Cape holds off Falmouth, seizes inside track for homefield advantage

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Cape Elizabeth’s boys’ lacrosse team celebrates a goal during Saturday night’s 8-5 win at Falmouth. The Capers avenged a loss to the Yachtsmen from earlier this season and ascended to the top spot in Class B South.

Chris Lambert photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Cape Elizabeth 8 Falmouth 5

CE- 4 1 0 3- 8
F- 0 2 1 2- 5

First quarter
10:57 CE Boeschenstein (unassisted)
7:55 CE Carroll (Raymond)
4:00 CE Perkins (O. Thoreck) (MAN-UP)
18.2 CE Brydson (C. Thoreck)

Second quarter
4:17 F Arrants (Russell)
3:30 F Scribner (H. Farnham)
9.0 CE O. Thoreck (Hare)

Third quarter
7:31 F N. Farnham (Russell) (TWO MEN-UP)

Fourth quarter
8:56 CE C. Thoreck (O. Thoreck)
8:22 F Russell (Mainella)
7:30 F Arrants (Scribner)
6:27 CE O. Thoreck (unassisted)
5:09 CE O. Thoreck (unassisted)

Goals:
CE- O. Thoreck 3, Boeschenstein, Brydson, Carroll, Perkins, C. Thoreck 1
F- Arrants 2, N. Farnham, Russell, Scribner 1

Assists:
CE- O. Thoreck 2, Hare, Raymond, C. Thoreck 1
F- Mainella, Russell 2, H. Farnham

Faceoffs (Cape Elizabeth, 10-5)
CE- Spencer 10 of 15
F- Pierce 5 of 15

Ground balls (29-29)
CE- Perkins, Spencer 4, Avantaggio, Ekedahl, C. Thoreck, O. Thoreck, Weatherbie 3, Bates, Spidle 2, Boeschenstein, Price 1
F- Zinn 7, Hickey, Russell 3, G. Fitzgerald, T. Fitzgerald, Pierce, Reed, Scribner 2, Ciraulo, N. Farnham, Langdon, Spiegel, L. Tucker, R. Tucker 1

Turnovers:
F- 22
CE- 16

Shots:
F- 21
CE- 31

Shots on cage:
F- 14
CE- 20

Saves:
CE (Price) 9
F (L. Tucker) 12

FALMOUTH—Over the span of nine games this spring, the Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth boys’ lacrosse teams have, as expected, demonstrated that they have no peer in the state of Maine.

And in two head-to-head matchups, there has been almost no separation between the Capers and Yachtsmen.

Which means that Act III is bound to be unforgettable.

After Falmouth, the defending Class B state champion, came from behind on the road to win the first meeting last month, the teams squared off again on the Yachtsmen’s home turf in a Saturday night special and this time, Cape Elizabeth came away victorious.

And in the process, the Capers took a big step toward securing homefield advantage for the highly anticipated regional final next month.

On a beautiful night, in front of a huge gathering of lacrosse aficionados, Cape Elizabeth came out sizzling on offense and behind goals from senior Jeb Boeschenstein, junior Ben Carroll, junior Tate Perkins and junior Jacob Brydson, grabbed a seemingly commanding 4-0 lead after one quarter.

But the Capers know as well as anyone that no lead is safe against the prolific Yachtsmen and to the surprise of no one, Falmouth clawed its way back.

After being held scoreless for nearly 20 minutes, the Yachtsmen got quick goals from seniors Nate Arrants and Jack Scribner to gain some momentum, but with just 9 seconds to go before halftime, Cape Elizabeth senior standout Owen Thoreck scored to the put the Capers up, 5-2, at the break.

Falmouth’s defense blanked Cape Elizabeth in the third quarter and the hosts drew back within two goals on a goal from senior Nick Farnham.

Unlike the previous two meetings, however, the Capers weren’t going to give up the lead.

Owen Thoreck started the fourth period by setting up his twin brother, senior Connor Thoreck, to make it 6-3, but senior Devin Russell and Arrants scored in a 52-second span to cut the deficit to 6-5 and make things very interesting.

Cape Elizabeth had an unexpected advantage, however, as late in the third quarter, Yachtsmen junior defensive standout Brendan Hickey had to leave the game with a leg injury, and that gave Owen Thoreck enough freedom to put the win on ice.

Thoreck scored unassisted with 6:27 to play, then struck again with 5:09 remaining and the Capers’ defense did the rest, stymieing Falmouth the rest of the way and Cape Elizabeth went on to an 8-5 victory, which left each team’s record at 8-1.

“I would assume we’ll have to do it again,” said longtime Capers coach Ben Raymond. “Our two teams are the best two teams without a doubt. We’re the only close game the other has had. At times, the level of play is really great. It’s good lacrosse at a fast pace. The kids work hard and they’re tough. It’s great to see.”

The middle act

Cape Elizabeth-Falmouth Act I lived up to billing, even in miserable weather, as the Yachtsmen rallied to beat the host Capers, 9-8, April 26 on an Arrants’ goal with 5:32 to play.

Since then, both teams have dominated.

Cape Elizabeth got in the win column with a 13-6 victory at defending Class A champion Scarborough, then handled host Kennebunk (17-1), visiting York 18-2) host Yarmouth (17-0), visiting South Portland (16-2), host Greely (17-6) and visiting Waynflete (22-0). 

Falmouth has decimated its non-Cape Elizabeth opposition, with one exception. Prior to meeting the Capers, the Yachtsmen opened with decisive home wins over York (27-1) and Messalonskee (19-8). After winning in Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth downed host South Portland in a crossover, 12-10, before handling visiting Yarmouth in a state game rematch (16-6), and downing visiting Freeport (14-3). The last two games resulted in shutouts at Waynflete (17-0) and Lake Region (20-0).

Entering play Saturday night, Cape Elizabeth held a 22-9 all-time record against Falmouth (see sidebar, below), but since 2010, the Capers had only captured 13 of 22 meetings.

After dropping two in a row to its rival, Cape Elizabeth this time was able to grab an early lead and hold on to it.

The temperature was an ideal 66 degrees at the start of the game and the Capers came out hot, getting the ball first thanks to a faceoff win from senior Cole Spencer and working it around until Boeschenstein shook a defender and fired a shot past Yachtsmen senior goalie Liam Tucker for a 1-0 lead just 63 seconds in.

After Perkins hit the post seconds later and Hickey made a key defensive save, Cape Elizabeth went up by two when a combination synonymous with the Cape Elizabeth program, be it on the field or the coaching staff, junior Finn Raymond (son of head coach Ben) to Ben Carroll (son to assistant coach Charlie), combined for a goal.

The Capers had a chance to add to the lead after a Falmouth penalty, but Tucker robbed Owen Thoreck.

The hosts then got a great opportunity with 5:40 remaining in the frame, when two Cape Elizabeth players drew penalties, but Capers senior goalie Sam Price denied Scribner.

With 4 minutes to play in the quarter and Scribner sidelined with a slashing penalty, the Capers produced a man-up goal to take a three-goal lead, as Owen Thoreck set up Perkins.

After Falmouth first-year coach Dave Barton called timeout, Cape Elizabeth kept the pressure on and with 18.2 seconds remaining, Connor Thoreck passed to Brydson for a goal that made it 4-0.

The Capers then had a chance to pull away in the second period, as they had a two-man advantage to start the quarter and they were shooting at Tucker, who had to look into the sun, but Tucker made a save on a Connor Thoreck shot and the Yachtsmen stayed alive.

Finally, with 4:17 to play before halftime, Arrants got the hosts on the board, finishing a feed from Russell, to cut the deficit to 4-1.

A mere 47 seconds later, in transition, Henry Farnham set up Scribner for a shot that Price couldn’t stop and just like that, a 4-0 game became a 4-2 contest.

But Cape Elizabeth wrested back a little momentum in the waning seconds of the half, as junior David Hare passed to Owen Thoreck, who scored with just 9 seconds to go to make it 5-2 at halftime.

In the first half, the Capers had a 20-14 edge in ground balls and a 16-10 shots advantage, but six Tucker saves kept Falmouth close.

The third quarter featured a lot of penalties, but only one goal.

Cape Elizabeth again went two-men up early in the second half, but Tucker denied Carroll.

The Yachtsman went two-men up later in the third period and they capitalized, as with 7:31 on the clock, Russell fed Nick Farnham to cut the deficit to 5-3.

Freshman Tom Fitzgerald had a chance to draw Falmouth even closer, but Price denied his shot and after Tucker robbed Perkins, Yachtsmen junior Lou Mainella hit the post and Price stopped a bid from sophomore Reilly Tucker on the doorstep in the final minute to keep it a two-goal game heading for the final stanza.

While Falmouth appeared to have momentum, in reality, the Yachtsmen’s chances had been severely hindered when Hickey went down with an undisclosed leg injury in the waning moments of the third quarter.

“Brendan’s injury came when we were gaining some steam,” Barton said. “He’s the heart and soul of our team. He’ll do everything he can to get back out there.”

Hickey did his best to cheer his teammates on to victory from the sidelines, but the Capers were able to close it out.

With 8:56 to play, Owen Thoreck fought through two defenders and passed to Connor Thoreck, who caught the low toss before shooting the ball past Tucker for a 6-3 lead.

Falmouth was able to counter, as Mainella set up Russell for a goal 34 seconds later.

Then, with 7:30 to go, Scribner passed to Arrants, who whistled a shot past Price and just like that, the Yachtsmen were only down one, 6-5.

It appeared as if deja vu was in the offering for the Capers.

“I don’t think we do anything differently when we’re in the lead,” Ben Raymond said. “We don’t stop going to the goal or try to kill time. Liam just made some saves. When they got close, that’s why.”

Then, with all the pressure on Cape Elizabeth, Owen Thoreck put the onus on his shoulders and led the Capers to victory.

First, with 6:27 on the clock, after collecting a loose ball in front, Thoreck beat Tucker for a 7-5 lead and a little breathing room.

Then, with 5:09 remaining, Thoreck caught the defense on its heels, got some room and wouldn’t be denied to extend the lead back to three goals.

“We’ve really focused on our shooting at practice,” Thoreck said. “Coach has stressed that we need to make our shooting percentage go up. We had to make the ‘one more’ (pass) and take a good shot. Hickey being out affected us. He’s a great defender and he can shut me down at times. We tried to spin it around and run the clock down and secure the win.”

“Owen’s success had a lot to do with Hickey not being in the game,” Ben Raymond said. “When he’s in the game, it’s a big difference. (He and sophomore Riley Reed) can defend Connor and Owen. When Hickey’s not on him, it’s hard to stay with Owen.”

The Yachtsmen weren’t able to get possession, thanks to Spencer winning faceoffs for Cape Elizabeth and only had one good look the rest of the way, as with just under a minute to go, Russell was denied by Price.

The Capers ran out the clock from there and celebrated an 8-5 victory.

“We knew it was Falmouth’s Senior Night and we love to come here and compete,” Owen Thoreck said.

“In these tight games, we still panic and try to do things really fast,” Ben Raymond said. “They closed the gap and we acted like we had to score quickly.”

Owen Thoreck scored three times and assisted on two other goals to lead the way.

Boeschenstein, Brydson, Carroll, Perkins and Connor Thoreck also tickled the twine. Hare, Finn Raymond and Connor Thoreck added assists.

Spencer won 10 of 15 faceoffs and along with Perkins, had a team-high four ground balls.

“Cole made things easier for us at the faceoff,” Ben Raymond said. “He won a bunch of them and we got possession.”

The Capers had a 31-21 shots advantage (20-14 on cage) and only committed 16 turnovers in a hostile setting. Price made nine saves and got a lot of help from his defense, keyed by seniors Ben Ekedahl and Peyton Weatherbie and junior Ethan Avantaggio.

“Really, it was just another game,” Ekedahl said. “We were trying to stay even keel the entire game, not too high, not too low, and we came out with a win. Something we’ve tried to do lately is talk more. The first time we played them, we weren’t ready defensively. We’ve worked on our defensive schemes and on talking more and it showed tonight. From the first game to now, we’re a much better team. Cole was really big tonight. That was key. “

“I have to give credit to our defense,” Owen Thoreck said. “They played a great game, especially man-down. Sam is an amazing goalie. Offensively, we limited our turnovers. We tried to bear down.”

“Defensively, we played well and that was big,” Ben Raymond added. “Ben did a great job on Scribner and Ethan did an outstanding job on Farnham. They got looks, but not like the first game and they didn’t get the transition opportunities they had the first game. We did a great job in between the boxes where we struggled last game. For me, seeing that we’re continuing to improve is the important thing.”

Not their night

Falmouth’s offense was paced by two goals from Arrants and one apiece from Nick Farnham, Russell and Scribner. Mainella and Russell had two assists each, which Henry Farnham set up one goal. Junior Emmett Zinn had a game-high seven ground balls. Tucker made a dozen saves.

The Yachtsmen were done in in part by 22 turnovers.

“We were down at halftime and we’d been there before, but it just wasn’t our night,” Barton said. “Credit to them, they moved the ball on offense and they played their aggressive defense, attacking us on the perimeter and we didn’t handle it well. Our focus this week was to string some passes together and it just wasn’t there tonight. Their goalie made some saves inside and that energized them. I think the MVP of the night was Cole Spencer. He killed us. Our defense played great the first time and it was stellar tonight. We do a good job keeping teams at bay, but we have to learn to play complementary lacrosse.”

Next one’s the big one

The teams will almost certainly meet again June 14 in the Class B South Final, which in the minds of most will be the de facto state championship game and could be the most highly anticipated contest in the history of Maine high school lacrosse.

Both squads hope to close out the regular season triumphant.

Falmouth (now second in the Class B South Heal Points standings) plays at Kennebunk Friday and visits Yarmouth May 30 before closing at home versus Greely June 1.

“We need to do everything in our power to make sure we get a rematch,” Barton said. “I don’t think homefield is as big of a deal as in the past with us both playing on the same surface. We’re comfortable playing at Hannaford Field. It’s not a typical road game. If we play them, that means we’re playing good lacrosse to get there  It will be a battle.”

Cape Elizabeth (first in Class B South) is back in action Friday at home versus Greely. After going to Wells May 30, the Capers close at home versus Yarmouth June 2.

“We’re happy right now, but we’re moving on,” Ekedahl said. “We know we need to get better because we’ll play them again.  Homefield is important, but we won’t let it get to our heads. I love playing on our turf. I’d rather play there than anywhere else. I think it will be a lot of fun.”

“I haven’t played a (regional final) on any field other than ours,” Owen Thoreck said. “The atmosphere is great. There are more fans than I can count. We treat the regional final as the state game. We take all season to prepare for that game.”

“These guys understand that we’re getting better every day and that makes us a dangerous team,” Ben Raymond added. “We’d rather play at home, especially because it’s really hard to see the lines here. It will depend on some of the other teams. We had Wells and they had Lake Region. They had Messalonskee and we had Scarborough, so I think we’ll probably end up above them.

“We want to continue to improve. We’ll see what we did well this game. We had a few breakdowns, but against a team like Falmouth, it’s not that we were bad, but that they’re really good. To hold a team to five goals, we should win. I’m sure they’re thinking that they should win if they held us to eight goals. We’ll get to play one more. It will be great.”

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

Cape Elizabeth junior Tate Perkins shoots wide on Falmouth senior goalie Liam Tucker.

Cape Elizabeth junior Finn Raymond is defended by Falmouth sophomore Riley Reed.

Falmouth freshman Tom Fitzgerald tries to get around Cape Elizabeth junior David Hare.

Falmouth senior Nico Ciraulo tries to swat the ball away from Cape Elizabeth junior Jacob Brydson.

Cape Elizabeth junior Ben Carroll gets a step on a Falmouth defender.

Recent Cape Elizabeth-Falmouth meetings

2017
Falmouth 9 @ Cape Elizabeth 8

2016
@ Cape Elizabeth 11 Falmouth 9 
Cape Elizabeth 13 @ Falmouth 5
Class B South Final
Falmouth 7 @ Cape Elizabeth 5 

2015
Cape Elizabeth 19 @ Falmouth 11 
Falmouth 11 @ Cape Elizabeth 9 
Western B Final
@ Cape Elizabeth 12 Falmouth 4 

2014
@ Cape Elizabeth 12 Falmouth 8
Cape Elizabeth 12 @ Falmouth 10
Western B Final
@ Cape Elizabeth 11 Falmouth 8

2013
Cape Elizabeth 11 @ Falmouth 10 (OT)
@ Cape Elizabeth 9 Falmouth 6
Western B Final
@ Cape Elizabeth 9 Falmouth 8 (OT)

2012
@ Cape Elizabeth 8 Falmouth 6
@ Falmouth 14 Cape Elizabeth 12
Western B Final
@ Falmouth 10 Cape Elizabeth 9

2011
@ Falmouth 12 Cape Elizabeth 4
@ Cape Elizabeth 8 Falmouth 7 (OT)
Western B Final
@ Falmouth 11 Cape Elizabeth 9

2010
Falmouth 11 @ Cape Elizabeth 4
@ Falmouth 9 Cape Elizabeth 7 
Western B Final
Cape Elizabeth 7 @ Falmouth 6 (OT)

2009
@ Cape Elizabeth 6 Falmouth 3
Western B Final
@ Cape Elizabeth 11 Falmouth 7

2008
Cape Elizabeth 12 @ Falmouth 5

2007
Cape Elizabeth 8 @ Falmouth 4

2006
Cape Elizabeth 10 @ Falmouth 3

2005
@ Cape Elizabeth 8 Falmouth 3
Cape Elizabeth 12 @ Falmouth 2

2004
@ Cape Elizabeth 13 Falmouth 4

2002
Cape Elizabeth 13 @ Falmouth 2

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