things up with how we play for the entire 80 minutes.

“These next few games will give us a chance to figure out our depth. Our practices have been competitive. There’s not a lot of separation between our 10th field player and 18th field player. We want kids on the bench to have more chances to play.

“We’ll learn from this.”

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

Recent Greely-Yarmouth results

2020
@ Yarmouth 4 Greely 0
Yarmouth 3 @ Greely 2

2019
@ Yarmouth 4 Greely 0
@ Greely 1 Yarmouth 1 (tie)
Class B South Final
Yarmouth 5 Greely 1

2018
Yarmouth 4 @ Greely 1
@ Yarmouth 2 Greely 1

2017
Yarmouth 5 @ Greely 3
@ Yarmouth 5 Greely 0

2016
Yarmouth 4 @ Greely 1
@ Yarmouth 2 Greely 1
Class B South semifinals
@ Yarmouth 3 Greely 2 (OT)

2015
Yarmouth 2 @ Greely 0
@ Yarmouth 1 Greely 1 (tie)
Class B South semifinals
@ Yarmouth 3 Greely 1

2014
Greely 1 @ Yarmouth 0
Yarmouth 1 @ Greely 0
Class B South Final
@ Yarmouth 4 Greely 2

2013
@ Greely 2 Yarmouth 2 (tie)
@ Yarmouth 4 Greely 1
Western B Final
Greely 2 @ Yarmouth 1

2012
Yarmouth 1 @ Greely 0
Greely 2 @ Yarmouth 0

2011
@ Yarmouth 2 Greely 0
Yarmouth 2 @ Greely 1

2010
Yarmouth 4 @ Greely 3
@ Yarmouth 3 Greely 0

2009
@ Yarmouth 3 Greely 0
Yarmouth 4 @ Greely 0

2008
Yarmouth 1 @ Greely 0
@ Yarmouth 2 Greely 1

2007
@ Yarmouth 1 Greely 0
@ Greely 1 Yarmouth 0

2006
@ Yarmouth 0 Greely 0 (tie)
@ Greely 2 Yarmouth 1 (2 OT)

2005
@ Greely 1 Yarmouth 1 (tie)
Greely 1 @ Yarmouth 0

2004
Yarmouth 3 @ Greely 1
Greely 1 @ Yarmouth 0

2003
@ Yarmouth 1 Greely 1 (tie)
@ Greely 3 Yarmouth 3 (tie)

2002
Greely 2 @ Yarmouth 0
@ Greely 2 Yarmouth 1

2001
@ Greely 2 Yarmouth 0
Greely 2 @ Yarmouth 1

Comments are not available on this story.