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Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough boys' lax reach regional final; SP ousted in semifinals

Sports

Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough boys' lax reach regional final; SP ousted in semifinals

Forecaster Country boys' lacrosse teams went one-for-two in the regional finals Wednesday night.

In Western B, top-ranked Cape Elizabeth answered No. 2 Falmouth's challenge and won 11-7 to earn a rematch with Yarmouth in Saturday afternoon's state game.

In Western A, No. 2 Scarborough wasn't as fortunate, as it lost decisively to top-ranked Portland for the second time this year, 14-1, to end its year at 11-4.

South Portland was sent packing by the Bulldogs Saturday in the semifinals.

On the verge

Cape Elizabeth's pedigree needs no introduction, but the Capers have gone a veritable eternity without a championship (2005 was the last one). Cape Elizabeth has lived in Yarmouth and Portland's shadow this spring, but still posted a solid 10-2 mark, which gave the Capers the top seed for the Western B tournament.

Saturday, 12 days after their most recent game, Cape Elizabeth overcame a sluggish start to eliminate No. 4 Waynflete, 14-2, behind four goals from senior Jon O'Hearn.

That set up a compelling regional final showdown Wednesday night. The Capers beat Falmouth 6-3 at home on May 6. The regional final was the first playoff meeting between the teams.

The teams were tied 2-2 after one quarter and 5-5 at the break, before Cape Elizabeth finally opened it up thanks to a 5-0 run in the third period, sparked by three goals and an assist from junior Tommy Foden. The visitors outscored the Capers 2-1 in the fourth, but it was too little, too late as Cape Elizabeth advanced, 11-7.

"It was definitely much closer than the final score said at the end," said longtime Capers coach Ben Raymond. "They were in it until the end. 

"Tommy was having some good success against his man early in the game so we diecided to go to him all the time until they changed. Then, they shut him off and that created space for our other guys."

One of those other guys, was senior All-American Mike Holden, who scored yhree goals and had three assists.

"Falmouth played very well in the first half," Holden said. "We found a weakness and that gave us some quick goals. We knew Tommy could get a step on his guy."

Cape Elizabeth will next meet Yarmouth (13-0) in Saturday's Class B Final at 3 p.m., at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

The Capers lost 8-6 at Yarmouth to start the year. Cape Elizabeth lost last years state game, 9-4, to the Clippers. Yarmouth also beat the Capers in the 2004 championship contest, while Cape Elizabeth downed the Clippers in the 1995, 1996, 1997, 2003 and 2005 state games.

"We're an entirely different team now and so are they," Raymond said. "They have some talented players. Both teams were really sloppy in the first game. 

"It's the same driving factor every single year. There's only been two years that we haven't played in the state game. The kids are used to it. That's our expectation. Our goal every year is to win our final game."

"We don't care who's No. 1," Holden added. "It doesn't mean anything. We're in the state game. That's all that matters. It's going to be exciting. They always give us a great game. We're a completely different team. I'm sure they are too. I expect a great game."

Scarborough is the defending Class A champion, but gave way to Portland as the top contender earlier in the year. The Red Storm enjoyed a 9-3 regular season which left them second in Western A. They advanced to the regional final by virtue of wins over visiting No. 7 Cheverus (12-1) and No. 6 Kennebunk (13-5).

Scarborough was humbled, 12-1, at Portland May 8, but was playing without senior star Jake Barrett that night. The Red Storm hoped to keep it much closer in the rematch, which was the third regional final in four years between the teams (they split the prior two), but it didn't happen as again the Bulldogs scored early and often and cruised to a 14-1 win.

Solid season

South Portland missed the playoffs in 2008, but returned this spring. After going 7-5, the Red Riots earned the No. 5 seed in Western A. Last Thursday, they played at No. 4 Thornton Academy and beat the Golden Trojans for the third time in as many playoff meetings, 9-5, as senior Ben Linscott scored three times.

Saturday was another matter entirely, as South Portland went to Portland for the semifinals.

The teams didn't play this year and had no prior playoff history.

South Portland senior goalie Tyler Bickford (18 saves) did his best to keep the Red Riots in the game in the early going, but the Bulldogs' amazing offensive balance soon broke it open.

Portland took an 8-0 lead after one quarter as eight different players scored.

By halftime, it was 14-0 and again the clock ran for the whole second half. South Portland finally got on the board in the final minute of the third period (junior Travis Wibby, unassisted), but by then, the Bulldogs were up 18-0. Chris Foster added a goal in the fourth, but Portland went on to a 20-2 victory.

"I was hoping (Portland) would come in and be a little less focused on their passes and we'd have a chance,"said South Portland coach Tom Fiorini. "They're a good team. They're skilled, well-disciplined and well-coached. They were the better team today."

The final statistics reflected the one-sidedness of the contest. Portland won 67 ground balls to just 16 for the visitors. The Bulldogs had a 19-6 edge in faceoffs won, a commanding 47-12 advantage in shots on goal and forced 26 turnovers.

Despite the loss, the Red Riots were very happy with what they accomplished in 2009.

"I'm very happy with the season," Fiorini said. "These kids are the best kids I've coached in awhile. They worked hard for me all season. I couldn't be any prouder of this group.

"I'm graduating seven. I have 11 juniors, a lot of freshmen and five sophomores. We'll be good next year. It's a learning experience. If you want to be a better team, you have to play the better teams. That's how it works."

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net