Defending champion Cape Elizabeth turns aside Waynflete to reach semifinals

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Cape Elizabeth junior Karli Chapin (20) and senior Brooke Harvey celebrate a goal during Thursday’s 13-2 win over Waynflete in a Class B state quarterfinals. Chapin had five goals and Harvey added three as the defending state champion Capers advanced.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Portland Press Herald photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Class B state quarterfinal

Cape Elizabeth 13 Waynflete 2

W- 1 1- 2
CE- 5 8- 13

First half
23:25 CE McGrath (Thoreck)
22:47 CE Chapin (Harvey)
20:45 CE Harvey (unassisted)
15:52 CE Chapin (unassisted)
13:52 W Connors (unassisted)
1:00 CE Harvey (unassisted)

Second half
21:28 CE Chapin (Lynch)
20:43 CE Chapin (free position)
18:06 CE McGrath (free position)
15:34 CE Lynch (Thoreck)
14:28 CE Harvey (Chapin)
12:17 CE Chapin (Harvey)
9:54 CE Agrodnia (Chapin)
6:00 CE Strunk (free position)
4:29 W Connors (unassisted)

Goals:
W- Connors 2
CE- Chapin 5, Harvey 3, McGrath 2, Agrodnia, Lynch, Strunk 1

Assists:
CE- Chapin, Harvey, Thoreck 2, Lynch 1

Draws (Cape Elizabeth, 12-5)
W- Sandberg 3 of 7, Connors 2 of 7, Boedeker 0 of 3
CE- Chapin 12 of 17

Ground balls:
W- 20
CE- 39

Turnovers:
W- 20
CE- 13

Shots:
W- 7
CE- 25

Shots on cage:
W- 5
CE- 21

Saves:
W (Akers) 8 
CE (Foley) 1 (Branch) 2

CAPE ELIZABETH—Cathie Connors has been coaching high school lacrosse for a long time.

Since 1993 to be precise.

And the longtime Waynflete girls’ coach appreciates beautiful play when she sees it, even when it’s being produced by the opposition.

And that’s exactly what happened Thursday afternoon at Hannaford Field, as 10th-ranked Waynflete hoped to upset second-ranked Cape Elizabeth, the defending state champion, in a Class B state quarterfinals, but instead, all the Flyers could do was respect the quality of play that ended their season.

The Capers dominated in the draw circle, thanks to junior Karli Chapin, never allowed Waynflete’s offense to get comfortable and when they had the ball, they rode the skill of Chapin and seniors Brooke Harvey and Tori McGrath, among others, to roll to a decisive victory.

McGrath scored in the second minute to put Cape Elizabeth ahead to stay and Chapin, Harvey and Chapin again found the net for a quick 4-0 lead.

After Flyers freshman Jesse Connors got her team on the board, Waynflete junior goalie Avis Akers held the Capers at bay for several minutes, giving the Flyers hope, but with a minute to go before halftime, Harvey scored again and Cape Elizabeth was up, 5-1, at the break.

The Capers quickly ended all doubt early in the second half, as Chapin scored twice and McGrath added a goal to make it 8-1.

The onslaught continued, as junior Allie Lynch, Harvey, Chapin, sophomore Abbey Agrodnia and sophomore Tatum Strunk added goals and while Jesse Connors scored one final time for the visitors, in highlight reel fashion, Cape Elizabeth went on to a 13-2 victory.

Chapin had five goals, two assists and won 12 of 17 draws, Harvey added three goals and two assists and the Capers won their eighth game in succession, improved to 11-2, ended Waynflete’s season at 6-8 and in the process, advanced to take on either No. 3 Greely (8-4) or No. 6 Camden Hills (8-4) in the state semifinals Tuesday of next week at a time to be announced.

“I love good lacrosse and (Cape’s) good,” said Cathie Connors. “They’re beautiful lacrosse players. They had beautiful shots. They move their feet. They’re quick to the ball. Sometimes, (the other team’s) that good. (Cape’s) the real deal and I wish them well.”

Here we go again

Waynflete and Cape Elizabeth have played some memorable playoff games this decade, meeting in six of the past eight seasons (see sidebar, below).

In 2011, Waynflete erased a five-goal deficit and edged visiting Cape Elizabeth, 8-7, in the Western B Final.

In 2012, the undefeated Capers hosted the Flyers in the Western B Final and led at one point, 8-4, but Waynflete rallied to tie before breaking Cape Elizabeth’s heart, 11-10, on Walker Foehl’s goal in the third overtime, and went on to win the Class B championship.

The next year, the Flyers got a mindboggling 10 goals from Martha Veroneau in a 16-9 regional final win, then won their most recent title.

In 2014, the Capers finally solved the Waynflete riddle, downing the Flyers for the first time in 25 meetings over a dozen seasons and for the first time ever in the playoffs, 9-8, on Abby McInerney’s goal in the waning seconds.

In 2015, Waynflete got a measure of revenge with an 8-4 home win over Cape Elizabeth in the quarterfinals.

Two years ago, in the most recent playoff encounter, the host Capers rallied in the second half for a 10-6 victory.

Last spring, Waynflete lost to Greely in the state quarterfinals, while Cape Elizabeth beat the Rangers in the semifinals, then upset Yarmouth in an overtime classic to win the Class B state title.

This season, the Capers have remained dominant while the Flyers have come of age and saved their best lacrosse for when it mattered most.

Waynflete started with a 9-8 loss at Cheverus, then won, 12-3, at Wells. After falling at “home” to Greely, 10-5, in a game played at Fitzpatrick Stadium, the Flyers held off visiting Scarborough, 6-4. After falling at home to defending Class A champion Falmouth (10-2) and at Marshwood (5-3), Waynflete eked out a 6-5 overtime home win over York. The Flyers fell at Cape Elizabeth, 13-3, but rebounded to defeat host Lake Region, the defending Class C champion, 8-2. After a 7-6, double-overtime home loss to York, Waynflete clinched a playoff spot with an 11-2 win over St. Dom’s, in a game played at Fitzpatrick Stadium, then closed with a hard-fought 9-4 loss at Yarmouth. 

The Flyers earned the 10th and final playoff spot in Class B and Tuesday, they knocked off No. 7 Brunswick, 14-3, to advance, marking the 24th time in Cathie Connors’ 27 seasons that Waynflete has won at least one playoff game.

Cape Elizabeth opened with a 12-4 win at York, then lost at Kennebunk, 5-3. After handling visiting Fryeburg Academy (17-1) and Messalonskee (16-5), the Capers dropped a state final rematch at Yarmouth (14-11). Cape Elizabeth then closed the regular season on a seven-game win streak, defeating host Thornton Academy (12-8), visiting Waynflete (13-3), visiting Massabesic, the reigning Class A South champion (10-9), host North Yarmouth Academy (19-3), visiting St. Dom’s (16-4), host Lake Region (10-5) and visiting Greely (12-9).

For the second year in a row, the Capers earned the No. 2 seed in Class B behind Yarmouth.

In the teams’ regular season meeting May 16, McGrath had six goals, Chapin won 13 of 18 draws and Cape Elizabeth opened up a 7-2 halftime lead en route to a decisive win.

Thursday, on an almost too-good-to-be-true 72 degree afternoon, the Capers prevailed again, as they served notice that another title run might be imminent.

Chapin won the opening draw and Cape Elizabeth quickly got the jump, as 95 seconds in, junior Julia Thoreck set up McGrath for the lead.

With 20:47 remaining in the first half, Harvey and Chapin connected, with Chapin beating Akers for a 2-0 advantage.

Akers did her part to keep the Flyers within hailing distance, denying sophomore Hannah Johnson twice, but with 20:45 to go, Harvey scored unassisted and with 15:52 on the first half clock, Chapin scored unassisted for a 4-0 advantage, forcing Cathie Connors to call timeout.

It helped, as Waynflete carried play for much of the rest of the half, even though ultimately, the Flyers had nothing to show for it.

With 13:53 left, Jesse Connors, the coach’s daughter, who has hinted at special things to come in her limited time this spring, found a seam in the defense, raced through it and beat Capers senior goalie Erin Foley to get Waynflete on the board.

The Flyers then had opportunities to draw closer, but committed 10 first half turnovers and only mustered three shots before halftime.

With exactly a minute to go, Cape Elizabeth scored for the first time in nearly 15 minutes, as Harvey scored unassisted to restore the four-goal advantage.

Waynflete junior Emily Wagg then hit the post on a free position and the Capers took a 5-1 lead to the half.

Cape Elizabeth had a 20-10 edge in ground balls and a 15-3 shots advantage in the first 25 minutes and quickly ended all doubt when the second half commenced.

With 21:28 remaining, Chapin finished a feed from Lynch and 45 seconds later, Chapin scored again, on a free position, and just like that, the score was 7-1.

McGrath added a free position goal with 18:06 left and Cathie Connors called timeout.

This time, it was to no avail.

With 15:34 on the clock, Thoreck set up Lynch for a 9-1 lead and with 14:28 to go, Chapin fed Harvey for a goal.

The tandem hooked up again with 12:17 remaining, as this time, Harvey set up Chapin.

Chapin then fed Agrodnia for a goal with 9:54 left and with 6 minutes to play, a free position goal from Strunk gave Cape Elizabeth its final goal.

Waynflete had one final highlight, as with 4:29 on the clock, Jesse Connors again found some space in the defense and raced in to shoot, but just before she released the ball she was tripped up. Regardless, while flying through the air, Connors managed to fire the ball into the net for her team’s final goal of the season, snapping a 34 minute, 29 second drought in the process.

The Capers ran out the clock from there and celebrated a 13-2 victory.

“We were able to move the ball well,” said Harvey. “We needed to pick corners and move (Avis) a little more. She’s a great goalie. She’ll come out and get steals. She knows how to read the shooters.”

“We just focused on staying patient and looking for the best shot,” said Chapin. “We do a good job of being unselfish and getting a good look on goal. The defense did outstanding today. It’s a big lift for us to see them do well.”

“We talked at halftime that we started off strong, then hit a lull,” added Cape Elizabeth coach Alex Spark. “Our feet weren’t moving as fast as we wanted. Against a team like Waynflete, you can’t let up. They had time to practice and they won a few games since last time. They have a great coach and they had a game plan. They’ve improved and we improved and we were ready to battle them. They fought hard.”

Chapin was masterful, as she continues to stake her claim as one of, if not the best all-around player in the state. Chapin paced the offense with five goals.

“Karli’s a versatile, well-rounded player,” said Spark. “She plays good defense, she plays in the midfield. She scores, she assists, she wins draws, she gets turnovers. She’s a kid who is so fun to watch. We’re lucky to have her.” 

Harvey had three goals, McGrath two and Agrodnia, Lynch and Strunk one apiece.

Chapin, Harvey and Thoreck all assisted on two goals, while Lynch also had an assist.

“We’ve talked about when you get to postseason, it isn’t done by one person,” Spark said. “Our attack is a seven-person effort. Every single person is needed to get it done.”

Chapin, with a lot of help from Harvey and McGrath, was almost unbeatable in the draw circle.

“It’s all Tori and Brooke on the draw, to be honest,” said Chapin. “I just try to put it somewhere near them and they usually come up with it. Possession is key in girls’ lacrosse. The more chances to score the better.”

“Karli’s so good at draws,” said Harvey. “She knows where to put it. It works well with me and Tori. We know what she’s thinking.”

Foley made one save before being replaced late by freshman Elise Branch, who stopped two shots.

Cape Elizabeth had a commanding advantage in ground balls, 39-20 (Harvey had a game-high 11), enjoyed a 25-7 edge in shots (21-5 on cage) and overcame 13 turnovers. 

On to 2020

Waynflete got both goals from Jesse Connors and had Akers make eight saves.

“Avis was amazing today,” said Cathie Connors. “Some of her saves were on beautiful shots.”

Wagg had a team-high six ground balls.

The Flyers turned the ball over 20 times and just couldn’t possess it enough to make things interesting.

“We kind of lost it a little bit in the second half,” Cathie Connors said. “Possession was tough for us today. I kept trying to change the draw every which way.” 

“We had a tough schedule, but we got to see good lacrosse. I’m proud of my girls. They didn’t let up. They didn’t stop trying.

“I’m leaving here proud of the team. We’re on to next year. The future is bright.”

One hundred minutes from a repeat

Cape Elizabeth will host a semifinal Tuesday.

If the Capers see Greely, they’ll have confidence, coming off a 12-9 home win over the Rangers May 30. Cape Elizabeth has won three of four prior playoff meetings, with last year’s 9-8 victory in the state semifinals the most recent. 

If the Capers face the Windjammers, they’ll be a mystery, as the teams didn’t play this year and have no postseason history.

Regardless, Cape Elizabeth is focused on one thing.

Getting back to Fitzpatrick Stadium and winning another title.

“We’re just focused on our next opponent,” Chapin said. “We’ll work hard. We’re younger than last year, but we work well together. We have good chemistry and we like our chances.”

“We just need to keep our energy up,” said Harvey. “I’m so proud of us how far we’ve come and what we have left. We have to practice hard and play like it’s our last game ever. I want to win it again.”

“We’re happy to be home for one more game,” Spark added. “We’re happy to get a couple more days of practice to stay together as a team and we’re excited for Tuesday. The girls are definitely hungry. We have good upperclassmen leaders, who do a good job of sitting the younger girls down and talking about what we have to do in practice and games and get back to the point we were last year. We’re excited.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Waynflete senior Sophie Sangster can’t keep possession as Cape Elizabeth junior Karli Chapin defends.

Cape Elizabeth senior Tori McGrath tries to get past Waynflete senior Emi Boedeker.

Cape Elizabeth sophomore Hannah Johnson is defended by Waynflete senior Sophie Sangster.

Previous Waynflete-Cape Elizabeth playoff results

2017
Class B South quarterfinal
@ Cape Elizabeth 10 Waynflete 6

2015
Western B quarterfinals
@ Waynflete 8 Cape Elizabeth 4

2014
Western B semifinals
Cape Elizabeth 9 @ Waynflete 8 

2013
Western B Final
@ Waynflete 16 Cape Elizabeth 9

2012
Western B Final
Waynflete 11 @ Cape Elizabeth 10 (3 OT)

2011
Western B Final
@ Waynflete 8 Cape Elizabeth 7

2009
Western B Final
@ Waynflete 9 Cape Elizabeth 5

2008
Western B semifinals
@ Waynflete 11 Cape Elizabeth 1

2007
Western B quarterfinals
@ Waynflete 13 Cape Elizabeth 3

2003
West Region semifinals
@ Waynflete 16 Cape Elizabeth 7

1999
State quarterfinals
@ Waynflete 10 Cape Elizabeth 4

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