Falmouth answers challenge, roars past Cape to stay perfect

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Falmouth’s boys’ lacrosse team mobs senior goalie Ethan Chapman at the conclusion of Friday’s 14-8 home victory over Cape Elizabeth in a regional final rematch. The Yachtsmen rallied from an early 4-0 deficit to stay undefeated.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Falmouth 14 Cape Elizabeth 8

CE- 3 2 0 3- 8
F- 0 3 6 5- 14

First quarter
8:53 CE Carroll (Brydson)
5:43 CE S. Dresser (unassisted)
1:17 CE S. Dresser (unassisted)

Second quarter
9:38 CE S. Dresser (unassisted)
5:36 F Fitzgerald (Hickey)
5:18 F H. Farnham (unassisted)
3:20 CE Raymond (Brydson)
53.1 F H. Farnham (unassisted)

Third quarter
10:20 F Valle (unassisted)
8:13 F H. Farnham (unassisted)
6:39 F Mainella (Fitzgerald) (MAN-UP)
5:04 F Tucker (Fitzgerald)
4:01 F Fitzgerald (Tucker)
2:55 F H. Farnham (Mainella)

Fourth quarter
11:06 CE Lathrop (unassisted)
8:03 CE Brydson (Carroll)
6:59 F Mainella (Tucker)
5:36 F H. Farnham (Fitzgerald)
4:58 CE Lathrop (unassisted)
2:50 F N. Farnham (unassisted)
1:49 F Valle (Tucker)
12.4 F Fitzgerald (Mainella)

Goals:
CE- S. Dresser 3, Lathrop 2, Brydson, Carroll, Raymond 1
F- H. Farnham 5, Fitzgerald 3, Mainella, Valle 2, N. Farnham, Tucker 1

Assists:
CE- Brydson, Carroll 1
F- Fitzgerald, Tucker 3, Mainella 2, Hickey 1

Faceoffs (Cape Elizabeth, 15-11)
CE- Glanville 7 of 17, Raymond 8 of 9
F- Zinn 9 of 24, St. Louis 2 of 2

Ground balls:
CE- 33
F- 36

Turnovers:
CE- 23
F- 18

Shots:
CE- 26
F- 27

Shots on cage:
CE- 17
F- 23

Saves:
CE (J. Dresser) 9 
F (Berry) 5 (Chapman) 4

FALMOUTH—After four straight dominating performances, Falmouth’s boys’ lacrosse team took a punch in the mouth to start Friday evening’s home showdown against rival and nemesis Cape Elizabeth, the defending Class B state champion.

And it proved to be just what the doctor ordered for the Yachtsmen.

Tested for the first time, Falmouth responded with flying colors and went on to its first signature victory of the 2018 season.

The Capers, who entered the game with an uncharacteristic two losses, quickly served notice that they hadn’t come to town merely to compete, but to win, as they raced to a 3-0 lead behind a goal from senior Ben Carroll and a pair from junior Sam Dresser.

When Dresser scored his third goal, unassisted, 2-minutes, 22-seconds into the second quarter, Cape Elizabeth appeared in good shape, but Dresser was injured on the play and didn’t return.

With 5:36 to go before halftime, the Yachtsmen’s potent offense awakened, as sophomore Tommy Fitzgerald scored.

Eighteen seconds later, senior Henry Farnham scored unassisted and Falmouth had life.

Senior Finn Raymond answered for the Capers, but in the final minute, Farnham scored again to pull Falmouth within 5-3 at the half.

The Yachtsmen then erupted for six unanswered goals in the third quarter to go on top to stay.

Unassisted tallies from senior Kristian Valle and Farnham tied the score and with 6:39 to go in the frame, senior Lou Mainella scored a man-up goal to put Falmouth ahead.

Before the third period was complete, junior Reilly Tucker, Fitzgerald and Farnham tickled the twine.

Cape Elizabeth snapped a 16-minute-plus drought 54 seconds into the final stanza, when sophomore Killian Lathrop scored and a goal from senior Jacob Brydson made things interesting, but Mainella and Farnham answered.

Lathrop scored one more goal for the Capers before the Yachtsmen finished off their 14-8 victory in the teams’ lone scheduled contest this season behind goals from senior Nick Farnham, Valle and Fitzgerald.

Henry Farnham led all scorers with five goals, Fitzgerald scored three times and had three assists and Falmouth improved to 5-0, dropping the Capers to 2-3 in the process.

“We’ve preached that this was the game where we’d find out how mentally tough we are,” said Yachtsmen coach Dave Barton. “We hadn’t faced a lot of adversity. We buckled down when we had to. I’m super-proud of the guys. This game means a little bit more to them.”  

Different circumstances

Entering play Friday night, Cape Elizabeth held a 24-9 all-time record against Falmouth (see sidebar, below), but since 2010, the Capers had only captured 15 of 24 meetings.

Most importantly, Cape Elizabeth won two of three meetings a year ago, including the big one, a thrilling 6-5 home victory in the Class B South Final which ended Falmouth’s season and send the Capers on to the state game, where they won the championship for the fourth time in five years, 16-7, over Yarmouth.

This spring, each team has moved up to Class A and for the first time, are in different regions, as the Yachtsmen are now in the North, while Cape Elizabeth is in the deeper South, along with South Portland and Thornton Academy.

The Capers won their 2018 opener, 18-9, at Waynflete, then lost at home to Yarmouth, 7-6, their first defeat at the hands of the Clippers in eight years and their first at home against Yarmouth in a decade. Next, Cape Elizabeth was stunned in double-overtime at Thornton Academy, 11-10. The Capers returned to form Tuesday with a 13-1 home win over Freeport. 

Falmouth, meanwhile, barely broke a sweat in its first four games, dominating visiting Kennebunk (13-3), host Gorham (15-3), host Scarborough (14-4) and host Cheverus (16-6).

Friday, on a 54-degree evening where the threat of rain and thunderstorms never materialized, the Yachtsmen were staggered early, then responded like the champions they hope to become.

Cape Elizabeth came out with great intensity and was rewarded when Brydson set up Carroll for a 1-0 lead with 8:39 left in the first period.

Dresser scored for the first time, unassisted, with 5:43 on the clock and after Barton took a timeout, which didn’t have the desired result, Dresser scored another unassisted goal to make it 3-0 with 1:17 remaining in the first.

Falmouth junior goalie Kai Berry kept the deficit at three by denying Brydson and in the waning seconds, Capers sophomore goalie Jack Dresser stopped a bid from Yachtsmen junior Riley Reed to send the game to the second period with Cape Elizabeth up three.

Early in the second period, Berry robbed Carroll, but with 9:38 left in the half, Dresser weaved through several defenders and left his feet before scoring, but on the play, he was pounded by a defenseman and the fourth goal came at a mighty steep price, as Dresser left the game and didn’t return.

Falmouth got its offense going with 5:36 to go before halftime and it was actually a top defenseman who sparked it.

After a Capers’ turnover, Yachtsmen senior Brendan Hickey collected the ball, raced in to the offensive end and found Fitzgerald in front and Fitzgerald beat Jack Dresser to get Falmouth on the board.

Eighteen seconds later, the deficit was cut to two, as after he picked up a ground ball on a faceoff win, Henry Farnham finished unassisted.

Cape Elizabeth stemmed the tide with 3:20 showing, as after Berry robbed Lathrop but the Yachtsmen turned the ball over a turnover, Brydson set up Raymond for a 5-2 lead.

It didn’t last, as with 53.1 seconds remaining, Farnham bulled his way through the defense to finish and cut the deficit back to two.

“I had the opportunity to make some plays,” Farnham said. “We got our footing and got rolling.”

“We knew (Cape) wouldn’t come in and be impressed by our scores,” said Barton. “They’re talented and they can make you pay. They came out flying, but we righted the ship. It took a lot of senior leadership. We have a lot of guys who want to be the guy to get the momentum going our way.”

With 17.8 seconds left, Berry denied Raymond and Falmouth was only down two goals, 5-3, at halftime.

The second half was a very different story.

With 10:20 left in the third period, Valle scored unassisted to pull the Yachtsmen within one.

Jack Dresser then preserved the lead by denying Tucker and Hickey.

With 8:42 to play in the frame, Brydson tried to add to the lead, but senior Ethan Chapman, who replaced Berry at the break, made the save.

“We just needed a spark,” Barton said. “Kai has been a rock all year and made the saves he had to. ‘Chap’ has worked hard too. We just needed a lift.” 

Twenty-nine seconds later, the game was deadlocked, as Farnham tickled the twine to make it 5-5.

With 6:57 left, the Capers were guilty of an offsides penalty and the Yachtsmen made them pay, as 18 seconds later, Fitzgerald found Mainella for the go-ahead goal.

Cape Elizabeth then went man-up and had a chance to answer, but Raymond missed a shot.

Falmouth then closed the quarter with a flourish, as Fitzgerald set up Tucker for a goal with 5:04 to go, Tucker returned the favor, feeding Fitzgerald 63 seconds later and with 2:55 left, Mainella set up Farnham for a goal and a 9-5 advantage.

The Capers refused to go meekly, however, as after Raymond was robbed by Chapman off the fourth quarter faceoff, Lathrop scored with 11:06 to play, ending the Yachtsmen’s 7-0 run and Cape Elizabeth’s 16-minute, 14-second scoring drought.

With 8:03 remaining, Carroll set up Brydson to pull the Capers back within two, 9-7.

Falmouth didn’t let Cape Elizabeth get any closer, as Farnham fed Mainella for a goal with 6:59 to play and with 5:36 on the clock, Fitzgerald set up Farnham for his final goal, a backhanded shot, to make it 11-7.

Lathrop scored unassisted with 4:58 to go, but that would be the Capers’ last hurrah.

After Chapman stopped a shot by Lathrop, Nick Farnham picked up the loose ball, raced across midfield and into the attacking zone before beating Jack Dresser to make it 12-8 with 2:50 remaining.

With 1:49 left, Tucker set up Valle for a goal and with 12.4 seconds on the clock, Mainella passed to Fitzgerald, who scored to account for the 14-8 final score.

“This was good for us,” Henry Farnham said. “It’s a great feeling to beat them. It was a good Friday night being out here with the boys. We always know they come out flying. We were expecting it. They have good players. It was a big game. First quarter, we realized we had to hunker down and play good defense and that would lead to offensive opportunities. We came out flying after halftime. The D played really well in the second half. We weren’t back on our heels. We worked the ball around and got our opportunities.”

“Cape collapses defensively quicker than anyone we’ve seen,” Barton said. “We had to string together passes and open things up on the backside. They made us earn it.”

Falmouth’s offense, which came exclusively in the game’s final two-and-a-half periods, was paced by Henry Farnham’s five goals. Fitzgerald scored three times, while Mainella and Valle had two goals and Nick Farnham and Tucker each scored once.

Fitzgerald and Tucker assisted on three goals, while Mainella had two helpers and Hickey added one.

Berry made five saves and Chapman had four in his half of action.

The Yachtsmen won the ground ball battle, 36-33 (senior Emmitt Zinn led the way with seven and Hickey collected five), had a 27-26 edge in shots (23-17 on cage) and overcame 18 turnovers.

Fine effort

Cape Elizabeth got three goals from Sam Dresser, in just over a quarter of action.

“The difference in the game was us losing Sam Dresser,” said Capers coach Ben Raymond. “We went down to three offensive midfielders and the kids got tired. We had to adapt to different kids playing different positions. If he stayed in the game, the result might have been the same, but it would have been closer.”

Lathrop added two goals, while Brydson, Carroll and Finn Raymond each scored once. Brydson and Carroll had one assist apiece.

Jack Dresser stopped nine shots.

Raymond had a team-high seven ground balls.

The Capers won 15 of 26 faceoffs and turned the ball over 23 times.

“We played pretty well in the first half,” Ben Raymond said. “We played really well defensively in the first half. Our slides were quick. Our defense was really good for everything but the third quarter. In the third quarter, they got more in transition. The first half was good and the fourth quarter was good. We’re just trying to be more consistent throughout the game.

“The kids are great. They work hard every single day. They understand the process. They understand you don’t step on the field and win every single game. The ultimate goal is to win our last game of the year.”

See you in June?

The only way the teams will play again would be if they both advance to the Class A state final June 16 at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

“We always play well against Falmouth, no matter where it is,” Ben Raymond said. “We want games like this all year long. The sad thing is we only get to play Falmouth once, but if we play them again, it will be in the state championship and it would be a really good game.”

“We view (Cape) as the team to beat and until someone knocks them off, I think they are,” Barton said. “They’re not a 2-3 team. Once they get rolling, they’ll be fine. They’re well-coached and skilled. They’ll get on a roll.”

That potential rematch might as well come in 2038, as both squads have a lot of business to tend to first in the weeks to come.

Cape Elizabeth has gotten the challenging schedule it has long craved and the tests continue next week, as Greely pays a visit Tuesday and Scarborough comes to town Friday. A home game against South Portland and a trip to Yarmouth still loom as well.

“Our upside is huge,” Ben Raymond said. “The guys are young enough to understand that they’re getting better every single day. I really like our chances against anybody, especially when we play teams a second time.”

Falmouth figures to be tested again when South Portland pays a visit Wednesday. The Yachtsmen then go to Yarmouth Friday. A home game against defending Class A champion Brunswick and a trip to Thornton Academy also remain.

“We still have a lot of work to do to get a chance to play for a state championship,” Henry Farnham said. “We have to have ball movement on offense and we need to keep playing good one-on-one D.”

“Facing a team that will be there at the end is good because we needed a wakeup call,” Barton said. “We’ll learn from it and then get ready for South Portland. We have a tough stretch coming up. Class A is as wide-open as it’s ever been. Anyone can beat anyone. That keeps us motivated. Everything we want is in front of us, but we have to come to work every day.”

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

Cape Elizabeth senior Ben Carroll fires a shot.

Falmouth senior Brendan Hickey races up the field past Cape Elizabeth senior Jacob Brydson.

Cape Elizabeth junior Phil Tarling attempts to shoot on Falmouth junior Kai Berry as Yachtsmen juniors Zach Dubinsky (19) and Riley Reed defend.

Cape Elizabeth junior Sam Dresser turns the corner on Falmouth sophomore Shane Allen.

Falmouth senior Nick Farnham unleashes a shot as Cape Elizabeth senior Sam Loring looks on.

Falmouth seniors Henry Farnham (10) and Kristian Valle celebrate one of Farnhams’s five goals.

Recent Cape Elizabeth-Falmouth meetings

2017
Falmouth 9 @ Cape Elizabeth 8
Cape Elizabeth 8 @ Falmouth 5
Class B South Final
@ Cape Elizabeth 6 Falmouth 5

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.