OAKLAND—Greely’s dynamic duo wouldn’t be denied.

Nor would the rest of the Rangers.

And the end result in another trip to the state championship game.

Wednesday evening, in a Class B state semifinal round game at Messalonskee High School, Greely, ranked fourth, took on top-ranked Mt. Ararat and made a powerful early statement before having to fight off an Eagles’ rally to advance.

And set up a state final showdown that fans have been talking about for weeks.

Senior standout Asja Kelman scored twice in the game’s first six-plus minutes, the second goal coming on an assist from fellow senior star, Eva Williams.


A thunder delay then paused the game for 39 minutes, but when it resumed, the Rangers continued to pour it on, as Williams scored twice in a row before junior Jane Flynn found the net for a 5-0 advantage after one quarter.

When Sophomore Kelsey Crocker scored 53 seconds into the second period, Greely was on the brink of running away and hiding, but Mt. Ararat would settle in and respond.

The Eagles got three straight goals to force Rangers coach Becca Koelker to call timeout and out of the break, Kelman and Flynn found the net for an 8-3 halftime lead.

Mt. Ararat hung tough in the third quarter as well, three times cutting the deficit to four goals, including with 15 seconds to go, as junior Evelyn Goutreau struck to make it 11-7, but goals from Williams and junior Kylie Lord ended any lingering doubt and while the Eagles responded with two late goals, it wasn’t enough, as Greely went on to a 13-9 victory.

Kelman and Williams each scored four times, as the Rangers improved to 12-4, advanced to the state game for the fourth consecutive season, ended Mt. Ararat’s incredible campaign at 15-1 and advanced to take on No. 2 Freeport (15-1) in the Class B state final Saturday at a time to be announced at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

“Four-for-four and those seniors, they’ve earned it,” Koelker said. “We haven’t talked about it all year. It was just win the moment and go on to the next one.”


Fast start pays off

Greely was nearly unstoppable a year ago as it rolled to a repeat championship. This year, the Rangers haven’t been quite as dominant, but they’ve had their moments (see sidebar for links to previous stories).

Greely lost to twice to Yarmouth and once each to Falmouth and Kennebunk, Class A powers all, but won its other 10 games.

Friday, in the state quarterfinals, in a game played on the turf at Freeport High, the Rangers had no trouble eliminating No. 5 Cony, 18-3.

Mt. Ararat, meanwhile, enjoyed the best regular season in program history, winning all 14 contests, with nine victories coming by five goals or more.

The Eagles earned the top seed in Class B, then held off No. 8 Biddeford in Saturday’s quarterfinal round, 12-10.


The teams didn’t meet this year and had just one prior playoff encounter, an 8-2 Greely victory in the 1998 state quarterfinals.

Wednesday’s game featured 74 degrees at the start, but it wasn’t long before Mother Nature impacted the contest.

Nothing was stopping the Rangers Express, however.

Greely nearly scored off the opening draw, but turned the ball over at the last second.

Finally, with 8:48 to go in the first quarter, Kelman buried a free position and the Rangers were in front to stay.

Greely then took a 2-0 lead with 5:40 remaining, as Williams earned a free position, but she eschewed a shot, instead passing to Kelman, who fired the ball past Mt. Ararat senior goalie Maggie Fitzpatrick.


Thirteen seconds later, Williams was given a yellow card and had to come off and as soon as the whistle blew to resume play, thunder was heard in the area, resulting in a 39-minute delay.

The Rangers weren’t fazed in the least, as they went through a similar situation early in last year’s state game win over Brunswick, so they took the break in stride.

“Last year helped a lot because most of our team was on the state team last year,” Kelman said. “We knew what to do in the delay to keep our energy going. We had a dance party in the weight room. We knew nothing was going to slow us down.”

“Mother Nature might be our friend,” said Williams. “Sometimes we use that as a reset, make sure we’re dialed in.”

“It felt very familiar, which was great for us,” added Koelker. “We had experience. We knew how to kill the time and stay loose.”

When play finally resumed, Greely picked up where it left off, as Williams, re-entering play after sitting two minutes for a yellow card, scored for the first time, from Kelman in transition with 3:15 on the clock.


A mere 62 seconds later, Williams and Flynn executed a pretty give-and-go and Williams finished.

“We were just connected as a team,” said Williams. “We worked together on those goals. We showed up ready.”

With 37.6 seconds left, Flynn got her turn and buried a free position shot for a 5-0 lead.

The Rangers started fast in the second period as well, as Lord set up Crocker for a goal, but the Eagles would get off the deck and respond.

Mt. Ararat’s first goal came with 10:37 on the first half clock, as junior Lydia Hiltz set up junior Avery Beal to break the ice.

After senior Katherine Hawkes hit the crossbar with a free position shot, Fitzpatrick denied Kelman.


Then, with 6:10 to go, junior Islah Godo took a free position, but instead of shooting, fed Goudreau, who beat Greely junior Mya Vickerson to cut the deficit to four.

After Williams hit the post for the Rangers, the Godo-to-Goudreau connection produced another goal, this time in transition, and with 3:30 left in the half, Greely’s six-goal lead had been cut in half, forcing Koelker to call timeout.

And it worked like a charm, as 37 seconds later, Kelman scored unassisted.

Flynn then scored from Lord with 2:26 on the clock and the Rangers’ lead was back up to five, 8-3, at the half.

Greely enjoyed an 11-4 shots advantage in the first half, but hadn’t been able to deliver the knockout blow.

It wouldn’t come in the third quarter either.


Kelman nearly scored off the draw to start the second half, but Fitzpatrick denied her.

Then, with 11:18 to go in the frame, Williams buried a free position to make it a six-goal game yet again.

Again, the Eagles countered, as Guodreau scored on a free position with 10:14 left and Goudreau took a pass in traffic from Hiltz and tickled the twine 32 seconds later to cut the deficit to 9-5.

Kelman quickly countered with an unassisted goal with 7:30 on the clock and after Godo converted a free position with 3:53 left, Kelman threaded a beautiful pass to Lord, who scored with 2:33 to go to make it 11-6.

Beal set up Goudreau for a goal with 15.4 seconds remaining, but Mt. Ararat still trailed by four heading for the final stanza.

Where Greely quickly put it away.


A Williams free position 51 seconds proved to be her final goal and with 10:03 to go, Lord took a pass from Flynn and found the net to end the Rangers’ scoring.

Beal set up Hiltz for a goal with 7:45 left and after Goudreau hit the post, she was denied on a free position by Vickerson.

Godo scored on a free position with 26.6 seconds remaining, but Williams won the ensuing draw and Greely was able to run out the clock and celebrate its 13-9 victory.

“It’s amazing,” said Kelman. “I have no one to thank but my teammates and coaches. This means the world. We prepared from some of the film we saw. We weren’t sure what to expect, but we didn’t come in and underestimate them. They did a great job. They were aggressive all over the field.”

“Sometimes you get a lead and you get nervous and slow down, but we’re working on never taking our foot off the pedal,” said Williams. “I think it’s all gas all the time, every moment, staying connected and working hard. I think (Mt. Ararat’s) so talented. Those girls were fabulous to play against. It was great competition. It shows us what our top level can be.”

“Our fast break and transition was working really well and we took care of the ball well and moved it on attack,” added Koelker. “(Mt. Ararat) did not give up the whole game. We had to match their effort instead of them matching ours. We’d watched a couple of their games. We knew they connected well and moved the ball well. We knew it was their high-powered offense against our defense. We hadn’t given up that many goals except against Falmouth or Yarmouth all season. It took awhile to adjust and once we did, we got our rhythm.'”


Kelman and Williams, who are always in tandem, each scored four goals and assisted on another.

“It’s a great feeling knowing we work so well together and do everything we can,” Kelman said. “We always have each other’s back. I couldn’t ask for a better teammate. She means the world to me.”

“We ask (Asja and Eva) to demand the ball,” Koelker said. “They’ve earned the trust of their teammates and they did what they needed to get us the ‘W.'”

Flynn and Lord both scored twice and had two assists, while Crocker also found the net.

Vickerson made one save.

The Rangers had a 15-11 edge in the draw circle, picked up 16 ground balls to the Eagles’ 15 (Kelman had a team-high six), enjoyed a 24-13 advantage in shots (18-10 on cage) and overcame 13 turnovers.


Mt. Ararat’s effort was paced by Goudreau’s five goals and Godo’s two goals and one assist. Beal and Hiltz added one goal and one assist apiece.

Fitzpatrick made five saves.

Godo had a game-high seven ground balls.

The game we’ve been waiting for

It’s been clear since April that Freeport and Greely were the class of Class B and they’ll be the last teams standing on the big stage Saturday.

The game will be a rematch of a thrilling 8-7 Rangers’ overtime victory way back on April 19 in Freeport, on Williams’ goal.


The Falcons advanced Wednesday with an emphatic 18-1 victory over No. 6 Messalonskee in their semifinal.

The teams have no postseason history, but they’re about to make some and Greely can’t wait.

“I’m over the moon,” said Williams, who missed the Rangers’ title run a year ago with a knee injury. “I’ve been waiting since sophomore year to get back to states. I’m just so excited to go there with this awesome team. Winning it would mean that the whole year of work I did in the offseason really paid off, showing up for myself and everyone on the team. We came out strong the first time and (Freeport) caught up, but we came out with a win. We have to play that way for a whole game, not just bits and pieces.”

“We’ve got to lock them down, their two scorers (juniors Lana DiRusso and Mia Levesque),” Kelman said. “We have to stay on point, get the job done and always work together. We have to be a cohesive team and want it. I’m so excited for Saturday. I’ll put my blood, sweat and tears into that game.”

“It’s going to be a great matchup,” Koelker added. “There are definitely things we can take from this game to clean up, as far as possession and playing our game. We just need to focus on what we do and let that take care of itself.”

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

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