Early goal holds up as Yarmouth girls edge Cape

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Yarmouth senior goalkeeper Meredith Lane is hugged by classmate Hannah Corey as the rest of the team races to join the celebration following the Clippers’ 1-0 win at Cape Elizabeth Saturday night. Yarmouth, the defending Class B state champion, stayed undefeated on the season.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

CAPE ELIZABETH—Three weeks ago, Yarmouth’s powerhouse, defending Class B state champion girls’ soccer team made quick work of rival Cape Elizabeth.

Saturday evening at Hannaford Field, in the penultimate game of the regular season, the teams met again and the proud Capers played much, much better.

But they suffered a loss regardless, because, through 13 games at least, no one has been able to solve the Clippers or their senior goal-scoring standout Sara D’Appolonia.

In the first regular season meeting, host Yarmouth scored five times in the first half alone against Cape Elizabeth, as D’Appolonia produced three of the goals by herself.

This time around, D’Appolonia managed to score in the ninth minute, but the Capers rose up and didn’t allow the prolific Clippers to strike again.

Unfortunately for Cape Elizabeth, it couldn’t generate many chances and the few it did were turned aside by Yarmouth senior goalkeeper Meredith Lane and the Clippers went on to a 1-0 victory.

Yarmouth improved to 13-0, extended its two-season win streak to 18 and dropped the Capers to 7-6 in the process.

“Cape did a tremendous job,” said Clippers coach Chris Coleman. “They made it very difficult for us. We didn’t play our game tonight the way we wanted to. We had the one chance and fortunately, we could take it and we kept them to minimal chances.”

Progress

With the postseason right around the corner, Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth both appear destined for a deep run.

The Capers stumbled in their opener, 1-0, at Freeport, then rattled off five straight victories, defeating visiting Gray-New Gloucester (4-0), host Fryeburg Academy (7-0), host York (5-1), visiting Fryeburg Academy (7-0) and host Greely (3-2). After losing at Yarmouth (7-0), Cape Elizabeth lost at Gray-New Gloucester (1-0) and at home to York (2-0) and Greely (4-3). A 5-0 victory at Lake Region turned things around and Tuesday, the Capers blanked visiting Waynflete (5-0), the defending Class C South champion.

The Clippers. meanwhile, have yet to stumble. They opened with a 2-0 win at Gray-New Gloucester, then blanked host Greely in a regional final rematch, 3-0. After a 12-1 romp at Fryeburg Academy, Yarmouth blanked visiting Freeport (5-0) and York (3-0), handled visiting Greely (6-1) and won at Poland (9-0), at home over Cape Elizabeth (7-0), at York (4-0), at Freeport (6-0) and at home over Gray-New Gloucester (7-2) and Fryeburg Academy (9-0).

Entering play Saturday, Yarmouth held a 15-11 edge (with seven ties) over Cape Elizabeth since the start of the 2001 season (see sidebar, below, for recent results). The Capers were hoping to end the Clippers’ undefeated run, but instead, Yarmouth made it five straight victories over Cape Elizabeth.

Not that it came easily.

The Clippers went on the attack early, but a rush by senior Hannah Merrill was broken up in the box and Capers senior captain Bridget Brett cleared a ball from harm’s way at the last moment.

With 33:43 to go in the first half, D’Appolonia made a nice run before firing a low shot which was saved by Cape Elizabeth sophomore goalkeeper Lilia Membrino.

D’Appolonia can only be held in check so long, however, and with 31:44 left before halftime, she managed to win control of a ball in the box, fought her way through and around three defenders, then fired a low shot which Membrino couldn’t save for a 1-0 lead.

The goal was the University of Delaware-bound D’Appolonia’s whopping 30th of the year.

“It was difficult (tonight), said D’Appolonia. “It’s just a constant battle and I had to keep my head, play my game and play quicker. I pinned one (defender) behind me, got past a couple others and rocked it into the far corner.”

“Sara is so good,” Lane said. “She’s definitely a key player, great captain and role model and leader.”

“There’s not a lot I can say,” Coleman added. “There are no words to describe her. Her strength is just off the charts. I’m excited to see what she does in college.”

Later in the half, Yarmouth junior Liv Feeley shot high on a free kick before the Capers got a few looks.

First, a long free kick from junior Grace Gillian was saved by Lane.

Another Gillian free kick found the head of sophomore Liv Cochran, but the ball sailed just wide and a shot from junior Prezli Piscopo was saved by Lane.

After a Feeley shot off a corner was saved, a D’Appolonia free kick was saved and the 1-0 score held up into the half.

Right before the break, Gillian was hurt and wouldn’t return.

In the first 40 minutes, the Clippers had a 3-2 edge in shots on frame and had a 3-0 advantage in corner kicks, but only held a one-goal advantage.

In the second half, Yarmouth pushed hard for a second goal, but never broke through.

After Clippers senior Hannah Corey forced Membrino to make a sprawling save, Merrill shot just wide.

With 24 minutes remaining, Cape Elizabeth earned its first corner kick, but Yarmouth’s defense headed it out.

With 19:27 on the clock, a long free kick from Piscopo was snared by Lane.

After Clippers sophomore Adriana Whitlock had a shot land over the crossbar, on the back of the net, Piscopo had another free kick saved by Lane.

With 6:53 left in regulation, Yarmouth senior Eva Then broke up a pass from Capers sophomore Karli Chapin to Piscopo on a rush.

That proved to be Cape Elizabeth’s last good chance and the Clippers went on to the 1-0 victory.

“They held their own tonight and we had to compete,” D’Appolonia said. “I was hoping we’d get more, but I can’t complain with 1-0. That’s still a good win. We’ve been beating teams by a lot, so a competitive game like this gives us the perspective that we have to keep working hard.”

“It was a little nervewracking, but we rallied and came on strong,” Lane said. “Cape is a great team. We’re always excited to play them. We knew it would be a great game.”

Yarmouth only put five shots on frame and Membrino saved four of them. Lane saved all four of the shots she faced.

“We rely on Meredith a lot back there,” said D’Appolonia. “She was great this evening.”

“It’s good to keep Meredith on her toes,” Coleman said. “When she’s needed, she comes through for us. Her ball-handling is excellent. All credit to her.”

Lane credited her defense for her success.

“The whole back line is really strong, Liv, Hannah, (senior) Sophia (Harpool),” Lane said. “We’ve experimented with different formations and I think the one we have right now is really working for us.”

The Clippers took nine corners to just one for the hosts.

Cape Elizabeth coach Craig Fannan was much happier with the Capers’ effort Saturday night.

“This is a lot better than the last one,” Fannan said. “We said to the girls at the start that our goal tonight was to show them we could compete. The girls came off happy. We lost the game, but they still deserved to be happy. Normally, we get good shots on goal, but not today. We changed formations. We went to three in the back to have an extra body and since (Sara’s) so strong with her back to pressure, we wanted our midfielders try to frustrate her too. She’s always going to get one.”

One more

Cape Elizabeth (now seventh in the Class B South Heal Points standings at press time) finishes the regular season at home versus Poland, then hopes to make some noise in the postseason where it likely open at home versus Gray-New Gloucester in the preliminary round.

“We can’t discount anybody, especially not this season,” Fannan said. “We feel good about ourselves. We hope to get hot at the right time.”

Yarmouth, which will wind up first in Class B South for the second year in a row, will have one final tune-up when it hosts Lake Region Monday. The Clippers will then wear a large bulls-eye for the playoffs.

“We’re ready,” Lane said. “This game was good for us. We hadn’t played this close. We did well under pressure and I think it will help our game.”

“We’re hungry for another state championship,” said D’Appolonia. “We have to want it more than anyone else. This is it for the seniors.”

“Every team will do this to us in the playoffs,” Coleman added. “Teams will make it physical and tough. We still need to plug away. The girls have great work ethic. I’m not the easiest coach to deal with on a daily basis, but they respond well.”

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

Yarmouth senior Eva Then gets her head on the ball in traffic.

Cape Elizabeth junior Grace Gillian leaves Yarmouth senior Hannah Merrill behind.

Yarmouth sophomore Ehryn Groothoff tries to get the ball from Cape Elizabeth senior Sarah Knupp.

Cape Elizabeth junior Tory McGrath wins the ball from Yarmouth senior Sara D’Appolonia.

Cape Elizabeth junior Connie Wight battles Yarmouth sophomore Hannah Dwyer for the ball.

Cape Elizabeth sophomore Karli Chapin heads the ball away from Yarmouth sophomore Ashlyn Feeley.

Yarmouth senior Sara D’Appolonia plays the ball in front of Cape Elizabeth junior Connie Wight. D’Appolonia scored the game’s lone goal.

Recent Cape Elizabeth-Yarmouth results

2017
@ Yarmouth 7 Cape Elizabeth 0

2016
Yarmouth 5 @ Cape Elizabeth 1
@ Yarmouth 3 Cape Elizabeth 0
Class B South semifinal
@ Yarmouth 3 Cape Elizabeth 1

2015
Cape Elizabeth 3 @ Yarmouth 0
@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Yarmouth 1

2014
@ Yarmouth 2 Cape Elizabeth 1
@ Cape Elizabeth 1 Yarmouth 0
Western B semifinals
Cape Elizabeth 1 @ Yarmouth 0

2013
@ Cape Elizabeth 1 Yarmouth 1 (tie)
Cape Elizabeth 2 @ Yarmouth 1 (2 OT)

2012
@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Yarmouth 0
Cape Elizabeth 2 @ Yarmouth 1

2011
@ Cape Elizabeth 4 Yarmouth 0

2010
Yarmouth 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 1
@ Yarmouth 3 Cape Elizabeth 0

2009
@ Yarmouth 0 Cape Elizabeth 0 (tie)
Yarmouth 1 @ Cape Elizabeth 0

2008
Yarmouth 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Yarmouth 1 Cape Elizabeth 0

2007
Yarmouth 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Yarmouth 2 Cape Elizabeth 1

2006
@ Yarmouth 2 Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Cape Elizabeth 0 Yarmouth 0 (tie)

2005
Yarmouth 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Yarmouth 1 Cape Elizabeth 1 (tie)

2004
@ Yarmouth 1 Cape Elizabeth 1 (tie)
@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Yarmouth 2 (tie)

2003
@ Yarmouth 1 Cape Elizabeth 1 (tie)
Yarmouth 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 1

2002
Cape Elizabeth 1 @ Yarmouth 0

2001
Cape Elizabeth 1 @ Yarmouth 0
@ Cape Elizabeth 4 Yarmouth 1

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