KENNEBUNK—Momentum is a funny thing in sports.
It can disappear as quickly as it arrives.
After enjoying a week to remember, Cape Elizabeth’s girls’ lacrosse team took what it thought was momentum to the site of the program’s finest hour Wednesday evening, but in a matter of minutes, the Capers realized that they’re not the team to beat in Western Class B.
The Kennebunk Rams have that honor and they look as if they’ll be almost impossible to stop.
In a rematch of last year’s epic regional final, won in overtime by Cape Elizabeth, the host Rams earned a measure of revenge, as they broke a 2-2 tie and erupted for seven goals in just over 17 minutes to turn a tight game into a comfortable 9-2 lead at halftime.
While the Capers played hard to the end, they weren’t able to make a run in the second half and Kennebunk cruised to a 15-6 triumph.
The Rams got four goals apiece from junior Jenny Bush and sophomore Kyra Schwartzman, improved to 6-0 and dropped Cape Elizabeth to 4-2 in the process.
“Kennebunk’s a strong program,” said Capers first-year coach Alex Spark. “They move the ball really well. I think we were a step or two behind and a team like that only needs one or two inches. They place the ball.”
Last spring, Cape Elizabeth won arguably the biggest game in franchise history on Kennebunk’s field, eking out a palpitating 8-7 overtime decision in the Western B Final. That was the Capers’ first win over the Rams this century (see sidebar, below) and came at a most opportune time.
While Kennebunk was stung by that loss, the Rams channeled their disappointment into becoming a championship caliber team this spring and so far, they look like exactly that.
Kennebunk opened by dominating Gould Academy in the opener, 16-7, then enjoyed a rare win at nemesis Waynflete, 8-4. After an 18-1 home win over Wells, the Rams won at defending Class B champion Yarmouth, 10-7, and at home over defending Class A champion Massabesic in an overtime thriller, 11-9.
Cape Elizabeth handled visiting Freeport, 12-6, then lost at York, 10-5. After completing a suspended game with a 6-5 home victory over Greely in triple overtime, the Capers rallied to stun host Falmouth, 7-6, and downed visiting Gorham, 13-8.
Wednesday, Cape Elizabeth was seeking its first regular season win at Kennebunk this millennium, but instead, the Rams stayed perfect and looked nearly perfect in doing so.
The Capers struck first, as freshman Chloe Chapin took a pass from senior Lindsay Stewart and beat Kennebunk junior goalie Bella Kudas just 43 seconds in for a quick 1-0 lead.
That would prove to be Cape Elizabeth’s lone advantage of the night.
A minute later, Schwartzman scored for the first time, unassisted, and with 21:51 to play in the first half, the Rams took their first lead, as junior Liv Sandford beat Capers senior goalie Kate Bosworth.
Just 52 seconds later, senior Taylor Herrera set up classmate Emma Landes to tie the score, 2-2, but Cape Elizabeth soon saw the game slip away.
With 19:51 remaining before halftime, Schwartzman found Sandford for the goal which put Kennebunk ahead for good.
The Rams were just getting started.
After Kudas stopped a game-tying bid from Landes, Bush set up junior Carly Sandler for a goal which made it 4-2.
Bush scored her first goal, on a rebound, with 14:11 to play before halftime.
Schwartzman added a goal with 12:43 showing and Spark called timeout, but it didn’t help.
With 9:50 left, Bush finished a feed from Sandford.
With 6:43 to go, Schwartzman converted a free position.
Then, with 2:30 remaining, Bush scored on a free position and Kennebunk took a commanding 9-2 advantage to the break.
Any Capers’ comeback hopes were immediately dashed at the start of the second half, as Schwartzman scored unassisted 42 seconds in and with 21:38 to play, freshman Hallie Schwartzman found sophomore Gabby Fogg for a goal and an 11-2 lead.
With 20:36 left, Landes finished a feed from Stewart to end the Rams’ 9-0 run and a 25 minute, 23 second drought, but Bush set up Sandford at 19:53 and 33 seconds later, Bush’s free position goal made the score 13-3, inducing a mercy rule running clock.
That lasted until Cape Elizabeth drew within nine with 13:36 left, as Stewart set up Herrera.
The Rams scored twice more, as senior Hayley Fecko scored unassisted and Sandler set up sophomore Marran Oakman, which more than negated two final Capers’ goals, an unassisted tally from Herrera and a score with 11.3 seconds to go from freshman Emily Healy (set up by classmate Addie Hayes).
Kennebunk then celebrated its 15-6 victory.
“We took a lot of how it felt to lose last year on this field and we just got ahead and kept pushing,” said Kyra Schwartzman. “We work as a team. No one tries to do it themselves. We keep the ball hot and look for 1-v-1s. We have the ability to play as a team and we have a well-rounded team. We have a solid defense, a solid attack that can put the ball in the net and we’ve worked a lot on our transition.”
“We just talked about (last year) briefly and I reminded them of how we lost to them,” longtime Rams coach Annie Barker said. “They’re hard to read. I couldn’t really figure them out. We knew we had to stop (Landes) and stop (Deschino) on transition.”
For Kennebunk’s offense, Bush had four goals and two assists, while Kyra Schwartzman added four goals and one assist. Sandford had three goals and one assist, while Fecko, Fogg, Oakman and Sandler finished with one goal apiece. Sandler and Hallie Schwartzman also assisted a goal. Kudas made seven saves and the Rams enjoyed a 14-9 draws advantage, with Bush doing most of the work. Kennebunk put 25 shots on cage to just 13 by Cape Elizabeth.
The Capers got two goals apiece from Herrera and Landes and one each from Chapin and Healy. Stewart finished with three assists, while Hayes and Herrera had one each. Bosworth made 10 saves.
“We just had some turnovers,” Spark lamented. “That’s something we just need to get a hold of and the girls know that. We have our moments of greatness. We did great things against a great team and we’ll focus on changing our mistakes before our next game.”
The second half of the season looms and both teams will be challenged in the weeks to come.
Kennebunk (first in the Western Class B Heal Points standings) goes to Messalonskee for a crossover game Saturday, hosts Fryeburg Academy Tuesday and has a pivotal game at York Thursday of next week. After welcoming Falmouth, the Rams visit North Yarmouth Academy and close at home versus Greely.
“We’re not satisfied yet,” Kyra Schwartzman said. “We have to work as a team even better. We have to keep working hard and never let up. We’re putting it all together. We graduated four solid defenders last year, but it says a lot about our coaching staff and the caliber of girls we have that we can fill those spots and still be solid.”
“I think our heads are together and we’re clicking,” Barker said. “We still need to have everybody develop and not turn the ball over.”
As for Cape Elizabeth (ranked fourth at press time), it returns to action Monday, but faces a challenge from a Waynflete squad it has never beaten at home (the Capers did snap a 12-year, 24-game losing streak against the Flyers in last year’s semifinal in Portland). After going to Fryeburg Academy, Cape Elizabeth hosts Wells, goes to Yarmouth for a state game rematch, visits Marshwood, then closes at home versus Falmouth.
“We just need to keep the ball on our sticks more,” Spark said. “We’ll have a good weekend of practice. The girls are good at letting it go. We have something new to focus on. They’ll be ready to play.”
Cape Elizabeth freshman Chloe Chapin is defended by Kennebunk sophomore Marran Oakman.
Cape Elizabeth senior Rhoen Fiutak races upfield as Kennebunk junior Liv Sandford keeps pace.
Cape Elizabeth senior Taylor Herrera leaps and scores.
Cape Elizabeth senior Emma Landes is chased by Kennebunk freshman Hallie Schwartzman.
@ Kennebunk 14 Cape Elizabeth 11
Western B Final
Cape Elizabeth 8 @ Kennebunk 7 (OT)
Kennebunk 7 @ Cape Elizabeth 6
West Region semifinals
@ Kennebunk 11 Cape Elizabeth 8
West Region semifinals
@ Kennebunk 11 Cape Elizabeth 10
Kennebunk 14 @ Cape Elizabeth 10
West Region South Division quarterfinals
@ Kennebunk 19 Cape Elizabeth 10
Kennebunk junior standout Jenny Bush shoots on Cape Elizabeth senior goalie Kate Bosworth during the Rams’ 15-6 win Wednesday, Bush had four goals as the Rams earned a small measure of revenge for last year’s playoff ouster.
Ben McCanna photos.
More photos below.
CE- 2 4- 6
K- 9 6- 15
24:17 CE Chapin (Stewart)
23:18 K K. Schwartzman (unassisted)
21:51 K Sandford (free position)
20:59 CE Landes (Herrera)
19:51 K Sandford (K. Schwartzman)
16:27 K Sandler (Bush)
14:11 K Bush (unassisted)
12:43 K K. Schwartzman (unassisted)
9:50 K Bush (Sandford)
6:43 K K. Schwartzman (free position)
2:30 K Bush (free position)
24:18 K K. Schwartzman (unassisted)
21:38 K Fogg (H. Schwartzman)
20:36 CE Landes (Stewart)
19:53 K Sandford (Bush)
19:20 K Bush (free position)
13:36 CE Herrera (Stewart)
9:20 K Fecko (unassisted)
5:28 K Oakman (Sandler)
3:58 CE Herrera (unassisted)
11.3 CE Healy (Hayes)
CE- Herrera, Landes 2, Chapin, Healy 1
K- Bush, K. Schwartzman 4, Sandford 3, Fecko, Fogg, Oakman, Sandler 1
CE- Stewart 3, Hayes, Herrera 1
K- Bush 2, Sandford, Sandler, H. Schwartzman, K. Schwartzman 1
Shots on cage
CE (Bosworth) 10
K (Kudas) 7