YARMOUTH—In case anyone needed a reminder, North Yarmouth Academy’s powerhouse girls’ soccer team is good enough to play with anyone.

From any class.

Tuesday afternoon at Lewis Field, the Panthers, the four-time reigning Class D state champions, who have moved up to Class C this fall, hosted Greely, a longtime Class B power, and the squads put together 90 memorable minutes that didn’t produce a result.

But did produce a lot of excitement.

NYA was on its heels for much of the first half, but senior goalkeeper Sarah Moore kept the Rangers off the board and with 6:28 remaining, the Panthers countered and junior Lyla Casey set up senior Graca Bila for a stunning goal and a 1-0 lead.

Moore then preserved the advantage with several big saves, but with 16:59 to go, Greely senior standout Shaylee O’Grady buried a shot from the top of the box to tie it.


But instead of giving the Rangers momentum, the goal awakened NYA and the hosts nearly answered right back, only to hit the crossbar and just miss on other chances, sending the game to overtime.

There, 10 extra minutes couldn’t produce a winner and the squads settled for a 1-1 draw.

Greely is now 4-2-2 on the season, while the Panthers are 6-0-2, as their four-year unbeaten streak climbed to 46 games.

“This was fun and exciting,” said NYA coach Ricky Doyon. “I wish we took advantage of our opportunities, but soccer is a game of bounces and crossbars. Greely’s a very good Class B team. They had us at the beginning. I think we controlled the second half.”

Back and forth

Back on Oct. 21, 2020, in the depths of the pandemic, NYA lost at Yarmouth, 3-1.


And the Panthers haven’t dropped a game since.

After winning its final two games of the the COVID-abbreviated, postseason-less 2020 campaign, the Panthers went undefeated in 2021 (tying Yarmouth) and again in 2022. This fall, NYA opened with a 5-0 victory at Sacopee Valley and settled for a scoreless draw at Freeport (in a game in which only a half was played due to the lights not coming on). The Panthers then dispatched host Lake Region (3-2), visiting Old Orchard Beach (5-0), visiting Gray-New Gloucester (3-0), host St. Dom’s (2-0) and visiting Traip Academy (3-0).

Greely, meanwhile, opened with a dramatic 1-0 (double-overtime) home win over reigning Class B champion Yarmouth, then blanked visiting Fryeburg Academy (5-0), lost at home to Cape Elizabeth (4-1) won at Waynflete (4-1), tied host Freeport (0-0), downed visiting Poland (6-0), then Saturday, lost at Yarmouth (3-0).

The teams had last met Oct. 11, 2011 in Yarmouth, where the Rangers prevailed, 9-0.

Tuesday, on a pleasant late-September afternoon (63 degrees at kickoff), the contest was much closer as NYA hoped to beat Greely for the first time this century (the teams did play to a 1-1 draw in 2007), but the Rangers would prevent that from happening with one well placed shot.

Greely senior Katie Dubbert protects the ball from North Yarmouth Academy junior Delia Fontana during the teams’ 1-1 draw Tuesday. Hoffer photos.

Greely was a little quicker to the ball in the first half and threatened early, but after a turnover, junior Abby Lennox’s pass to sophomore Avery Bush was broken up at the last second by Panthers junior back Ella Giguere and Bush had a shot saved by Moore.

With 24:24 left in the first half, NYA nearly took the lead, as junior Emily Robbins launched a free kick from the top of the box which Rangers junior goalkeeper Lizzie Sproul had no chance to reach, but it kissed off the top of the crossbar to keep the game scoreless.

After O’Grady was just off on a long free kick, Lennox couldn’t quite reach a cross from Bush and Moore saved shots from Lennox and O’Grady (with a dive).

Then, the Panthers went on top.

The scoring sequence began with freshman Charlotte Matusovich playing the ball up the left side. Casey ran it down, then launched a shot toward the far post, where Bila completed her run and tapped it home for a 1-0 advantage with 6:28 on the clock.

After Lennox missed just wide with Moore out of goal and Sproul saved a long Bila shot, NYA clung to its lead at the half.

Moore then frustrated Greely’s attempts to answer for much of the second half, before the Rangers finally drew even.

North Yarmouth Academy senior Hayden Wienckowski plays the ball away from Greely junior Emma Silver.

First, the Panthers nearly doubled their lead with 33:41 to play, as senior Hayden Wienckowski tried to sneak a shot inside the near post, but it hit the frame instead.

Senior Lily Rawnsley then broke up a Lennox rush and Moore saved a long shot from junior Molly Partridge.


With 25:15 to go, NYA threatened again, as Giguere played the ball in to freshman Caroline Matusovich, but Sproul came out and made the save only to be injured on the play.

Freshman Presley Allard came on to play out the remainder of the game and she would play well and help her team get out of town with a result.

Moore made her finest save with 21:18 to go, as Bush set up Partridge up top and Partridge ripped a shot toward the upper 90, but Moore leaped and tipped it over the bar for a corner kick, which didn’t result in a shot.

But with 16:59 left, Greely finally drew even, as the Panthers couldn’t clear the ball from the defensive zone and it deflected up top to O’Grady, who wasn’t about to miss. O’Grady fired a shot that even Moore couldn’t reach and the score was tied, 1-1.

“Shaylee has a great shot from the outside,” said Rangers coach Rachel Williams. “We love when she gets an opportunity. We want her to get them more often. When we possess the ball, I feel like we’re one of the best teams in the league, but when we play as individuals, we’re not.”

Normally after tying a game, that team has all the momentum, but instead, NYA would have some great chances to go back on top.


First, Wienckowski got into the box, but was broken up by Greely junior back Emma Silver.

With 8:35 remaining, Giguere lined up a 30-yard free kick and with Doyon predicting a goal, she struck it perfectly, over Allard’s head, but to the Panthers’ chagrin, the ball hit the crossbar squarely and Casey’s rebound attempt went wide.

Down the stretch, freshman Alicia Fontana missed just wide, then she sent a floater on target which Allard had to save. Freshman Natasha Godfrey then missed wide, Bush headed away a NYA corner kick, Allard saved a shot from Casey and Robbins missed just wide.

“Once they scored, we really played well, but we just didn’t take advantage of our opportunities,” Doyon lamented.

The Rangers then nearly stole it with 41 seconds to play, but Moore robbed Lennox point blank to send the game to overtime.

In the regular season, teams play two five-minute, “sudden victory” extra sessions and if no one scores, the game goes in the books as a tie.


That’s how it would play out.

The Panthers did have a good chance early in the first overtime, as Giguere served in a perfect ball to the far post off a corner kick and Godfrey got her head on it, but she sent it just wide.

At the other end, Moore broke up an O’Grady feed to Lennox and it was on the second OT.

There, Allard got to a loose ball in the box and in the final minute, a cross from Caroline Matusovich was covered by Allard and the clock ran out on the 1-1 draw.

“I got to see what we can do,” said Doyon. “I’ve seen it in spurts, but today I saw more of it. That was good. If we continue to play that way, I think we’ll be OK. Once we found ourselves, we knew what we could do. I wasn’t going to give up a goal at the end. I put my fast players behind and they were still part of the attack anyway.”

NYA finished with a 9-8 edge in shots on frame and each team took three corner kicks.

Moore impressed with seven saves for the Panthers.

“Sarah in goal made some outstanding saves,” Doyon said.

“Their goalie made some great saves,’ said Williams. “We made some great connections from the midfield, up top and we built out of the back a couple times, but overall, we need to connect for 80 minutes.”

Allard made four saves after coming in off the bench.

“She did a great job and made some big saves for us,” Williams said.

Sproul stopped three shots before getting hurt.

Challenging stretch

NYA has two more tough home tests upcoming, versus longtime rival Waynflete Friday, then against Yarmouth next Tuesday.

“We can still improve in certain areas,” said Doyon. “We have a good stretch of good teams here. We’ll be in those games.”

Greely goes to York Thursday, then travels to Cape Elizabeth for a pivotal test the following Thursday.

“We have a young crew,” Williams said. “We just have to increase our chances and find the back of the net more.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net

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