Cape Elizabeth’s girls’ lacrosse team unleashes a celebration two decades in the making after senior Emily Healy’s overtime goal produced a 12-11 victory over Yarmouth in Saturday’s Class B state final.
Mike Strout photos.
More photos below.
CE- 7 4 1- 12
Y- 4 7 0- 11
24:06 CE C. Chapin (Graham)
23:09 Y Groothoff (Lane)
22:20 Y Groothoff (free position)
21:40 CE Graham (unassisted)
20:23 CE Sarka (Healy)
14:31 CE Healy (unassisted)
12:03 CE K. Chapin (Thoreck)
9:45 Y Marston (unassisted)
8:52 CE Graham (K. Chapin)
8:30 Y Groothoff (Then)
7:41 CE Healy (free position)
24:30 CE Healy (unassisted)
22:42 Y Lane (Thornton)
21:32 Y Elder (Lane)
17:32 Y Then (free position)
13:49 CE C. Chapin (unassisted)
12:51 Y Groothoff (Then)
11:54 CE K. Chapin (unassisted)
9:00 Y Then (free position)
5:04 Y Lane (unassisted)
3:52 Y Elder (Lane)
47.0 CE Healy (free position)
42.9 CE Healy (unassisted)
CE- Healy 5, C. Chapin, K. Chapin, Graham 2, Sarka 1
Y- Groothoff 4, Elder, Lane, Then 2, Marston 1
CE- K. Chapin, Graham, Healy, Thoreck 1
Y- Lane 3, Then 2, Thornton 1
CE- C. Chapin 13 of 26
Y- Lane 6 of 14, Then 7 of 12
Shots on goal:
Shots on cage
CE (Foley) 8
Y (Serrano) 4
PORTLAND—Two years removed from a three-win season, Cape Elizabeth’s girls’ lacrosse team is on top of the world.
In the sweetest way possible.
While at the other end of the spectrum, Yarmouth is shaking its head, wondering what it has to do to get back to the pinnacle.
Saturday afternoon at Fitzpatrick Stadium, the two best teams in Class B put on a memorable show, one which needed more than 50 minutes to decide, in a game which ended in exhilaration and controversy.
And produced a first-time champion after a contest that won’t soon be forgotten.
The Capers came out strong behind a goal from senior Chloe Chapin, but the Clippers, still stinging from a state game upset loss to Kennebunk last June, answered behind a pair of goals from sophomore Ehryn Groothoff.
Cape Elizabeth then rattled off four consecutive goals, as seniors Susie Graham, Madison Sarka and Emily Healy and sophomore Karli Chapin all scored for a 5-2 advantage.
After Yarmouth senior Emma Marston and Graham traded goals, Groothoff scored again, but a late tally from Healy put the Capers up, 7-4, at halftime.
Cape Elizabeth started the second half strong as well, as Healy scored 30 seconds in, but the Clippers would roar to life, getting goals from seniors Meredith Lane, Greta Elder and Eva Then to cut the deficit to one.
After Chloe Chapin restored the two-goal lead, Groothoff again pulled Yarmouth within one, 9-8, but again, the Capers answered, as Karli Chapin scored unassisted.
After Then scored the 100th goal of her career, Lane tied the score with 5:04 remaining and with 3:32 to play, Elder finished a feed from Lane and put the Clippers on top.
Yarmouth then had a chance to run out the clock, but couldn’t keep the ball and with 47 seconds left, a Healy free position tied it, 11-11, and forced overtime.
There, with less than a minute to go in the three-minute, “sudden victory” session, the Clippers had the ball and tried to call timeout, but the whistle never blew and Cape Elizabeth forced a turnover, got the ball to Healy and Healy raced up the field and into Capers’ lore, scoring an unassisted goal with 42.9 seconds left to give her team a stunning 12-11 victory.
Healy scored five times as Cape Elizabeth finished 10-5, ended Yarmouth’s season at 12-3 and won a title for the first time in the Maine Principals’ Association-sanctioned era and just the second time in program history.
“The girls were hungry,” said Capers coach Alex Spark. “I couldn’t ask for anything more. I’m so excited. This is awesome. It feels so good.”
In a season which saw Class B boast several strong teams, it was the top two seeds who ultimately advanced to the big stage.
Yarmouth, the five-time defending regional champion, entered the season still thinking about last year’s 5-4 state game loss to Kennebunk, the Clippers’ only blemish in an otherwise-perfect season.
This year’s group, despite working through some growing pains, put it all together as the season progressed and shook off early losses to Class A South powers Kennebunk and Massabesic and closed on a seven-game win streak to earn the top seed in Class B (see sidebar, below, for previous game stories). Yarmouth then handed No. 9 Brunswick, 14-1, in the quarterfinals and fourth-ranked Messalonskee, 17-10, in Wednesday’s semifinals to advance.
Cape Elizabeth, which was eliminated from last year’s Class B South semifinals by Kennebunk, opened with a dramatic overtime home win over York, then had its share of close losses, but the Capers’ 7-5 record was good enough to earn the second seed in Class B and after ousting No. 7 York, 12-7, in the quarterfinals, Cape Elizabeth had just enough to survive No. 3 Greely, 9-8, in Wednesday’s semifinals.
The teams squared off May 9 in Cape Elizabeth, with Yarmouth winning, 9-6, its third straight victory over the Capers. Lane led the way with three goals. Elder added two goals and two assists and freshman Annie Lowenstein scored twice. Healy had two goals for Cape Elizabeth.
The Capers and Clippers did battle in a memorable Class B state final in 2014, as Yarmouth held off a furious late rally to prevail, 13-10, behind six goals from Grace O’Donnell (Abby McInerney set a new record for state game scoring with eight in a losing cause). The teams also met in the 1998 state semifinals (an 8-7 Clippers’ victory).
Yarmouth was taking part in its 16th state final (dating to 1993, see sidebar, below, for previous results). The Clippers won state titles in 1996 (5-4 over Waynflete), 2001 (13-8 over Kennebunk), 2006 (12-5 over Waynflete), 2007 (7-5 over Kennebunk), 2011 (9-8 over Waynflete), 2014 (13-10 over Cape Elizabeth) and 2015 (11-10, in overtime over Kennebunk) and lost in 1993 (11-8 to Gould), 1994 (7-6 to Waynflete), 1995 (6-5 to Waynflete), 1998 (13-8 to Waynflete), 1999 (5-3 to Waynflete), 2013 (7-4 to Waynflete), 2016 (7-5 to Kennebunk) and last year.
Cape Elizabeth, meanwhile, was taking part in just its second-ever state game in the MPA-sanctioned era (dating to 1998). The Capers did win a Division I crown in 1997, beating Back Bay, 11-8.
Saturday, on a picture perfect 81 degree afternoon, the teams produced a 1-hour, 43-minute masterpiece of twists and turns, big saves, clutch goals and ultimately an individual effort that will long be hailed.
Yarmouth hoped to avoid the slow start which doomed it a year ago and seize control of the game, but Chloe Chapin won the opening draw and got the ball back, courtesy Graham, before beating Clippers junior goalie Izzy Serrano just 54 seconds into the game for a quick 1-0 advantage.
Yarmouth quickly responded, as Lane set up Groothoff for the tying goal with 23:09 left in the first half and 49 seconds later, Groothoff sent a free position shot past Cape Elizabeth junior goalie Erin Foley for a 2-1 lead.
It didn’t last.
With 21:40 remaining in the half, Graham tied the score, unassisted, and with 20:23 on the clock, Healy set up Sarka to put the Capers on top.
After Then and Elder missed free position shots wide, Healy scored her first goal, unassisted, with 14:31 left in the half and after Lane hit the post and Foley denied Lowenstein, sophomore Julia Thoreck set up Karli Chapin for a 5-2 advantage with 12:03 to go, forcing Yarmouth coach Dorothy Holt to call timeout.
That settled the Clippers down and after Lowenstein had a free position shot saved by Foley and Foley robbed Groothoff, Marston picked up a ground ball and sent the ball into the net to cut the deficit to two with 9:45 remaining.
Graham got the goal right back with 8:52 on the clock, finishing a pass from Karli Chapin, making it 6-3.
“We knew we had to come out strong,” said Graham. “We wanted to rattle them a little bit once we got the momentum.”
Just 22 seconds later, Groothoff scored (from Then), but with 7:41 left in the half, Healy’s free position goal re-established a three-goal margin.
Late in the half, Foley stopped shots by Elder, Then and Marston and Cape Elizabeth took a 7-4 lead to the break.
In the first half, Yarmouth had a 15-9 edge in shots (10-7 on cage), but Foley’s six saves helped the Capers hold the lead.
Cape Elizabeth went up by four goals just 30 seconds into the second half, as Chloe Chapin won the draw and Healy scored unassisted, but the Clippers soon reminded everyone whey they were the top seed in the region.
With 22:42 to play, in transition, Thornton set up Lane to cut the deficit to 8-5.
With 21:32 on the clock, Lane threw a high pass which Elder caught before shooting past Foley to make it a two-goal game.
Four minutes later, Then scored the 99th goal of her career, on a free position, and Yarmouth was within one.
Lowenstein looked to tie the game with 16:06 left, but Foley made a huge save.
The Capers got an insurance goal with 13:49 on the clock, as Chloe Chapin scored unassisted, but 58 seconds later, Then set up Groothoff to make it 9-8.
The Clippers continued to be frustrated when Karli Chapin scored unassisted to push the lead back to two goals with 11:54 remaining, but they would go on another surge to take the lead.
First, with 9 minutes to play, Then earned a free position and buried the shot, joining Danielle Torres (134) and Grace O’Donnell (106) as Yarmouth players to score 100 career goals.
“It’s amazing and (Eva) deserves it,” Holt said.
More importantly, Then pulled the Clippers within one and with 5:04 to go, Lane scored unassisted to complete the comeback and make it 10-10.
Yarmouth won the ensuing draw and ground ball wins from Elder and senior Hannah Corey kept possession before Lane set up Elder in front for the go-ahead goal and an 11-10 lead with 3:32 remaining, giving the Clippers their first lead since the score was 2-1.
Then it was up to Yarmouth to hold on.
Then won the ensuing draw to Elder and the Clippers ran the clock under two minutes before turning the ball over.
With 1:27 to play, Karli Chapin earned a free position, but Serrano made her biggest save to preserve the lead.
When Elder stripped the ball seconds later and Yarmouth regained possession, the Clippers were on the verge of closing out their victory, but Yarmouth gave the ball right back and Karli Chapin got possession.
The ball then came to Healy and with 47 seconds to go, she was awarded a free position and she beat Serrano to tie the game for the fourth and final time, 11-11.
“Alex told me to go for it and I wanted to take the shot,” Healy said. “She’s trained me so well to get in close. That’s what I did.”
When Then won the ensuing draw to Elder, the Clippers had a chance to win it, but with 17.5 seconds left, Foley made the biggest in a series of huge saves, denying Groothoff, and the game would go to overtime.
Yarmouth would win possession, as Then got the draw to Elder, but the Clippers’ bid to win it was interrupted by Foley, who intercepted a pass, giving the ball back to Cape Elizabeth.
With 1:27 left in the three-minute OT, Karli Chapin shot high.
Fourteen seconds later, Serrano denied Sarka.
Yarmouth then ran up the field, as Groothoff tried to get the ball in the offensive zone as Holt and her assistants tried to get the officials’ attention to call timeout.
They never got it.
“It was unfortunate,” Holt said. “It was clear. I was screaming, everybody heard it, but I’ll never blame the refs. Officials do a great job and it’s a hard job and I wouldn’t want to do it.”
Chloe Chapin got the ball away from Groothoff and junior Grace Gillian pounced on it and passed it to Healy.
And Healy made her run into immortality.
Healy would race into the offensive zone and when no defender got in her way, she bore down on Serrano one-on-one before firing a low shot into the net with 42.9 seconds on the clock.
“I remember driving in and the corner was wide open,” Healy said. “I saw the net and Alex trained us to go for the corners and that’s what I did. I wanted the game to be over. I couldn’t believe it. It feels just incredible, but what’s more incredible is just playing with my teammates. It makes me so emotional. To come all this way. The reason I was able to score was because my team had my back and they trusted me.”
“We had a play in mind and then she just ran in,” Graham said. “I would have been mad if she didn’t make it, but she did. She’s so good at driving.”
“(Emily’s) just the kid who always wants it,” Spark added. “I’m so happy for her. I preach corners all the time. The attackers get frustrated when they hit the goalie’s stick. I tell them to look at the cage and shoot for the corners.”
At 2:42 p.m., Cape Elizabeth was Class B state champion by virtue of a 12-11 upset victory.
“We’ve waited for this for four years,” Graham said. “We came together as a team and we made it. I wouldn’t want to go out any other way. The whole team deserves it. None of us ever thought we could lose. We all thought we could win.”
“It’s an incredible feeling,” Foley said. “I couldn’t be more proud of Emily. In the end, everyone was rooting for us. I got texts from teammates from my club team. It’s a season for the underdog. Yarmouth is so incredible. We worked so hard for each win and we know what it takes to come out on top in a game with so much pressure. It’s not easy to get to states. This was our year. We pushed so hard and we made it and I’m so proud. Our resilience got us out on top. We never give up. We don’t give up until the buzzer sounds and 0 is on the clock.”
“We knew how strong Yarmouth is and we talked about how important momentum was and we kept it going,” Healy said. “The thought of winning this and the idea of beating Yarmouth kept us going. We were confident going into overtime. We’ve been in quite a few. We weren’t nervous. We went out and got it.”
“We came out energetic,” Spark added. “To get those goals to give ourselves a cushion really helped. When we got tired, the mental game came into play. We only focus on what task we have next. Never about wins, losses, just the next game to play. We lost some big games and we won some big games and we sat in the middle of the pack. All our focus today was on Yarmouth.”
Healy led all scorers with five goals in her swan song. She overcame a leg injury to excel.
“I tend to get injured a lot,” Healy said. “I didn’t practice the past two days and I had a hard time against Greely. I had (Cape Elizabeth athletic trainer) Lisa (Mims) shocking my muscles and the Yarmouth athletic trainer (Sarah Holmes) helped too. That made a difference.”
Chloe Chapin, Karli Chapin and Graham all added a pair of goals, while Sarka finished with one.
Karli Chapin, Graham, Healy and Thoreck all had one assist.
Foley finished with eight saves, all of them critical.
“The first two goals I let up were good shots, so I said to myself after that I’d get the next one,” Foley said.
“You have to hand it to Erin and the defense for holding them off,” Healy said. “Erin always comes up big. She’s incredible. She never wavers. She pumps us up. She’s such a leader.”
Chapin won 13 draws as the final tally read 13-13.
Junior Brooke Harvey had a team-high six ground balls, while Thoreck collected five.
The Capers only committed 15 turnovers.
For Yarmouth, Groothoff had four goals, while Elder, Lane and Then bowed out with two apiece. Marston added one goal.
Lane had three assists, Then finished with two and Thornton had one.
Serrano made four saves.
The Clippers had a 39-23 advantage in ground balls (Elder had a game-high eight, while Corey and Then had five apiece).
Yarmouth had a 25-19 shots advantage (19-16 on cage) and only turned the ball over 14 times.
“Cape deserved to win,” Holt said. “We had ample opportunity to win it. You have your time to win the game and you have to win it when you have that opportunity. We didn’t win it. I thought we were evenly matched. It comes down to composure and we lost our composure and didn’t hold on to the ball.
“We dominated the second half. The girls played well, great team defense. I couldn’t ask any more from my team. Half of these girls weren’t on this team last year. My eight seniors, some of them didn’t see the field in last year’s championship game. I’m proud we made it here.”
Cape Elizabeth’s program, meanwhile, is loaded with young talent, so it’s likely the 2018 squad will be joined as champions by another Capers version in the not too distant future.
“We’ll try for two in a row,” said Foley. “Losing all of our attackers will be tough to overcome, but we’ll come back and work even harder. We’ll be up for the challenge.”
Yarmouth junior Abi Thornton tries to keep the ball from Cape Elizabeth sophomore Julia Thoreck and junior Tori McGrath.
Cape Elizabeth senior Karli Chapin rushes in for a shot.
Yarmouth senior Eva Then scores on a free position to reach the 100 career goal plateau.
Cape Elizabeth senior Emily Healy shoots and scores.
Yarmouth sophomore Ehryn Groothoff and Cape Elizabeth junior goalie Erin Foley go for a loose ball.
Yarmouth senior Eva Then and Cape Elizabeth senior Chloe Chapin fight for the ball.
Cape Elizabeth junior Brooke Harvey possesses the ball.
Yarmouth junior goalie Izzy Serrano makes one of her four saves.
Yarmouth senior Meredith Lane tries to chase down the ball as Cape Elizabeth junior Tori McGrath defends.
Cape Elizabeth junior goalie Erin Foley makes one of her eight saves.
Cape Elizabeth senior Emily Healy and sophomore Julia Thoreck celebrate a goal.
Yarmouth senior captains Callie Decker, left, Hannah Corey and Greta Elder receive the runner-up trophy.
Cape Elizabeth senior captains Susie Graham, left, Emily Healy and Chloe Chapin show off the championship trophy.
2014 Class B Final
Yarmouth 13 Cape Elizabeth 10
1998 State semifinal
Yarmouth 8 @ Cape Elizabeth 7
Yarmouth 13 Cape Elizabeth 10
Cape Elizabeth 11 Back Bay 8
Kennebunk 5 Yarmouth 4
Kennebunk 9 Yarmouth 7
Yarmouth 11 Kennebunk 10 (OT)
Yarmouth 13 Cape Elizabeth 10
Waynflete 7 Yarmouth 4
Yarmouth 9 Waynflete 8
Yarmouth 7 Kennebunk 5
Yarmouth 12 Waynflete 5
Yarmouth 13 Kennebunk 8
Waynflete 5 Yarmouth 3
Waynflete 13 Yarmouth 8
Yarmouth 5 Waynflete 4
Waynflete 6 Yarmouth 5
Waynflete 7 Yarmouth 6
Gould 11 Yarmouth 8