CAPE ELIZABETH—Behind a superb effort from every player on the field, the Falmouth field hockey team improved to 2-0 Friday afternoon.
Two days removed from an emphatic and surprisingly easy 3-0 home victory over rival and preseason favorite Greely, the Yachtsmen went to Cape Elizabeth, which was coming off a big opening win itself, and turned heads once more.
Falmouth’s potent and balanced offense was once again on display, as three different players, sophomore Dayna Vasconcelos, junior Jillian Rothweiler and junior Leika Scott, scored goals, senior captain Katie Cooleen paced a defense which successful killed off eight penalty corners and the Yachtsmen improved to 2-0 with a 3-0 win over the 1-1 Capers.
“We have different players stepping up so far,” said Falmouth coach Robin Haley. “It’s just two games, but i’ll take it after what we graduated. I’m really pleased. It’s a good start.”
The Yachtsmen were very impressive in their opener and looked to keep the good times rolling in their first road test versus against a Cape Elizabeth squad which dominated in its first outing, an 8-0 victory at Gray-New Gloucester Wednesday.
Last fall, Falmouth won both meetings by 4-1 scores.
This encounter had a similar result, but the Capers didn’t lack for chances.
In the early going, Rothweiler was denied by Cape Elizabeth senior goalie Julianne Ayers, Rothweiler shot just wide and Rothweiler and then sophomore Elle Fitzgerald had shots saved by Ayers.
At the other end, Yachtsmen junior goalie Hillary Nash denied Capers senior Lauren Steidl’s shot on a penalty corner.
With 8:44 to go before halftime, Falmouth struck on a penalty corner of its own.
The ball bounced to Scott, who was coming off a big game against Greely, and she found Vasconcelos, who banged it home to make it 1-0.
That would prove to be the only goal the Yachtsmen would need, but they added to the lead in the second half.
First, the Falmouth defense had to kill a penalty corner and dodged a bullet when junior Abby McInerney’s shot deflected just wide.
With 23:05 to play, the Yachtsmen got an all-important second goal as in transition, senior captain Sarah Sparks fed Rothweiler and Rothweiler finished to make it 2-0.
“The give-and-gos are really what we’re capitalizing on this year,” Rothweiler said. “Overall, our offense is really stepping up. I had high expectations for our team this year. Cape is always a tough game. We couldn’t let our guard down.”
The Capers continued to press and earned six corners in the second half, but couldn’t convert on any of them.
Nash made a pair of big saves on Cape Elizabeth senior Jane Coffrin and junior Hannah Newhall shot wide.
“We have a really strong defense,” said Cooleen. “I can trust everyone. Hillary’s a great goalie. We have certain positions that we cover (on corners), but mostly, it’s how (the other team) reacts and we react to what they give us.”
Then with 1:20 to play, Scott delivered the coup de grace, getting to a scrum during a penalty corner and steering a shot past Ayers to account for the 3-0 final score.
“We worked really hard” Cooleen said. “It’s not a complete surprise. It’s nice to do well against teams like Cape and Greely that are tough to beat.”
“We’re still trying to put things together,” Haley added. “It was a little sloppy at times, but I was really happy with how we went into the second half. We did a better job with small passes and got a couple goals. Some of the girls came up big defensively.”
Falmouth had a 9-3 edge in shots. Nash made three saves.
The Yachtsmen play at Yarmouth Tuesday, return home to face Lake Region Thursday, then have a huge test Sept. 10 at nemesis York, the reigning regional champion.
Falmouth has dazzled so far, but still has a long way to go.
“We lost a lot of good players, so we have to step up and play as a team,” Rothweiler said. “It’s coming together.”
“We have a good passing game, but we can improve on that,” Cooleen said. “Overall, we’re doing well.”
Cape Elizabeth, which had an 8-4 advantage on penalty corners and got six saves from Ayers, wasn’t overly discouraged by the loss, knowing it had ample opportunities to score.
“We had plenty of chances,” said Capers coach Darci Holland. “We didn’t take hard enough shots on goal. We need to finish. It didn’t happen today. I thought it was an evenly matched game. We didn’t mark as well as we should have. It’s a lesson learned. We’ll see them again. We know the game and how each other plays. It’s just a matter of scoring.”
The Capers host York Tuesday, then visit Wells Thursday.