BOX SCORE

Greely 13 York 7

Y- 2 5- 7
G- 7 6- 13

First half
22:53 G Kelman (unassisted)
20:51 Y R. Pavuk (Drake)
15:29 G Dennen (unassisted)
13:22 G Dennen (Taylor)
11:03 G Ferentz (unassisted)
8:05 G Williams (unassisted)
5:14 G Kelman (unassisted)
1:47 Y R. Pavuk (C. Pavuk)
8.6 G Taylor (free position)

Second half
23:03 G Dennen (unassisted)
15:54 G Williams (unassisted)
14:10 G Williams (free position)
13:37 G Ferentz (Williams)
10:08 Y C. Pavuk (unassisted)
7:11 Y R. Pavuk (Drake)
6:02 G Taylor (Ferentz)
5:39 Y R. Pavuk (C. Pavuk)
5:08 Y Doughty (R. Pavuk)
3:05 Y Doughty (unassisted)
1:52 G Dennen (Ferentz)

Goals:
Y- R. Pavuk 4, Doughty 2, C. Pavuk 1
G- Dennen 4, Williams 3, Ferentz, Kelman, Taylor 2

Assists:
Y- Drake, C. Pavuk 2, R. Pavuk 1
G- Ferentz 2, Taylor, Williams 1

Draws (York, 11-10)
Y- C. Pavuk 11 of 19, R. Pavuk 0 of 2
G- Williams 10 of 19, Taylor 0 of 2

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Ground balls:
Y- 28
G- 36

Turnovers:
Y- 22
G- 19

Shots:
Y- 20
G- 29

Shots on cage:
Y- 14
G- 21

Saves:
Y (Spenlinhauer) 8
G (Babcock) 7

PORTLAND—Greely’s girls’ lacrosse team is finally atop the Class B world.

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And you might as well get used to it, because the Rangers’ run of dominance is just beginning.

Saturday evening at Fitzpatrick Stadium, second-ranked Greely made surprisingly quick work of a fourth-seeded York squad which beat the Rangers back in the season opener.

But Greely’s story isn’t about where it started, but where it finished.

Without peer.

The Rangers snapped a 1-1 tie with five straight goals in the first half to seize control, as junior Lauren Dennen sparked the run with a couple scores.

Greely held a 7-2 lead at the half and never let the dangerous Wildcats get back in it.

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Dennen scored to open the second half, then sophomore Eva Williams added a pair of goals and the Rangers’ lone senior, Carley Ferentz, scored as well to essentially salt it away.

York never got closer than five goals the rest of the way and one final Dennen goal slammed the door and propelled Greely to a 13-7 victory.

Dennen scored four times to pace a balanced attack and the Rangers completed the best season in program history at 13-2, won their first title in the Maine Principals’ Association-sanctioned era and their second ever and in the process, ended the Wildcats’ season at 10-5.

“I can’t even tell you what it means,” said Greely coach and one-time Rangers standout player Becca Koelker. “It’s a mental shift and a confidence boost. We’ve come so close and now we have the mental hurdle that we can do it. I’m so excited for these guys.”

New blood

Greely broke through and got to the Class B state final last spring for the first time in 21 years, but fell short against a terrific Yarmouth squad, 13-8.

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From the ashes of that setback, this year’s championship took flight.

“Last year motivated us,” Williams said. “We knew right away we wanted to win the next year. We had our eye on the trophy.”

“As soon as that game ended, the girls got hungry to get back here and finish,” Koelker said. “They were motivated and focused the whole year.”

This season, after the Clippers and Cape Elizabeth both moved up to Class A, the door was open for the Rangers to take that final step and they haven’t disappointed.

Greely lost its opener, then won 10 of its 11 regular season games, beating Yarmouth for the first time since 2005 along the way, and finished second in Class B.

The Rangers blanked No. 10 Mt. Blue (23-0) in the state quarterfinals, then shook off a slow start to handle No. 3 Cony, 16-3, in Wednesday’s semifinals.

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York, meanwhile, has enjoyed the best season in program history. The Wildcats lost only to Class A powers Cape Elizabeth, Massabesic and Yarmouth and split with Greely in the regular season and wound up third in Class B.

York’s playoff run included victories over No. 5 Mt. Ararat (16-5) in the quarterfinals and eighth-seeded Brunswick (18-10) in Wednesday’s semifinals.

The teams had met three previous times in the playoffs, with the Rangers winning in the 2012 Western B quarterfinals (12-10) and the 2016 Class B South quarterfinals (11-10) and the Wildcats eking out a 7-6 victory in the 2014 Western B quarterfinals.

Saturday was York’s first-ever state final, but it was Greely’s fifth.

The Rangers won their lone prior championship in 1996, taking the Division II title, 9-7, over Cape Elizabeth. Greely lost the following year to Waynflete (7-5), then, after the MPA began sanctioning girls’ lacrosse in 1998, dropped a 5-4 decision to Bonny Eagle in 2000 before losing to Yarmouth last season. In the 2000 game, the Rangers featured a player named Becca Lambertson, who, as Becca Koelker, has remained close to the program and has been Greely’s coach since 2013.

Way back on April 23, in the regular season opener, the host Wildcats knocked off the Rangers in the opener, 16-12, as senior Ashley LaPierre scored five goals and seniors Clara Pavuk and Rose Pavuk each added four. Greely got a measure of revenge May 27 at home, prevailing, 13-10, behind five goals from Ferentz.

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Saturday, on an unseasonably chilly evening (61 degrees), in the final game of the spring sports season and the 2021-22 school year, which started 35 minutes late due to a medical emergency in the stands prior to the start, the Rangers never trailed and gradually pulled away to achieve their date with destiny.

Greely struck first, as sophomore Asja Kelman scored unassisted just over two minutes in.

York answered with 20:51 left in the first half, as sophomore Cary Drake set up Rose Pavuk for a shot which Rangers junior goalie Addyson Babcock couldn’t stop.

Wildcats sophomore goalie Tia Spenlinhauer kept the game tied by denying Ferentz and Dennen, but with 15:29 to go, Dennen scored unassisted to give Greely the lead for good.

Senior Alexis Bardwell tried to pull York even, but Babcock made the save, then Dennen scored a second goal, from junior Charlotte Taylor, to make it 3-1 with 13:22 on the clock.

“We got the momentum off those two goals,” said Dennen.

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The Rangers then got unassisted goals from Ferentz with 11:03 to go and Williams with 8:05 remaining and Kelman scored for the second time, unassisted after a turnover with 5:14 on the clock, Greely had a comfortable 6-1 advantage.

The Wildcats finally snapped a 19 minute, 4 second drought when Rose Pavuk scored for the second time, set up by her sister with 1:47 left, but with just 8.6 seconds showing, Taylor converted a free position shot and the Rangers took a comfortable 7-2 lead to halftime.

In the first half, Greely doubled up York in shots and converted enough of them to pull ahead.

The Rangers kept the pressure on and pulled away in the second half.

Dennen scored her third goal on a crease roll with 23:03 to play.

Williams then scored unassisted with 15:54 to go and added a free position goal with 14:10 on the clock before setting up Ferentz to push the lead to 11-2 with 13:37 remaining.

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Clara Pavuk, who entered the game needing one goal to reach the 100 plateau for her career, finally got there with 10:08 to play, scoring off a free position.

Clara Pavuk then set up Rose Pavuk with 7:11 remaining, but Ferentz set up Taylor to answer with 6:02 left.

The Wildcats then made one final, desperate push, as Clara Pavuk set up Rose Pavuk for a goal with 5:39 remaining, Rose Pavuk assisted sophomore Annastasia Doughty 31 seconds later and with 3:05 to go, Doughty scored on a rebound to cut the deficit to 12-7.

Greely shut the door from there, however, not allowing another shot, and with 1:52 left, Ferentz set up Dennen for the dagger goal.

The Rangers ran out the clock from there and at 8:02 p.m., the 13-7 score was official and the celebration began.

“It’s so exciting,” Dennen said. “It’s the most incredible feeling. None of us have felt this before. I credit everyone on the team. I think it was a new re-set this year. We fostered an incredible team environment. Our first game against York was very early in the season and we were getting in the groove. We’ve grown so much since then. Now, we’re a whole new team. We know how to play our game. We trusted our preparation.”

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“It really means everything,” said Ferentz, the team’s only senior. “I’ve always been the lone member of my class. I really love this team and we have really great chemistry. They’re all like my little sisters. Knowing that Yarmouth was out of Class B definitely opened things up. We lost our first game to York and that lit our fire. Knowing what it’s like to lose here, no one wanted to experience that again. Everyone believed we could pull it out.”

“I don’t have the words to describe it,” Williams said. “This team has been so great. It’s a team, not one or two players. We really work as a unit. We didn’t want this to be a close game. I just wanted to win. We just had to find the best shot. We had good assists and drives and attack doesn’t work if you’re not working well together.”

“Before the game, Carley read us her senior letter and she said that she wanted to put 2022 on the banner and we did it,’ Koelker added. “We really believed in ourselves. Rose and Clara are very good and dangerous and they played really well, but we had a lot of confidence and we knew if we played as a team, we could overcome.”

Greely’s 13 wins tied the 2005 squad (which lost in the Western B semifinals) for the most in program history.

“We set so many records this year,” said Dennen.

Dennen paced the offense with four goals.

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Williams added three goals and an assist and held her own in the draw circle.

“I take so much pride in draws,” Williams said. “If you win the draw circle, you can win the game.”

“Eva was key, especially getting possessions at the end,” Koelker said.

Ferentz had two goals and two assists, Taylor scored twice and had an assist and Kelman also had two goals.

“We take pride in the fact we have multiple scorers,” Koelker said. “Other teams can’t take one or two girls out of a game and shut us down.”

Babcock made seven saves.

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Greely had a 36-28 edge in ground balls (Williams led the way with seven and sophomore Kylie Crocker collected five), out-shot York, 29-20 (21-14 on cage) and overcame 19 turnovers.

For York, Rose Pavuk bowed out with four goals and an assist. Doughty scored twice and Clara Pavuk had one goal and two assists. Drake also had two assists.

Spenlinhauer made eight saves.

The Wildcats won 11 of 21 draws and committed 22 turnovers.

Just the beginning

Ferentz played a huge role in Greely’s rise to the top.

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“I think it’s a new generation of Greely lacrosse and I’m honored to inspire the next generation,” Ferentz said. “I’ll definitely be watching next year as much as I can.”

“We love Carley so much and we wanted to get this for her,” Dennen said.

Ferentz will be missed, but everyone else returns and now that the Rangers have reached the pinnacle, they’ll be favored to do it again in 2023.

“We want to do this again so badly,” Dennen said. “We’re really close. We just need to keep the energy the same and keep growing.”

“I want to keep this going,” said Williams. “This is just the start for us.”

“Carley did so much for us, but we have a lot of players ready to step up,” added Koelker. “We have a lot of momentum going forward. We’re in really good shape for next year.”

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

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