Cape edges Greely, completes turnaround with playoff berth

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Cape Elizabeth senior goalie Kinnon McGrath is mobbed by her teammates following Monday’s 1-0 win at Greely. McGrath made nine saves.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

CUMBERLAND—A year ago, Cape Elizabeth’s field hockey team went 0-14 and scored two goals.

Fast forward to 2016 where the Capers have returned to contention and after a strong regular season, have punched their ticket to the playoffs.

Monday afternoon, Cape Elizabeth put a punctuation mark on their regular season of rebirth with a strong 60-minute effort at rival Greely.

The Capers got the game’s lone goal with 9:32 to play in the first half, when junior Katie Bozek, normally a defender, scored out of a scrum on a penalty corner.

Cape Elizabeth’s defense and senior goalie Kinnon McGrath did the rest and the Capers went on to a 1-0 victory.

Cape Elizabeth swept the regular season series against the Rangers for the first time since 2013, improved to 5-9 and dropped Greely to 5-9 in the process as both teams will now prepare for a preliminary round playoff game this weekend.

“It’s been fun to see the girls get results and their hard work pay off,” said Capers second-year coach Maura Bisogni. “We had a lot of girls get a lot of varsity time last year. They came in and worked hard this summer and had a good preseason. I came in knowing them and what we needed to get done.”

One eye on the playoffs

Both teams entered Monday’s regular season-ending contest knowing that it wasn’t their final game, but both wanted to prevail to have some momentum going into the postseason.

Cape Elizabeth started with a 4-0 home loss to Freeport and a 2-0 setback at Fryeburg Academy, then snapped an 18 game losing skid and a 20 game winless stretch with a 2-1 overtime victory at Gray-New Gloucester. The Capers then edged visiting Greely, 3-2, in OT. After an 8-1 home loss to Kennebunk, Cape Elizabeth downed visiting Wells (3-1) and Lake Region (3-0) to go over the .500 mark, but a 2-1 overtime loss at Poland sent the Capers heading in the other direction and was followed by setbacks at home to Yarmouth (3-0), at Kennebunk (5-0), at home to two-time defending Class B state champion York (6-1), at Freeport (2-1) and at Falmouth (6-0).

Greely opened with a 3-2 double overtime home loss to Poland, then enjoyed overtime wins at Gray-New Gloucester (2-1) and at home over Lake Region (3-2) before triumphing in regulation at Old Orchard Beach (3-0). After losing at home to Falmouth, 2-0, the Rangers lost in overtime at Cape Elizabeth (3-2), won in OT at Lake Region (3-2), then fell at home to Kennebunk (4-1) and at Fryeburg Academy (6-0) before beating visiting Gray-New Gloucester, 2-1. Greely then lost at Yarmouth (4-1), York (6-1) and at home Saturday to Freeport, 3-2.

Entering play, since the start of the 2001 season, Greely had won 21 times, Cape Elizabeth 10 and two other games ended in ties. The Capers had gone 6-1-1 in the past eight meetings, however, including the victory Sept. 14, which saw senior Julia Lennon tie the score with 46 seconds left and senior Taylor Young win it in OT.

Monday, on a frigid afternoon (56 degrees with a howling 20 mile-per-hour wind), Cape Elizabeth did just enough to snap its skid and get back in the win column.

It took over 10 minutes for the first shot to be registered when Greely sophomore Wren Payne sent a bid just wide.

After junior Lizzie Brown was denied by McGrath, Rangers junior Sydney Meredith-Pickett’s shot on a corner sailed high.

With 9:32 to play in the half, the Capers’ first good scoring chance resulted in a goal.

On its second penalty corner, Cape Elizabeth had Bozek insert the ball, it was sent on goal and a classic field hockey scrum ensued and ultimately ended with Bozek putting the ball into the cage for a 1-0 lead.

“I was inserting because our normal inserter wasn’t there,” Bozek said. “The ball went toward the goalie and I really wanted the ball to go in, so I just swept it in. It was kind of crazy.”

“That was so exciting,” said Bisogni. “(Katie’s) a great player who was in the right place at the right time. She’s usually all the way back on defense and can’t score.”

The Rangers had a 4-3 edge in shots and a 3-2 corners advantage in the first half, but trailed.

The second half featured Greely pushing for the equalizer and Cape Elizabeth holding it off.

After Brown missed wide a couple times, McGrath had to kick a loose ball out of the box.

With 9:17 left, a long shot from sophomore Maddy Perfetti was saved by McGrath.

Rangers coach Becki Belmore called timeout with 4:30 to play, hoping to inspire her charges to score a tying goal, but a promising cross from Brown hit a teammate’s foot and in the final minute, Cape Elizabeth was able to clear away a loose ball out of a scrum and the Capers went on to the 1-0 victory.

“The second half of the game was the most anxiety I’ve had by far,” said McGrath, who made nine saves. “They had some opportunities, but our defense has gotten awesome this year and we were able to hold them off.”

“Kinnon has come in and done a fantastic job in goal,” said Bisogni. “She stops any sort of momentum. We knew it would come down to the end and had we gone to overtime, they would have had all the momentum.”

Greely ousthot Cape Elizabeth, 9-3, and had a 5-2 edge in penalty corners. Sophomore goalie Kylie Rogers stopped a pair of shots.

“We didn’t capitalize on the few chances we had,” Belmore lamented. “Scoring goals has been an issue. We matched up nicely. We needed to put it in early and not wait until the end.

“We’re a young team. We’re a team of sophomores and juniors, playing teams who had five or six seniors starting. That will bode well for us. We had five overtime games and we came out 3-2. Maybe we need to play more overtimes. I think we’re a better team than our record, but it comes down to winning games.”

Let the fun begin

Greely will likely be ranked 10th for the playoffs and expects to visit Poland (8-5-1) in the preliminary round this weekend. Way back on Aug. 31, in the season opener, the Knights won, 3-2, in double overtime. The teams have no playoff history.

“We have to work on being the team we know we are,” Belmore said. “We’ll have to have confidence in ourselves and our teammates. Hopefully the travel component won’t be a factor.”

Cape Elizabeth projects to be the No. 9 seed in Class B South and will play at No. 8 Freeport (6-7-1) in the preliminary round. The Capers lost twice this year to the Falcons, 4-0, at home in the opener Sept. 6 and 2-1 at Freeport Oct. 4.  The teams have no playoff history.

“It’s an incredible feeling to go into playoffs with this team,” McGrath said. “We’ve gotten a ton of new players and we’ve played well together as a team. Everyone has a great attitude and we all love each other. We have to practice really hard this we and I think we could come out with a surprising win. We want to keep this going.”

“It’s so exciting,” Bozek said. “It’s my first year going into playoffs. I want us to go as far as we can and I think we can go far. We’ll go in and play as hard as we can, no matter what team we play.”

“This was a big win and it gets us ready for playoffs,” Bisogni added. “We have no pressure. We know what to expect. We’ll be ready to win and keep going.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Cape Elizabeth junior Katie Bozek battles Greely sophomore Maria Campbell for the ball. Bozek scored the game’s lone goal.

Cape Elizabeth senior captain Ellie Garfield sends the ball up the field.

Cape Elizabeth junior Erika Miller knocks the ball away from Greely junior Sydney Meredith-Pickett.

Greely junior Lizzie Brown and Cape Elizabeth junior Erika Miller reach for the ball.

Cape Elizabeth senior captain CJ Logue and Greely junior Isabelle Bachelder try to corral the ball.

Recent Greely-Cape Elizabeth results

@ Cape Elizabeth 3 Greely 2

Greely 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 0

@ Cape Elizabeth 1 Greely 0
@ Greely 1 Cape Elizabeth 1 (tie)

Cape Elizabeth 3 @ Greely 2 (OT)
@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Greely 0

Cape Elizabeth 5 @ Greely 4
@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Greely 0

Greely 4 @ Cape Elizabeth 1
@ Greely 2 Cape Elizabeth 0

@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Greely 1
@ Greely 1 Cape Elizabeth 0
Western B quarterfinals
@ Greely 4 Cape Elizabeth 3

@ Greely 1 Cape Elizabeth 0
Greely 1 @ Cape Elizabeth 0

Greely 1 @ Cape Elizabeth 0 (OT)
@ Greely 2 Cape Elizabeth 0

@ Cape Elizabeth 3 Greely 2
@ Greely 2 Cape Elizabeth 0

Greely 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 1
@ Cape Elizabeth 0 Greely 0 (tie)

@ Greely 4 Cape Elizabeth 0
Greely 4 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
Western B quarterfinals
@ Greely 3 Cape Elizabeth 0

Greely 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Greely 1 Cape Elizabeth 0

@ Greely 6 Cape Elizabeth 2
Greely 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 2 (OT)

Greely 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 1
Cape Elizabeth 3 @ Greely 2
Western B semifinals
@ Greely 6 Cape Elizabeth 0

Cape Elizabeth 3 @ Greely 2
Greely 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 1

Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.