Cape girls win state title; Cape boys, Scarborough girls denied

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Cape Elizabeth’s girls’ soccer team mobs Karli Chapin after Chapin’s overtime goal lifted the Capers to a 2-1 victory over Presque Isle in Saturday’s Class B state final. Cape Elizabeth won the championship for the first time since 2013.

Scarborough goalkeeper Nicole Young dives to make one of her 14 saves in Saturday’s Class A state final rematch versus Camden Hills. Despite Young’s heroics, the Red Storm fell on the big stage for the second year in a row, 1-0.

Cape Elizabeth’s Phil Tarling fights for the ball during the Capers’ 3-2 loss at Freeport in last week’s Class B South Final.

(Ed. Note: For the complete Cape Elizabeth-Freeport boys’ soccer and Cape Elizabeth-Presque Isle girls’ soccer game stories, see theforecaster.net)

Cape Elizabeth’s girls’ soccer team reached the pinnacle last week, while the Capers boys and Scarborough girls weren’t as fortunate.

Here’s a look back at the final games of the 2018 soccer season:

Persistence

After losing by a goal to eventual champion Yarmouth in last year’s regional final, Cape Elizabeth’s girls had a single focus, getting back to the big stage this season and winning it all.

The Capers won their 14 regular season games by a composite 50-2 margin. As the top seed in Class B South, they handled No. 9 Gray-New Gloucester, 3-0, in the quarterfinals, but the road got a lot tougher from there, as they had to rally from an early deficit to down No. 4 Yarmouth, 2-1, in the semifinals, then score twice late to knock off upset-minded, third-ranked York, 2-0, in Wednesday’s regional final. Prezli Piscopo and Karli Chapin had the goals.

“We trust the girls,” said Cape Elizabeth first-year coach Graham Forsyth. “We had great chances. We just told them to stay with it.”

The Capers advanced to Saturday’s state final against a Presque Isle squad which lost, 9-0, to Yarmouth in last year’s finale.

Cape Elizabeth found the going much tougher against the Wildcats.

The Capers controlled play the first 40 minutes, but after hitting the crossbar on four separate occasions, Cape Elizabeth went into the half scoreless.

“We hit the crossbar more times today than some teams do in a season,” Forsyth lamented.

Then, when the Wildcats staggered the Capers less than nine minutes into the second half, potential defeat was staring the favorites in the face.

But Chapin didn’t let Cape Elizabeth’s title dream go unfulfilled.

First, she soared above the crowd as only she can to head home freshman sensation Maggie Cochran’s feed with 19:53 remaining.

“We knew we were capable of coming back and winning,” Chapin said. “It was a cross and I was just trying to keep it down so I wouldn’t hit the crossbar again. I was just trying to redirect it away from the goalie.”

Then, after the Capers couldn’t win it in regulation, the contest went to overtime and 11 minutes, 14 seconds into the first of a possible two “sudden victory” extra sessions, Chapin struck again, this time with her right foot, as she took a pass from Cochran and swept a shot past Presque Isle goalkeeper Savannah Rodriguez and into the goal to win it, 2-1.

“Their goalie is very good, so I just had to get it away from her,” said Chapin, who also played a huge role in Cape Elizabeth’s girls’ lacrosse title run back in June. “We kept attacking the whole game. We knew we’d get one more if we kept our heads up and we stayed positive.”

“I wasn’t surprised it was Karli,” Piscopo said. “Her foot and head are a magnet to the ball. She’s always in front of the ball and we can always count on her to put it in. I had no doubt she could score.”

Cape Elizabeth finished a franchise-best 18-0, ended the Wildcats’ season at 14-2-2 and won its first Gold Ball in five years and seventh overall in unforgettable fashion.

“Relief came right away and exhilaration right after that,” said senior captain Grace Gillian. “It’s an unbelievable feeling I don’t think I’ll get from anything else. It’s a feeling I can’t describe. We put in 110 percent work out there. I couldn’t ask for more from a team.”

“The girls fought when things didn’t go their way,” Forsyth said. “We trust the girls and they trust us. We didn’t change the game plan. The girls were excellent all year. I could rely on them. It was a very good relationship.”

Cape Elizabeth will be hungry to look to repeat for the first time since 1996-97.

“We’ll have the same mindset next season and we’ll try to get the same thing done,” Chapin said.

“We have good sophomores and juniors and freshmen coming back next year, so we’ll be tough,” Forsyth said. 

Familiar refrain

Scarborough, meanwhile, also went 14-0 this fall and as the top seed in Class A South, repeated as regional champion by ousting No. 9 Noble (3-1) in the quarterfinals, fourth-ranked Windham (1-0, in overtime) in the semifinals and last Wednesday, No. 3 Cheverus, 3-1, in the regional final. 

Against the Stags, the teams were scoreless at halftime and Cheverus took the lead in the second half, but Ashley Sabatino, Molly Murnane and Leah Dickman countered to help the Red Storm reach the state final for the eighth time.

“Cheverus played very well,” said Murnane, a senior. “This is the first time we were really worried. As soon as they scored, we put our heads down for a second and then we decided, ‘No, not any more.’ “

In Saturday’s state game, Scarborough hoped to avenge last year’s 3-2 setback to Camden Hills, but the Windjammers managed to repeat with a 1-0 victory. Camden Hills scored early, but Red Storm goalkeeper Nikki Young made 14 saves, many in acrobatic fashion, to keep Scarborough’s hopes alive. Ultimately, the Red Storm couldn’t score and fell a goal short, as they finished 17-1.

“My kids gave it a great effort,” said Scarborough coach Mike Farley. “We defended really well as a team and made some mistakes here and there, but for the most part covered for each other, blocked passing lanes and really played with some desperation and grit. Camden is a fantastic offensive team and they tested my players from start to finish. We planned to defend hard and keep the score close, going for it in the last 20 minutes, but we could never get the field really turned around. Nikki played a great game and really made some saves when we pushed players forward that kept us in the game.

“Our season as a whole, came as a pleasant surprise to me. We graduated seven starters from last year and this year starting in the summer, I could tell that this group was going to be good and just pick up where we left off. We won every game in a very tough SMAA for the first time since 2010 and made it back to the state game. I couldn’t be more proud of the team and the efforts of all the players.”

The Red Storm will try again in 2019 and will likely make another deep playoff run.

“We’ll lose another five starters and some very big players from our program’s success over the last couple years, but we have a number of younger players that stepped up and played some big minutes this year, so I think we’ll have a really good competitive group next year that will push to get back to the same place again,” Farley said.

Tough luck

Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ team, ranked fourth in Class B South, blanked No. 5 Lincoln Academy, 5-0, in the quarterfinals, then sprung the upset of the tournament when they ended top-ranked Yarmouth’s four-year title reign, 2-1, in the semifinals.

In last week’s regional final at No. 2 Freeport, the Capers put forth another strong 80-minute effort, but fell just short.

Cape Elizabeth dug a two-goal deficit, but battled back to tie thanks to goals from Killian Lathrop and Phil Tarling. The Falcons then retook the lead with 15 minutes remaining and this time, the Capers couldn’t answer, as they finished 9-5-3 after a 3-2 setback.

“We made it tight and made it come down to the end,” Cape Elizabeth coach Ben Raymond said. “A couple plays here and there they were quicker to the ball and it paid off for them. Freeport’s a hard team to deal with. They’re very well-coached and they’re organized. They put us under pressure, but we worked hard to get back in it. We pushed to the end, but it just didn’t happen.

“We accomplished a lot, but we came up a little bit short. I hope the guys can look back in a couple weeks and be proud of our season. The way we improved from beginning to end, they did a great job. The kids got a heck of a lot better. Practices were always fun. They looked forward to competition. It’s tough to lose no matter when it is, but a lot of teams would like to trade places with us and have the opportunity we had tonight. We went a long way.”

The Capers graduate a lot, but the 2019 squad will be primed to make another run at a coveted championship.

“We lose some great seniors and it’ll be a hard group to replace, leadership-wise and ability-wise, but we have a really strong group coming back,” Raymond said. “Kids who got a lot of time and kids who understand what’s expected of them. Hopefully they can carry it a little bit farther next year.”

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

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