FREEPORT—On the heels of a season-opening loss, Greely’s two-time reigning Class B state champion girls’ lacrosse team was on the brink of a disastrous start to its campaign when it let a three-goal fourth quarter lead slip away at Freeport Friday afternoon at the Joan Benoit Samuelson Track and Field.

Fortunately for the Rangers, however, they again have the luxury of boasting senior captain Eva Williams on their roster and Williams, who missed her junior campaign due to a knee injury, has returned to the lineup and returned to form and she was the difference-maker in a most compelling early-season showdown between title contenders.

Greely built a 3-1 lead after one quarter and two Williams goals stretched the lead to four before the Falcons, pulled within two at halftime, thanks to a late goal from junior Mia Levesque.

After Williams and Levesque traded third period goals, Williams scored off the fourth period draw to seemingly put the Rangers in good shape, but sophomore Elsa Klein sandwiched goals around one from Levesque and Freeport rallied to force overtime.

There, the Falcons even had a pair of chances to win it, but couldn’t muster a shot and as time wound down, Williams earned a free position shot and with 7.6 seconds remaining in the extra session, she scored for the fifth time to give Greely a palpitating 8-7 victory.

The Rangers evened their record at 1-1, dropped Freeport to 1-1 and continued their recent dominance over the Falcons in the process.


“I’m so psyched to be back,” Williams said. “I’ve just had the best time. I’m so hungry for the ball and to be out there with my teammates. It’s so awesome. I’m definitely an extrovert and I love to be part of the team. I just have such good teammates that are really easy to work with.”

Two champions

Freeport won a long-awaited Class C state title last spring, then moved up to Class B this season. Tuesday, the Falcons opened with an 8-6 win at Scarborough.

Greely repeated as Class B champion last season, but has some holes to fill after a big graduation hit. Tuesday, the Rangers lost at home to three-time reigning Class A champion Kennebunk, 15-4, in their opener.

Last April 29, Greely handed host Freeport what proved to be its only loss of the season, 5-4.

Friday, on a breezy but comfortable 50-degree afternoon, the Falcons hoped to beat the Rangers for the first time since a 14-13, triple-overtime triumph May 26, 2015, but instead, Greely made it eight straight in the series.


But just barely.

Freeport sophomore Elsa Klein fires a shot as Greely sophomore Avery Bush looks on. The Rangers prevailed in overtime, 8-7.  Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald

The Rangers opened the scoring with 8:40 to go in the first period, as Williams set up junior Kylie Lord for a goal.

After Freeport junior goalie Hailly Curtis denied a free position shot from senior Asja Kelman and another bid from sophomore Kelsey Crocker, Crocker earned a free position and scored with 5:39 on the clock to make it 2-0.

The Falcons, who turned the ball over six times in the first quarter alone, finally mustered a shot with 4:45 left, but senior Ava Stone’s bid was saved by Greely junior goalie Whitney Bond.

After Williams hit the post, Kelman scored on a free position with 1:51 remaining.

Freeport got on the board with just 19.7 seconds to go, as junior Lana DiRusso scored on a free position.


Just before the horn, Stone had a chance to cut the into the deficit even further, but she missed just high.

The Falcons kept the pressure on early in the second period, but Levesque missed wide and senior Kiley Webber did the same.

With 7:24 to go in the half, Williams scored for the first time, from Kelman.

With 5:33 remaining, junior Jane Flynn set up Williams for a 5-1 lead, forcing Freeport coach Marcia Wood to call timeout.

It helped, as the Falcons kept the pressure on for the rest of the half, scoring twice in the process.

After Bond denied Webber on a free position, Levesque got the ball to DiRusso in traffic and DiRusso found enough room to shoot and score with 3:13 remaining.


Then, with just 4.5 seconds showing, Levesque ripped a free position shot past Bond to cut the deficit to 5-3.

Williams started the second half scoring with an unassisted goal with 9:24 on the clock.

A minute later, Williams appeared to score again, in highlight fashion with a no-look shot, but the goal was waved off and instead, she was sent off for two minutes for a dangerous shot.

Greely senior Eva Williams backhands a shot into the goal while being defended by Freeport sophomore Ella Levesque. The goal was disallowed however and Williams received a yellow card penalty on the play. Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald

With 4:42 remaining in the third, Levesque scored again on a free position and after Curtis saved shots from Flynn, Kelman and sophomore Audrey Ingersoll, Freeport went to the fourth period down just two, 6-4.

Kelman then won the draw to Williams, who raced right in and scored 12 seconds in to make it a three-goal game again.

But the Falcons kept coming.


First, Klein scored on a free position with 8:52 to go.

After senior Katie Dubbert made a terrific defensive play, blocking a sure DiRusso goal in front, Freeport finally drew within one with 6:28 left, as Webber, behind the goal, threw a pinpoint pass to Levesque, who finished.

After several settled possessions didn’t result in shots and instead ended in turnovers, the Falcons drew even in transition, as Levesque found Klein with 2:38 on the clock, making the score 7-7.

Both teams had possessions to win the game late in regulation, but turned the ball over and the horn sounded with the game still deadlocked.

In high school girls’ lacrosse, teams play a three-minute, “sudden victory” overtime to determine a winner and almost all three minutes were needed in this case.

Freeport junior Mia Levesque advances the ball into Greely’s defensive half past seniors Kylie Crocker, left, Lydia Miller and Asja Kelman. Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald

Despite letting its lead slip away, Greely was confident heading into the extra session.


“The message was just that we had to do it together and we couldn’t rely on one person,” Rangers coach Becca Koelker said.

Freeport won the opening draw and had a chance to complete a dramatic come-from-behind win, but turned the ball over.

The Falcons forced a turnover and got it back, but threw the ball away again.

Dubbert then cleared the ball and threw it ahead to Kelman, who set up the offense.

The ball eventually came to Williams and as the clock ticked under 15 seconds, Williams made her move and she fired a shot which Curtis saved, but a shooting space violation on Freeport gave Williams a free position with 10.7 seconds showing.

Williams wouldn’t be denied, racing in and firing the ball past Curtis into the net with 7.6 seconds remaining to produce an 8-7 victory.


“I was nervous,” said Williams. “There’s a lot of pressure and I haven’t been on the field as much as some of the girls, but I did it for my team and finished that shot for them. I’ve had so much lacrosse and I see the field well. I was just so excited for the team.”

“There was no one else I would have wanted to shoot that shot,” Koelker said. “(Eva’s) a gift to coach. She has such a high lax IQ. She’s like having another coach out there. She’s positive. She’s a leader. She’s hard-working. She checks all the boxes. She’s not on people’s radar yet, but she will be. I think when we fully unleash her, she’ll do some great things this season.”

The scoreboard tells the story at the conclusion of Friday’s contest. Hoffer photo.

At 2:34 p.m., Greely got to celebrate its first victory of the season.

A memorable one indeed.

“We won as a team,” Williams said. “Just to get a win under our belts is great. It’ll build up our confidence. This game shows us how strong we are and how composed we can be. We got put the test and we came out successful. ”

“It’s great to have these opportunities early in the season,” said Koelker. “It’s good to be in high-pressure situations to be prepared for it going for. We knew it would be a great game coming in. Freeport’s great competition. They made some nice adjustments after the first quarter and we had turnovers we didn’t have in the first quarter. I was really proud of our defense, they really held their own. The girls stayed composed in overtime and got the ball on Eva’s stick.”


Williams dazzled with five goals and one assist. Crocker, Kelman and Lord also found the net.

Flynn and Kelman had one assist apiece.

Kelman had a team-high five ground balls.

Bond made three timely saves.

The Rangers had a 21-18 edge in shots (15-10 on cage) and overcame 22 turnovers.

For Freeport, Levesque scored three goals and DiRusso and Klein had two apiece.


Levesque also had two assists, while Webber finished with one.

Curtis stopped seven shots.

“Hailly played great,” said Wood. “She didn’t know she was going to be the starting goalie and she’s played two full games. She’s played well.”

The Falcons had a 10-9 edge on draw and collected 34 ground balls to Greely’s 25 (DiRusso had a game-high 10), but were doomed in part by 25 turnovers.

“Every year we start in a hole because we can’t handle pressure and once we get into it, it’s too late,” Wood lamented. “Last year it was a one-point game and this year again. It could have gone either way. I’m glad we battled back. We just didn’t take care of the ball.  We want everyone to feel comfortable with the ball. It can’t just go to Mia and Lana. Unless the girls get touches, they won’t get comfortable. We did some really good things today, but our mistakes were capitalized on.”

Ramping up


If the Falcons and Rangers meet again, it would be in the playoffs, perhaps even in the Class B state final.

“I told Marcia, ‘See you in June,'” said Koelker.

“I just want to beat Greely,” Wood said. “Maybe we’ll finally beat them in the big one.”

Both teams have plenty to worry about in the meantime.

Freeport hopes to bounce back Monday, but it won’t be easy, as the Falcons have to travel to perennial Class A contender Massabesic. Freeport returns home next Saturday to host rival North Yarmouth Academy in a rematch of last year’s Class C state game.

“I’m glad we’re making mistakes now,” Wood said. “We need to fix it. We don’t need to be June-ready right now. We need to get there and get a good seed, but we have time.”

Greely, meanwhile has a challenging week next week with three games. The Rangers go to Marshwood Tuesday, welcome York Thursday, then play host to Waynflete next Saturday. Trips to Class A powers Falmouth and Cape Elizabeth loom the following week.

“I hope we’re the team to beat again,” Williams said. “It’s about building up what we have. We have gritty, hard-working girls. It’s not about playing like last year, but finding out who we are this year. We have a tough schedule, but I know we can handle it. I want to win it again so badly after not being part of it last year. I was so proud of my team, but that hurt and I want to come back and make it a three-peat.”

“We want to get one percent better every day,” said Koelker. “It was nice to come out with a win today, but the biggest benefit we got was learning what we have to work on. (The schedule’s) non-stop for us, but we’d rather be challenged.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at

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