CAPE ELIZABETH—Cape Elizabeth’s girls’ lacrosse team took the field Monday afternoon sporting a 1-1 record, a whole lot of uncertainty and only modest respect from the pundits.
Fast forward five days and the defending Western B champion Capers suddenly look like world-beaters.
After beating Greely in overtime in the completion of a suspended game and earning an inspirational one-goal victory at Falmouth, Cape Elizabeth welcomed Gorham for a crossover battle Saturday afternoon at Hannaford Field and put a bow on a week to remember.
The Capers never trailed, but couldn’t pull away in the first half due to an abundance of turnovers.
The Rams pulled within two goals twice in the second half, but goals from senior Lindsay Stewart, sophomore Hannah Bosworth and senior Emma Landes opened it up and Cape Elizabeth slammed the door on a 13-8 victory, its third in a row.
Landes led all scorers with five goals, eight different Capers tickled the twine and senior goalie Kate Bosworth made eight timely saves as Cape Elizabeth improved to 4-1 on the season, dropping Gorham to 2-2 in the process.
“It’s been a great week,” Landes said. “We’ve practiced our composure, worked as a team and trusted each other and I think that’s made the difference. It’s been a great confidence booster.”
Cape Elizabeth stole headlines last June when it made a surprising run to a first ever Class B Final, which it lost, 13-10, to Yarmouth. Graduation took its toll on the program which also underwent a coaching change, as Jeff Perkins was replaced by Kate Spark.
The Capers opened the season April 16 against visiting Greely and 50 minutes of regulation and six more minutes of overtime resolved nothing as the teams were deadlocked, 5-5. The officials mistakenly called the game a tie, but girls’ lacrosse games can’t end in a tie.
Before the game was made up, Cape Elizabeth handled visiting Freeport, 12-6, then lost at York, 10-5. Monday, Greely came back to town, but it took only 27 seconds for sophomore Mariah Deschino to score in “sudden victory” overtime to produce a 6-5 victory. Wednesday, the Capers rallied to stun host Falmouth, 7-6, on a late Deschino goal.
“We knew Falmouth was good,” said Landes. “That built up our confidence. That was great for us.”
Western A contender Gorham lost at Marshwood in its first outing, 10-6, then won at home against Thornton Academy (8-4) and South Portland (13-7).
Last spring, Cape Elizabeth went to Gorham and won a crossover, 14-12.
Saturday, the Capers won by a larger margin, but it was anything but easy.
Cape Elizabeth scored first, when Hannah Bosworth set up freshman Chloe Chapin just 2 minutes, 19 seconds in. Senior Kirsten Rudberg added a goal with 20:52 to go in the first half, but just when it appeared the Capers were going to seize control of the game, they started throwing the ball away and as a result, the Rams were able to hang around.
It took nearly 10 minutes for Gorham to register a shot, a bid from sophomore Marina Pappalardo which Kate Bosworth saved.
The Rams did break through with 15:09 to go in the half, when Pappalardo set up senior Reagan Emerson for a goal.
Landes’ first goal, on a free position with 14:22 left in the half, restored a two-goal lead, but Gorham got an unassisted goal from Pappalardo with 10:14 remaining and another from senior MacKenzie Collins 47 seconds later to make it 3-3.
The Rams almost took the lead with 8:46 to go, but Bosworth denied sophomore Emma Smith.
Then, with 7:56 left in the half, Landes finished a feed from Deschino and Cape Elizabeth was on top to stay.
“Emma is our undercover senior, who doesn’t get as much publiciity as others,” said Spark. “I’ve had the opportunity to coach her in travel (lacrosse). I know what she’s capable of. It’s great to see her step up and make big plays.”
Rudberg added an unassisted goal at 6:55, but Gorham got a goal back with 4:50 to play, as Collins finished a feed from freshman Amelia Pappalardo to make it 5-4.
That’s as close as the Rams would get, however, as the Capers closed the half on a 3-0 run.
One minute after Collins scored, Deschino raced in and set up senior Taylor Herrera for a goal. After Rudberg won the ensuing draw, Deschino grabbed the ball, again raced into the offensive zone and this time did it herself, beating Gorham junior goalie Allison Sinnett for a 7-4 lead. Landes then scored on a free position at 1:16 to allow Cape Elizabeth to double up the Rams at the half.
The Capers had statistical advantages in draw controls, ground balls and saves in the first half, but 11 turnovers kept Gorham within reach.
The Rams refused to go quietly in the second half, but Cape Elizabeth rose to the challenge.
After Sinnett robbed Landes to start the new half, Marina Pappalardo sent a pass toward sophomore Audrey Perrault, only to see it deflect off a Caper and ricochet past a startled Bosworth to cut the deficit to 8-5.
After Deschino was denied by Sinnett, Pappalardo scored unassisted and Gorham was only down two.
Collins and Pappalardo had chances to make it a one-goal game, but Bosworth stopped both bids.
Then, with 16:07 to play, Stewart set up freshman Susie Graham for a goal which snapped a 10 minute, 9 second drought and made the score 9-6.
The Rams again crept within two with 11:14 remaining, when Pappalardo set up Smith, but a little over a minute later, with 9:52 to play, Deschino fed Stewart for a goal and a 10-7 lead.
After Kate Bosworth stopped a shot from Emerson, Hannah Bosworth scored on a free position with 5:09 to go and 41 seconds later, Stewart set up Landes for a 12-7 lead.
Gorham’s final goal came with 3:33 left, when Pappalardo scored unassisted, but Landes scored her fifth goal with 1:57 left and the Capers closed it out, 13-8.
“We knew coming in that we had to keep it going,” Landes said. “Gorham is tough. We knew it we be a good game. We’ve practiced on constantly moving and working and keeping the energy up.”
“It feels good having such a big win in the middle of the week then coming up against a team like Gorham who fights to end and luckily win a tough battle,” Spark said. “We got caught back on our heels with a couple mental lapses, but all it took was a couple Gorham goals for our girls to check back in and realize that this was our game and make the plays we wanted.”
Landes had five goals, but she had plenty of offensive company. Rudberg scored twice, while Hannah Bosworth, Chapin, Deschino, Graham, Herrera and Stewart all tickled the twine once.
“We miss our seniors who graduated last year, but everyone’s stepped up,” Landes said.
Deschino finished with four assists, Stewart added two and Hannah Bosworth had one.
Kate Bosworth was her usual clutch self with eight saves.
Rudberg was solid in the draw circle, winning 13 of 23 opportunities. The Capers collected 40 ground balls to 25 for the Rams (Rudberg had a game-high nine and Landes finished with five) and had a 17-16 edge in shots on frame (Gorham had an overall shots advantage of 25-17). Cape Elizabeth managed to overcome 20 turnovers.
“Every practice and every game we’ve had, I’ve voiced to the girls to avoid unforced turnovers because they’re so crucial,” Spark said. “All our turnovers were us literally just giving them the ball. When we didn’t give them the ball, we stayed ahead. I tell the girls to take the extra second and think before the shot or pass. We’ll improve on that. We’ll get more and more in control of our game.”
Gorham got three goals from Marina Pappalardo, two from Collins and one apiece from Emerson, Perrault and Smith. Marina Pappalardo had three assists and Amelia Pappalardo had one. Shields had a team-high six ground balls, while Perrault collected five. Sinnett made four saves. The Rams committed 15 turnovers.
Keeping it going
Gorham returns to action Tuesday, when Scarborough pays a visit. The Rams also host Bonny Eagle and Falmouth next week.
As for Cape Elizabeth, it has two tough tests upcoming, at Kennebunk Wednesday for a rematch of last year’s thrilling Western B Final, then a home tilt versus Waynflete May 18, in a rematch of last year’s epic regional semifinal.
“We have some great new players,” said Landes. “We’ve all had to step up. We still have things to work on. They’re simple things we can fix. We’ll keep working.”
“We have two amazing programs coming up,” Spark said. “We have a lot of practice to work on things. We’re definitely getting better. It’s good to see.”
Cape Elizabeth senior goalie Kate Bosworth and senior defender Brette Lennon pressure Gorham senior MacKenzie Collins.
Cape Elizabeth sophomore Mariah Deschino rushes up the field.
Cape Elizabeth sophomore Hannah Bosworth scores on a free position in the second half.
Cape Elizabeth senior Taylor Herrera fights through three Gorham defenders.
Cape Elizabeth senior Emma Landes races in for a shot. Landes led all players with five goals.
Cape Elizabeth senior Kirsten Rudberg splits a pair of Gorham defenders.
Cape Elizabeth senior goalie Kate Bosworth is congratulated by her teammates after the Capers beat Gorham Saturday afternoon, 13-8, for their third win in a row.
Cape Elizabeth 13 Gorham 8
G- 4 4- 8
CE- 8 5- 13
22:41 CE Chapin (H. Bosworth)
20:52 CE K. Rudberg (unassisted)
15:53 G Emerson (M. Pappalardo)
14:22 CE Landes (free position)
10:14 G M. Pappalardo (unassisted)
9:27 G Collins (unassisted)
7:56 CE Landes (Deschino)
6:55 CE K. Rudberg (unassisted)
4:50 G Collins (Am. Pappalardo)
3:50 CE Herrera (Deschino)
3:37 CE Deschino (unassisted)
1:16 CE Landes (free position)
23:20 G Perrault (M. Pappalardo)
19:01 G M. Pappalardo (unassisted)
16:07 CE Graham (Stewart)
11:14 G Smith (M. Pappalardo)
9:52 CE Stewart (Deschino)
5:09 CE H. Bosworth (free position)
4:28 CE Landes (Stewart)
3:33 G M. Pappalardo (unassisted)
1:57 CE Landes (unassisted)
G- M. Pappalardo 3, Collins 2, Emerson, Perrault, Smith 1
CE- Landes 5, K. Rudberg 2, H. Bosworth, Chapin, Deschino, Graham, Herrera, Stewart 1
G- M. Pappalardo 3, Am. Pappalardo 1
CE- Deschino 4, Stewart 2, H. Bosworth 1
Draws (Cape Elizabeth, 13-10)
G- Collins 6 of 15, Shields 4 of 8
CE- K. Rudberg 13 of 23
Ground balls (Cape Elizabeth, 40-25)
G- Shields 6, Perrault 5, Emerson, Libby 3, Darasz, At. Pappalardo, Shiers, Smith 2
CE- K. Rudberg 9, Landes 5, Chapin, Deschino, Fiutak 4, Lennon 3, K. Bosworth, Herrera, Lavallee, Stewart 2, Dadmun, Dell’Aquila, Hayes 1
Shots on cage:
G (Sinnett) 4
CE (Bosworth) 8