Yarmouth, Cape split lax doubleheader
CAPE ELIZABETH—Two of the state's premier lacrosse schools met in a girls'/boys' doubleheader Monday evening at Hannaford Field.
In the first game, the Yarmouth girls continued their early season transcendence with yet another sparkling offensive performance. For the third game in a row, the Clippers posted 16 goals. This time, they were paced by six apiece from senior standouts Becca Bell and Danielle Torres and improved to 3-0 with a 16-6 victory over Cape Elizabeth, which fell to 2-1.
The nightcap was preceded by a moment of silence in memory of Thomas Laprade, the father of Cape Elizabeth senior Wilson Laprade. The senior Laprade passed away unexpectedly Friday night, but for the second time in three nights, his son played and played extraordinarily well, scoring three goals and assisting on another as the Capers boys rolled to a 13-2 win over Yarmouth in a rematch of last year's Class B state final. It was the Clippers' lowest scoring production in eight seasons.
Yarmouth's girls have been exceptional this spring, overcoming slow starts to tickle the twine with abandon. The Clippers opened with a couple doses of revenge, winning at fierce rival, recent playoff nemesis and reigning Class B champion North Yarmouth Academy, 16-9, and at defending Class A champion Scarborough, which beat them last year, 16-11.
Cape Elizabeth planned to seriously challenge Waynflete for top honors in Western B this spring, but the Capers' hopes were dealt a serious blow in the preseason when senior standout Karyn Barrett suffered a season-ending knee injury. Cape Elizabeth handled visiting Fryeburg, 11-1, in the opener, then eked out a 5-4 overtime decision at Marshwood Friday.
Last year, Yarmouth romped over the visiting Capers, 18-8, their 10th win in a row in the series (dating to 2002).
Monday would be more of the same.
After digging a 3-0 hole Saturday at Scarborough, the Clippers scored first in this one as Torres converted a free position 1 minute, 48 seconds in.
Cape Elizabeth tied the score with 19 minutes to play in the 25-minute first half when sophomore Talley Perkins set up classmate Lauren Steidl for a shot which eluded Yarmouth senior goalie Stephanie Moulton. A minute, 10 seconds later, Perkins scored unassisted to give the Capers their lone lead, 2-1.
A free position goal from Bell with 17:21 to play tied the score anew. With 15:17 remaining, Yarmouth senior Natalie Salmon demonstrated her passing wizardry with a gorgeous feed through traffic to Torres, who fired a shot past Cape Elizabeth junior goalie Elin Sonesson to put the Clippers on top to stay.
Junior Claudia Lockwood scored unassisted with 12:03 left for a 4-2 lead. Capers junior Janessa White (from Steidl) answered with 11:18 to go, but the hosts wouldn't score again until late in the game, when the outcome was no longer in doubt.
Prior to halftime, Torres took over, scoring on a free position with 3:33 remaining, then picking up a loose ball and scoring with 35.7 seconds showing for a 6-3 advantage. Torres almost struck again in the waning seconds, but her bid with 4.7 seconds to go was turned aside by Sonesson.
"We knew we had to set the tone early," Torres said. "Personally (on free positions), I like to get it in really close. Coach is trying to get me to shoot further out. For now, I really like to get in close and get my perfect placement shot."
Yarmouth ended all doubt in the second half.
Just 61 seconds in, Salmon got in on the fun and scored unassisted. Two minutes later, Salmon found Torres for another goal.
"The feeds were beautiful today," Torres said. "Especially Natalie Salmon's. They were right on target. The attack set me up for perfect shots every time."
With 21:36 left, Salmon threw a pass from the wing that Somesson (perhaps screened by the setting sun) never saw. Lockwood collected it in front and with Sonesson looking to the side, scored the easiest goal she'll ever manage for a 9-3 lead.
Tallies from senior Devin Simsarian (unassisted), Bell (unassisted), Torres (from Bell), Bell (from Simsarian) and Bell (unassisted) pushed the advantage to 14-3 before Perkins scored on a free position with 4:56 remaining, ending a 31 minute, 22 second drought and the Clippers' 10-0 run.
Perkins (from White) and Steidl (unassisted) added goals to make it a 14-6 game, but Bell scored twice in 11 seconds (the first from sophomore Olivia Conrad, the second unassisted) to account for the 16-6 final score.
"I'd say it was shaky in the beginning," said Bell. "We definitely turned it around and regained our confidence. That was key for us. We've become a second half team, which isn't the norm for us based on other seasons. It's good to see. Our focus is on fewer turnovers and fouls and we're improving on those things."
"I'm really excited about this game," said Torres, who didn't even play the last 10-plus minutes. "It was such a low score at halftime. We wondered how the second half would go and we came on strong. We're happy with how we performed in the second half. We know Cape is always a strong, physical game."
"I think we were nervous," added Clippers coach Dorothy Holt. "We're on the road and we had to step it up and we did. We got ground ball controls today. We've worked hard on that. We didn't have a lot of turnovers. Cape's a great team. It was close for a half. I think it was closer than the score. The defense really stepped up. We controlled the midfield. Danielle and Becca had huge games. Devin took over defensively today. We're mixing it up. They're taking their turns. It took a team effort today to win. I'm pleased with how we stepped up."
Once again, Yarmouth's offensive onslaught featured several contributors as Bell and Torres both scored six times. Bell had seven goals versus NYA, so she was a goal short of her career high, as was Torres, who had seven goals a year ago versus York. Lockwood scored twice and Salmon and Simsarian each tallied once. Salmon had three assists, while Bell, Conrad and Simsarian all set up one goal. Bell had a team-high seven ground balls, while Torres grabbed six, junior Jeanna Lowery five and Simsarian and senior Anne Ryan four apiece. Moulton made eight saves, including six in the first half when the game was still hanging in the balance.
"Steph made some huge, game changing saves in the first half," said Holt.
"Steph is definitely one of our strongest players," said Bell. "Everyone trusts her and is confident in her making those big saves."
Cape Elizabeth was led by Perkins' three goals. Steidl added a pair, while White had one. Each scorer also had one assist. Perkins had a game-high eight ground balls, while senior Anna Darling finished with seven and senior Paris Bethel grabbed five. Sonesson made six saves.
In the draw circle, Yarmouth won 12 of the 23 encounters. Bell came out on top in 7-of-14 opportunities, Simsarian was 3-of-6 and Torres 2-of-3. Steidl won 10-of-18 draws for the Capers, Perkins 1-of-4.
The Clippers had a 44-38 edge in ground balls, forced 20 turnovers, while only giving the ball away 16 times and had a 26-15 shots advantage (22-14 on frame).
Cape Elizabeth looks to bounce back Friday at Wells.
Yarmouth plays the finale of its four-game road trip to open the season Thursday at perennial power Waynflete, which this group of Clippers' seniors have never beaten. Yarmouth's last victory over the Flyers came May 24, 2007 (12-5, at home).
"Our next game is a big one," said Bell. "We're looking forward to the challenge. We've been practicing on grass. Hopefully that will pay off. We've done really well on the road, but we're looking forward to having our first home game. This is our strongest year."
"We're loving this so far, but it's going to be so challenging the rest of the season," said Torres. "Each game will be more of a challenge. We have a lot to work on and improve on. We feel we get better each week. We have a few holes, but that's where we'll be focusing our attention. I've never beaten Waynflete. They're always a very skilled and composed team. It will be a big game for us. It will be a different game on grass. The ball bounces differently."
"We know we have a target on our back," added Holt. "We take it day by day. I look up to (Waynflete's 200-plus-game winning coach) Cathie (Connors). She's one of the coaches I strive to be like. She's phenomenal. These girls respect her as well and her team and it's going to be a good game."
The Clippers finally play a home game Saturday versus Falmouth.
Changing of the guard
Since 2003, Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth's boys' teams have engaged in 20 battles. In the 14 regular season games, the Clippers enjoyed a 10-4 edge, but in six state championship game meetings, the rivals each won three. A year ago, each team won the regular season meeting at home, then, in the Class B Final, the Capers eked out a 7-6 victory.
Cape Elizabeth was humbled in its 2011 opener, falling, 12-4, at Falmouth. The Capers bounced back with easy home wins over Freeport (14-0) and Kennebunk (15-2).
Yarmouth, in its first season under coach Steve Moore, opened with a 6-2 triumph at NYA, then defeated visiting York (9-4) and host Brunswick (10-2).
The Clippers hadn't suffered a lopsided loss to anyone since falling, 7-1, at Cape Elizabeth May 15, 2003, but Cape Elizabeth ended the competitive phase of this one by halftime.
Both goalies came up big in the early going as Yarmouth junior Alex Kurtz denied Capers seniors Casey O'Donovan and Teddy Smith on the doorstep and Cape Elizabeth senior Jack Roos turned aside a bid from Clippers junior Erik Canfield in front.
With 5:15 to play in the opening stanza, O'Donovan (from Laprade) beat Kurtz with the Capers playing a man-up and the hosts were ahead to stay.
It would remain a 1-0 game through one quarter, but Cape Elizabeth erupted for five goals in the second.
The first came 23 seconds in, again playing man-up, as junior Tim Lavallee did the honors unassisted. A minute, 15 seconds later, Smith scored his first goal of the night (assisted by senior Timmy Takach). With 6:39 left in the half, Smith (from Lavallee) scored. With 5:09 to go, Laprade scored another man-up goal (from Lavallee). Lavallee got back into the scoring action with 2:48 remaining, in unassisted fashion, and it was 6-0 at halftime.
"Going against Yarmouth, we always want to come out as fast and as hard as we can," said Smith. "They're our biggest rival. The whole team loves playing man-up. It's a fun time. We love moving the ball around. It gives us the extra edge we need. I feel like if we get an early flag on the other team, it helps us get an early goal that gets us going."
Things didn't get any better for the visitors in third period.
Just 45 seconds in, Laprade scored (from Lavallee). He added another goal 53 seconds later (unassisted) for an 8-0 bulge. Three straight Smith goals (assisted by O'Donovan man-up, Lavallee man-up, and Takacg in transition) pushed the lead to 11-0.
Finally, with 2:07 to go in the third, Yarmouth junior Sam Torres scored unassisted to end a 33 minute, 53 second drought and the Capers' 11-0 run.
Early in the fourth, Lavallee assisted on yet another goal, this one by sophomore Alex Bornick. With 8:16 to play, Takach scored unassisted. Clippers junior Bart Gallagher scored unassisted with 2:24 remaining to account for the 13-2 final score.
"We passed the ball around really well," said Laprade. "We have good shooters. We got everything done we needed to do. Rival games are always different because of the atmosphere."
"This is definitely a statement game after Falmouth," said Smith. "We were embarrassed after that game. We thought we were better than we were after a state championship. After getting set back against Falmouth, our mindset is in a better place right now."
Smith led all scorers with five goals. Laprade, however, was the biggest story, scoring three goals and adding an assist, despite his grief.
"Everyone's been really supportive," Laprade said. "Cape lacrosse has offered everything they have. It means a lot to know everyone's there for you. It's encouraging. I have to be able to go out there and be with my buddies. Everything's changing at home. It's good to be out here and be around my friends. Keep things like they were before."
"(Wilson's) one of my closest friends," said Smith. "We try to keep him going. I give him a ton of credit. We try to do the best we can to rally around him."
"Wilson's been outstanding," added Cape Elizabeth coach Ben Raymond. "He's just trying to keep some sense of normalcy around him. He has a great group of friends. There are 10 seniors who are really tight. What better place for him to come than here to forget about things for a couple hours a day. Unfortunately, we've been through things like this before with other boys and other families. The great thing about it is it's a close group of kids and coaches. We spend a lot of time together. We're helping him and his family as best we can. He wants for us to be normal. He played outstanding tonight and the other night. Wilson's role changes day-to-day. He rolls with it. He played attack for two quarters and was outstanding in that spot."
Lavallee had two goals (and five assists), Bornick, O'Donovan (one assist) and Takach (two assists) one goal apiece. Takach had a game-high eight ground balls. Lavallee finished with six. Junior Thomas Bottomley grabbed five. Roos stopped 10 shots.
"We played a lot of different people in different spots," Raymond said. "We're trying to figure out what works best. The offense played very well tonight. It helped that defensively (Yarmouth) pressured us at times. When we beat our man, we had space. Teddy's an outstanding shooter. Timmy Takach is big and strong. Tim Lavallee can dodge well. We made better decisions. We weren't worried about what the other team's going to do. We were just focused on what we were trying to do and what we're capable of doing."
For Yarmouth, Gallagher and Torres had the goals. Kurtz made 12 saves. Senior faceoff specialist Billy Clabby and Gallagher both had seven ground balls. Torres collected five.
Clabby also won 10-of-16 faceoffs. For the Capers, Takach took 14 and won 3, while Bottomley went 3-for-5.
Yarmouth had 22 turnovers, while Cape Elizabeth gave it away 17 times. The Capers had a 40-30 edge in shots (25-12 in shots on frame).
The Clippers hope to bounce back Saturday when they put their nearly nine-year and 70-plus game home unbeaten streak on the line against sizzling Falmouth.
Cape Elizabeth will be home Saturday versus NYA. Next week brings trips to Greely and Lewiston. A rematch with Falmouth (at home) awaits May 18. Despite the ease of Monday's win, the Capers know they still have a long way to go in their quest to repeat.
"We have to work things out throughout the season," said Laprade. "The first game was a challenge. The same thing happened last season (and we won the championship). Hopefully the same thing happens this year."
"We definitely have to keep moving the ball around," Smith said. "We have to work on little things. We can't have turnovers, especially against Falmouth. That game is set on the calendar. We expect to play them three times. Last year is in the back of our heads."
"Lewiston will be worth a bunch of (Heal Points) either way," Raymond added. "We'll be on the road for awhile. We're playing much better. They're working hard and that's the important thing."