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YARMOUTH—Coming off a frustrating loss at home to North Yarmouth Academy and with the playoffs looming, the Cape Elizabeth boys’ lacrosse team wanted to make a statement in its regular season finale.
And then some.
Visiting top contender Yarmouth in the latest chapter of the teams’ long-running rivalry, the Capers, even though they’d already locked up the top seed in their region, produced 48 minutes of memorable lacrosse which cemented their status as the favorite entering the tournament.
Cape Elizabeth went ahead to stay with a 5-0 run in the first half, held the Clippers (coming off a 15-goal effort) scoreless for nearly 19 minutes in one stretch, then essentially put it away when junior Tom Feenstra scored two goals in the final 24 seconds of the third quarter. The Capers never looked back from there and went on to an emphatic 13-7 victory, their eighth in a row over Yarmouth.
Cape Elizabeth got four goals from senior Alex Bornick, three from Feenstra, 10 saves from up-and-coming junior goalie Gabe McGinn and another do-a-little-of-everything performance from senior defenseman Adam Haversat, who won seven faceoffs, collected eight ground balls and after being denied on a couple of occasions, scoring his first goal of the year, as the Capers finished the regular season 10-2 and dropped the Clippers to 9-3.
“We told (the guys) before the game that nothing would change tonight,” said Cape Elizabeth coach Ben Raymond. “You can’t be more than number one. All I cared about was playing tonight as a team. When we do, it’s tough to lose.”
While Cape Elizabeth entered the game already having the top spot in Western Class B locked up, the Capers were desperately hoping to avoid a losing streak going into the playoffs.
Yarmouth, meanwhile, was seeded third, but hoped to leapfrog North Yarmouth Academy for the No. 2 seed.
Both teams have enjoyed ample drama this spring.
The Clippers set the tone for their season in the opener, a 7-6 win at NYA in a down-to-the-wire thriller. They then won at home over two-time defending Class B champion Falmouth in overtime, 10-9, then started 3-0 with a 15-4 victory at South Portland. Yarmouth was finally bested, 7-5, at Cape Elizabeth May 4. The Clippers bounced back to defeat host Freeport (15-2), visiting Lake Region (12-0), host Portland (17-5), visiting Fryeburg (21-2) and visiting NYA (11-6), before losing at home to three-time defending Class A state champion Scarborough, 10-7. Last Friday, in another overtime epic, this one at Falmouth, Yarmouth rallied from a three-goal fourth quarter deficit to shock the Yachtsmen again, 15-14.
The Capers opened with a 19-0 blanking of visiting Lake Region. They were then upset at North Yarmouth Academy, 9-6, but bounced back with an 11-10 overtime win at Falmouth, then handled visiting Waynflete, 16-9, Yarmouth, 7-5, host Greely, 8-4, and host Cheverus, 6-2. After rallying from a three-goal deficit in the second half to shock visiting Falmouth, 9-6, Cape Elizabeth blanked visiting Kennebunk, 5-0, and pitched another shutout at Fryeburg, 19-0, before its eight-game win streak came to a close last Friday at the hands of visiting NYA, 7-5.
The Capers entered Friday’s game having won two in a row at Yarmouth and seven straight over the Clippers, dating back to the 2010 season. Prior to that, Yarmouth had beaten Cape Elizabeth seven in a row and nine out of 10. The teams have clearly been the gold standard in Maine boys’ lacrosse, combining for 11 state titles since 1998 (seven for the Capers, four for the Clippers).
This time around, Cape Elizabeth did what it took to get back on track.
After more than six scoreless minutes to start the contest, Yarmouth struck first when senior Quinn Hathcock scored unassisted, but after Clippers senior Drew Grout was sent off for a minute after a slash, the Capers drew even, man-up, as senior Cam Wilson fed sophomore Griffin Thoreck for a goal.
Bornick almost gave the visitors the lead, but his shot the post later in the first quarter.
As the period neared its close, Cape Elizabeth scored twice in the final minute to take the lead for good.
First, Feenstra scored unassisted with 46.1 seconds to go.
Then, with 19.5 seconds showing, Bornick scored his first goal, taking a pass from sophomore Noah Haversat before finishing for a 3-1 advantage.
Yarmouth turned the ball over seven times in the first quarter and would do so on seven more occasions in the second as the Capers built their lead.
First, McGinn made a huge save on Clippers sophomore Joe Oliva on the doorstep.
Three minutes into the second, senior Jake Lynch set up Thoreck for his second goal and 16 seconds later, Lynch earned another assist, as Wilson took a pass and beat Yarmouth senior goalie Sam Landry to make it 5-1 Capers at halftime.
Yarmouth senior Ethan Cyr and junior Brady Neujahr won six of eight faceoffs in the first half, but the Clippers kept giving the ball away, much to coach David Pearl’s chagrin.
“Unfortunately, we made unforced errors,” Pearl lamented. “We had the dropsies. I don’t know how many times guys dropped passes or made passes we shouldn’t have tried. I feel like we shot ourselves in the foot. You can’t run through four or five guys. (The Capers) have aggressive sliders and great athletes out there.”
A minute, 20 seconds into the second half, Yarmouth finally snapped an 18 minute, 53 second scoring drought when Neujahr set up Oliva for a man-up goal, but with 8:09 to go in the third period, after Oliva was flagged for being offsides, Bornick finished (from senior Justin Cary) man-up to make it 6-2.
Bornick added an unassisted goal, dodging a defender before firing past Landry for a 7-2 advantage with 6:10 to play in the stanza, but the Clippers answered as senior Ian Edgecomb, thrice a late-game hero for his team this spring, took a pass from senior Christian Henry before finishing while falling backwards at the 4:04 mark. Nineteen seconds later, Hathcock scored his second unassisted goal and Yarmouth was primed to go into the fourth quarter very much in the running.
Instead, the final seconds of the period proved to be a disaster for the hosts.
With 24.4 seconds left, Feenstra scored an unassisted goal.
Cape Elizabeth got the ball back and after a shot was saved by Landry, he was chased out of the goal by Cary, who got Landry to cough the ball up and Cary pounced on the loose ball and fed Feenstra for a goal.
With 0.1 seconds showing.
“Justin was pressuring (the goalie) and he slipped and Justin got the ball and I was wide open,” Feenstra said. “I felt pretty confident after that. I just go in and I do my best. I take advantage of every second I’m on the field.”
In a matter of seconds a manageable 7-4 deficit had grown to an insurmountable 9-4.
Yarmouth, not surprisingly, played hard to the final horn, but so did the Capers, who build the lead to 12-4 midway through the fourth period behind goals from Cary (unassisted, on a rebound), Bornick (assisted by Cary) and Lynch (who took a pass from an unselfish Bornick, who passed up a shot for an assist instead).
Goals from Henry (unassisted, after forcing a turnover), Hathcock (unassisted) and Edgecomb (unassisted) pulled the Clippers back to 12-7, but with exactly a minute to go, Adam Haversat delivered the coup de grace.
Haversat, an unrivaled force all over the field, perhaps to the degree where he is the best player in the state, had twice previously run into the offensive zone and shot, but one was off target and another bid was denied by Landry.
This time, Haversat parted the defense and ripped a bounce shot that Landry couldn’t save.
“I wanted that goal,” Haversat said. “It’s senior year. For some reason, their defense doesn’t slide to poles because they don’t think we’ll shoot, but after last game, they should know after (senior) Brandon (Negele) scored a goal. I missed the first two, but I told (Coach), the third time’s a charm. We tried that play before. I ran into the box, let it rip. I thought it would it was going to bounce over or (Landry would) make another good save. When I saw it go in, I was excited. My first goal of the season.”
“(Adam) changes the game,” Raymond said. “We had a little something for him at the end and it worked out well. He had a great shot. You give him time and room and I don’t care who the goalie is, you’re not stopping his shot. He works so hard. He had a lot of ground balls, won a bunch of faceoffs and is our number one defender. He wins ground balls and picked off passes when they were man-up. Without Adam, we’re a different team. He allows us to do the things we can do on defense because he covers so much ground. Granted, he has four other great athletes out there with him.”
Haversat’s unlikely tally brought the curtain down on a very impressive 13-7 Capers’ victory.
“(The Clippers) don’t like the pressure we put on,” Haversat said. “NYA does well with that pressure. Yarmouth doesn’t. They couldn’t control the ball. Our defense stepped it up. We wanted to spoil their Senior Night. We knew we needed to pick up ground balls with two hands, play solid defense and not let them get by. We spent the whole week doing ground ball and shooting drills. I think it paid off.”
“We played pretty well,” Raymond said. “Defensively, we played really well. Offensively, we moved the ball and more importantly, moved without the ball well. We had more assists tonight than we’ve had in other games.
“We feel pretty good about going 10-2. Obviously, we’d like to be 12-0. I think the kids feel like they should be 12-0. Both NYA games were great games and we were in them. The first game, we fell asleep. The second game, they played a great second half and we didn’t.”
Bornick once again led the Capers offense with his four goals.
Feenstra continued his development into an offensive threat with three.
“Tom played really well,” Raymond said. “He and Jake split time as third attackmen. If your third attackmen have four goals, good things are going to happen.”
Thoreck added a pair of goals, while Haversat, Lynch and Wilson also tickled the twine once, meaning six different Cape Elizabeth players had goals.
Cary had three assists, Lynch two and Bornick, Noah Haversat and Wilson once apiece.
Adam Haversat also won 7 of 15 faceoffs and had a team-high eight ground balls. Cary added seven.
McGinn made 10 saves. Many of them clutch.
“I was seeing the ball pretty good,” McGinn said. “My D played really well. I’m happy we got the win. It was a big game. I’m working hard. I like playing goalie.”
“Gabe made some great saves tonight,” said Raymond. “He was really focused on the game. He saw the ball well. He cleared the ball well. He’s seen a lot of shots. He’s played in a lot of big games and close games. I think that’s helped him out.”
The Capers only turned the ball over 17 times, while forcing 27, and outshot the Clippers, 41-25 (28-17 on cage).
Yarmouth’s offense was led by Hathcock, with three goals. Edgecomb scored twice and Henry and Oliva each had one goal. Henry and Neujahr had assists.
The Clippers won 15 of 24 faceoffs, as Cyr went 14 of 22, despite being under the weather.
“Ethan Cyr’s been sick, but he picked himself off the ground and showed his mettle,” Pearl said.
Yarmouth had a slight 33-32 advantage on ground balls, thanks to seven from Cyr, five from Neujahr and four apiece from Grout and Lord. Landry made 15 saves.
“I really felt, like I have all season, that we had a chance to come back,” Pearl said. “We were winning in the faceoff circle, which isn’t like us. Cape’s a very good team and hopefully we’ll get another crack at them. The first time we played, we were on our heels. This time, I think we tried to carry too much through pressure. We have to find a happy medium. You have to give them credit because they’ve beaten us eight in a row. Ben’s done a great job with his guys. They work hard off-ball. We had an off-night. We never really got our footing. They started beating us in transition.”
Both teams are hoping to make it to the Class B state final June 15 at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland, but the road will be challenging.
The Clippers (who will be third in Eastern B behind Gardiner and NYA) are idle until Wednesday, when they’ll host a quarterfinal round game (likely against Oak Hill). A semifinal round showdown at NYA is a distinct and delicious possibility.
“I’m very proud of our regular season and I think we’re ready for the playoffs,” Pearl said. “It’s a short turnaround. We’ll host a game Wednesday. We’ll play someone we’re not familiar with and we have to win that game. If we win that game, our focus will be on NYA. They’ll be ready for us, we’ll be ready for them.”
The top-ranked-in-Western-B Capers won’t play another meaningful game until June 8, when they will host either Waynflete or Wells in the semifinals.
“I think we’re ready,” said McGinn. “It’s really good we won this game. A lot of things we’ve worked on in practice, like winning the game between the two boxes, we did well and I’m glad. That’s what held us back earlier.”
“We needed to show the other teams that we’re still here and that we’re going to kick some butt,” Feenstra said. “We have to stay focused and keep playing with passion. I want a championship. We want a championship.”
“It’s been a good season so far,” Haversat added. “We have a big senior class. We knew this was the year that we wanted to bring it back to the 90s, when we won every state championship. We wanted to bring back the tradition of Cape being the most dominant team in the state. We want (Coach Raymond) to be looked at as the best coach in the state. We want (Charlie Carroll) to be looked at as the best assistant. A lot of us saw the 2010 championship. We want to bring that back. This is the year we can be the best team in the state. That’s our goal.”
For the Capers to wind up where they want to be, celebrating a state title at Fitzy, they’ll have to handle their semifinal foe, then almost certainly will need to beat Falmouth a third time in the regional final. If they do that, either NYA or Yarmouth will likely be waiting on the final Saturday of the season.
“The four teams, everybody’s pretty darn even,” Raymond said. “Being number one won’t hurt. It’s nice to have a home game and not have to take a bus anywhere. The kids will be excited. We’ll be ready to play Falmouth, like Falmouth will be ready to play us. The kids will put the first two games aside. We’re making good decisions, working well together. As long as we do the little things well, we’ll do very well.”
Cape Elizabeth junior Tom Feenstra is defended by Yarmouth sophomore Henry Oliva. Feenstra finished with three goals.
Yarmouth senior Ethan Cyr collects a ground ball after one of his many faceoff wins as Cape Elizabeth sophomore Jack Drinan defends.
Cape Elizabeth sophomore Griffin Thoreck, who scored twice, controls the ball.
Cape Elizabeth senior Cam Wilson is defended by Yarmouth junior Matt Woodbury.
Yarmouth senior Ian Edgecomb has had a lot of things go his way this spring, but not here, as he’s sandwiched by Cape Elizabeth sophomore Curtis Alexander (left) and senior Adam Haversat.
Cape Elizabeth 12 @ Yarmouth 8
@ Cape Elizabeth 10 Yarmouth 5
Yarmouth 9 @ Cape Elizabeth 3
@ Yarmouth 7 Cape Elizabeth 3
Class B State Final
Yarmouth 9 Cape Elizabeth 4
@ Cape Elizabeth 9 Yarmouth 5
@ Yarmouth 8 Cape Elizabeth 7
@ Yarmouth 4 Cape Elizabeth 3
Yarmouth 6 @ Cape Elizabeth 5
@ Cape Elizabeth 8 Yarmouth 6
@ Yarmouth 15 Cape Elizabeth 8
Cape Elizabeth 7 Yarmouth 6
@ Yarmouth 13 Cape Elizabeth 11
Yarmouth 15 @ Cape Elizabeth 7
Yarmouth 11 Cape Elizabeth 6
@ Cape Elizabeth 7 Yarmouth 1
Cape Elizabeth 9 Yarmouth 8 (OT)
Cape Elizabeth 16 @ Yarmouth 6
Cape Elizabeth 15 @ Yarmouth 6
Cape Elizabeth senior Justin Cary leaps into the arms of senior Adam Haversat after Haversat’s fourth quarter goal, his first of the season, clinches Thursday’s 13-7 win at Yarmouth.
More photos below.