FALMOUTH—As the Cape Elizabeth field hockey program has taken great strides the past three seasons, one thing the Capers couldn’t manage to do was defeat rival Falmouth.
Saturday afternoon, Cape Elizabeth paid the Yachtsmen a visit and found itself behind in the sixth minute, but this time, the Capers had the answers.
Midway through the first half, a nice effort from senior Taylor Herrera tied the score and 4:47 into the second half, sophomore Hannah Bosworth finished a long feed from senior Caroline Garfield to give Cape Elizabeth the lead.
Then, for over 25 minutes, the Capers had to hold on.
There were some anxious moments, none more scary than when dangerous Falmouth sophomore Sydney Bell had a great look on a penalty corner with just over two minutes to play, but Cape Elizabeth senior goalie Mary DiPietro stood tall and the Capers held on for a 2-1 victory.
The Capers beat the Yachtsmen for the first time since the 2010 campaign, improved to 2-0 on the young season and dropped Falmouth to 1-1 in the process.
“We all pulled together,” DiPietro said. “Falmouth’s always an amazing team. Coming to their home turf and beating them is an amazing feeling. Our team chemistry has grown a lot. All the girls are extremely close. It’s a group effort. We don’t have just one outstanding player.”
Both teams made it to their respective semifinal round a year ago and while both have holes to fill this autumn, each expects to make a deep playoff run again.
Cape Elizabeth, which finished 11-5 in 2013 after losing, 4-0, to Spruce Mountain in Western B, opened the new season Wednesday with a 1-0 home win over Gray-New Gloucester, on a goal from Bosworth.
Falmouth, which enjoyed its best-ever record (13-3) last fall (a season which ended with a 2-0 loss to Massabesic i the Western A semifinals), handled host Fryeburg in its first 2014 outing, 5-1, Wednesday.
Last year, the Yachtsmen beat the Capers twice, 1-0 (in double overtime) at Cape Elizabeth and 1-0 at home.
Saturday, Cape Elizabeth was looking to beat Falmouth for the first time since a 2-1 home victory Oct. 8, 2010. The last time the Capers had won in Falmouth was Sept. 7, 2010 (1-0).
Cape Elizabeth managed to finally get the better of the Yachtsmen, but it sure didn’t come easily on a day which was bursting at the seams with heat and humidity.
Falmouth appeared to be in good shape when its senior standout, Elle Fitzgerald, scored just 5:30 into the contest, but this time, the Capers stayed confident.
“I think that’s what actually woke us up,” Bosworth said, of the game’s first tally. “We had hard games against them last year and when they scored first, that put in our minds that this was our game and we needed to step up.”
That belief was rewarded with 12:32 to go before halftime, when Herrera managed to beat Yachtsmen senior goalie Caroline Dyhrberg unassisted.
It was Cape Elizabeth’s first goal against Falmouth in five games, dating to Oct. 11, 2011.
With a little spring in their step, the Capers kept the pressure on in the second half and with 25:13 to play, took the lead.
The goal was set up by a long pass ahead from Garfield to Bosworth. Bosworth collected the ball and went one-on-one with Dyhrberg before finishing for a 2-1 advantage.
“I got in front of Caroline and screamed, ‘Through, through, through’ and she just tapped it and I just had to put it in,” Bosworth said. “It was a beautiful sound.”
The hosts hoped to answer, but with 12:16 to play, DiPietro robbed Falmouth sophomore Kate Kelley in front, four minutes later, Bell shot just wide and Cape Elizabeth managed to kill three Yachtsmen corners.
The final one came after a disputed call with 2:26 to go. The ball was inserted to Bell and she wound up and launched a shot that most on hand expected to hear rattle the cage, but DiPietro stuck out her pad and knocked the shot out of harm’s way, preserving the 2-1 lead.
“I just saw it coming and when it hit my pad, I was screaming in my head,” DiPietro said. “It was a ton of emotion.”
“I can’t say enough about Mary,” said Capers coach Darci Holland. “She made some big saves. She’s incredible. She has confidence as a senior. It’s only her second year of varsity, but you can see she’s put a lot of work into her position.”
Cape Elizabeth managed to run out the clock from there and finally got over the Falmouth hump.
“We’re really clicking,” Bosworth said. “We work really hard in practice and we push each other and it shows. This is a really big deal for us.”
“I think we’re surprising ourselves, honestly, at this point,” said DiPietro. “Darci always tells us to be optimistic. This will definitely will boost our energy.”
“It’s an awesome sign,” Holland added. “Gray the other day was a little rough, we were working out the kinks. Everything we’ve worked on in practice, we capitalized on here today. I was pretty psyched about that. We have eight seniors with experience. They’re our mainstay. We have confident players. They played awesome today.”
Falmouth enjoyed an 11-7 edge in shots, got seven saves from Dyhrberg and had five corners to none for the Capers, but they wound up frustrated.
“Cape’s a tough team,” said longtime Yachtsmen coach Robin Haley. “They played very, very well today. It pointed out some things we need to work on. We have some new kids playing key positions. We had some chances. I’m proud of how the girls fought for it.”
DiPietro made eight saves on the day and credited her defensive mates for their efforts.
“I always have (senior) Rachel Garrity on the post,” DiPietro said. “(Senior) Julia Ginder is always running up and down the field. (Senior) Lily Jordan is always stopping balls. I’m lucky to have such a good defensive group.”
Falmouth hopes to bounce back Tuesday, when it goes to rival Greely. After hosting Kennebunk Thursday, the Yachtsmen welcome nemesis York Monday of next week.
They have the pieces in place for another successful season, but there is still work to do.
“We’ll keep working at it,” Haley said. “I think we have some really good leadership. I’m happy.”
Cape Elizabeth (which finds itself tied with York and Poland for first in the Western B Heal Points standings at press time) plays host to Poland Monday, visits Fryeburg Thursday, then has home games against Lake Region and Greely.
Look for the Capers to keep improving.
“I think we’ll keep building on the success we had last year,” said Bosworth. “I think we’ll keep progressing as a team and clicking as a unit. It’s really amazing to see. We all believe in each other.”
“Last year’s success has carried over,” Holland said. “We have to keep getting the ball in the circle, finish and score more than the other team.”
Falmouth sophomore Sydney Bell keeps Cape Elizabeth senior Julia Ginder away from the ball.
Cape Elizabeth senior Taylor Herrera knocks the ball away from Falmouth sophomore Maddie Rouhana.
Falmouth sophomore Kate Kelley steps into a shot.
Cape Elizabeth senior Aubrey O’Meara and Falmouth junior Keunjoo Kim fight for possession of the ball.
Cape Elizabeth senior Makayla Pinette sends the ball upfield.
Cape Elizabeth junior Megan Nicholson assumes a defensive position as Falmouth sophomore Devon Sarazin prepares to drive the ball.
Falmouth senior Ruth Smith finds some operating room.
Cape Elizabeth sophomore Taylor Young keeps the ball away from Falmouth senior Kate Lannon.
Falmouth 1 @ Cape Elizabeth 0 (2 OT)
@ Falmouth 1 Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Falmouth 4 Cape Elizabeth 1
Falmouth 4 @ Cape Elizabeth 1
@ Cape Elizabeth 1 Falmouth 0
Cape Elizabeth 2 @ Falmouth 1
@ Falmouth 0 Cape Elizabeth 0 (tie)
Falmouth 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Falmouth 1 Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Cape Elizabeth 3 Falmouth 2 (OT)
@ Falmouth 3 Cape Elizabeth 0
Cape Elizabeth 4 @ Falmouth 0
@ Falmouth 1 Cape Elizabeth 1 (tie)
Falmouth 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 1 (2 OT)
@ Cape Elizabeth 1 Falmouth 1 (tie)
Cape Elizabeth 1 @ Falmouth 0
Western B Southwest Division preliminary round
@ Cape Elizabeth 4 Falmouth 0
Cape Elizabeth senior goalie Mary DiPietro is mobbed by her teammates after the Capers hold on for a 2-1 win at Falmouth Saturday afternoon. The Capers, thanks in large part to a late DiPietro save, snapped a six-game losing skid at the hands of the Yachtsmen.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.