CAPE ELIZABETH — Ellis Piper felt good in warmups.

Cape Elizabeth’s senior goalkeeper looked even better during the game Friday night in a Class B South girls’ soccer semifinal against Greely.

After the second-seeded Capers took an early lead over No. 3 Greely, Piper was tested time and time again but came up with nine clutch saves, most of them of the acrobatic variety, to help her team to a 3-0 victory at Hannaford Field.

“Ellis was phenomenal,” said Cape Elizabeth’s first-year coach, Branden Noltkamper. “We’ve known all year we have a special player in net. She changes the game for us, and it gives so much confidence to the other girls knowing we have her.”

The Capers (14-2) earned a trip to the regional final for the fifth time in six years. They will take on top-seeded Yarmouth at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Deering High in Portland.

Cape Elizabeth lost both regular-season meetings to the defending state champions.


“I’m so excited,” said senior captain Evelyn Agrodnia, who had an assist. “This is where we want to be, and we’re out for revenge.”

The Capers, who hadn’t played in 10 days, got off to a fast start when sophomore Noelle Mallory was taken down in the box in the second minute and awarded a penalty kick. Mallory sent her shot past Rangers keeper Lizzie Sproul (five saves).

Greely (8-6-2) almost countered a few minutes later, but an apparent goal by Avery Bush was waved off for offsides. Then, with 30:38 left in the first half, Mallory struck again off an Agrodnia through-ball.

“Greely has a very good back line, and we figured one our best ways around them was through,” said Mallory. “We have good players playing balls through, and we ran on to them. That was a great ball from Evelyn.”

Piper then took center stage. She robbed Shaylee O’Grady, made a save on a shot from Bush, then dove to deny another attempt by Bush.

“The first shot, the offsides goal, made us really realize that I could get scored on,” said Piper. “I had a good warmup, then that happened and we knew we had to do something. On the 1-v-1s, I mostly just react. Others, I have to read.”


The score remained 2-0 until Mallory helped set up the clincher with 13:58 to play, as she sent the ball to Finley DiGiovanni on the wing, and DiGiovanni crossed it to Hailey Gorman for the goal.

Piper then made another outstanding save on Bush before lunging to swat away a high shot from Molly Partridge.

“I’m glad she’s on my side, but sometimes she hurts our ego in practice,” said Agrodnia. “It’s nice to have her.”

The Rangers had a 9-8 edge in shots.

“I think we outplayed them for a good part of the game, but none of our chances fell the way they should have,” said Greely Coach Rachel Williams. “I’m super-proud of the girls. I just wanted them to get one more ‘W.’”

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