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Cape Elizabeth sweeps lax doubleheader against Greely

Sports

Cape Elizabeth sweeps lax doubleheader against Greely

CAPE ELIZABETH—Tuesday night's Greely at Cape Elizabeth lacrosse doubleheader wasn't for the faint of heart, but there was plenty of excitement for those who battled the frigid and rainy conditions.

The boys played first and the Capers improved to 6-0 behind a season-best five goals from sophomore Justin Cary and four goals from senior Tim Lavallee, who helped the hosts cruise to a 14-5 victory, leaving Greely 4-2 on the year.

In the nightcap, Cape Elizabeth appeared home free after racing to an 8-2 lead in the first half, but the Capers didn't score in the game's final 30 minutes and the Rangers roared back, pulling within a goal with 8:49 goal, but despite ample opportunities, Greely couldn't tie things up and Cape Elizabeth improved to 6-0 with an 8-7 win, dropping the Rangers to 1-4.

Prolific scoring continues

Cape Elizabeth's boys have been on a mission since falling in last year's regional final to Falmouth. The Capers opened with a 20-0 blanking of Lake Region, then avenged their playoff loss with an 8-6 home victory over the Yachtsmen. Wins over visiting North Yarmouth Academy (14-2), host Waynflete (15-5) and host Yarmouth (12-8) followed.

Greely, which was ousted by Cape Elizabeth in the semifinals last spring, opened the 2012 season with a 12-2 home win over Freeport. After falling, 15-7, at Falmouth, the Rangers defeated host Waynflete (12-7), visiting Massabesic (5-3) and visiting Wells (16-2).

Since enjoying its only win to date over the Capers in the 2008 regular season, Greely had dropped each of the past five encounters.

Tuesday, amid the raindrops, the Rangers once again had no answer for the Cape Elizabeth juggernaut.

Greely raced to a 1-0 lead just 15 seconds into the game when senior Cooper Allen set up senior Paul Witte for a goal, but the Capers would close the first period on a 6-0 run to seize control.

After several frustrating minutes, Cape Elizabeth drew even when freshman Cole Caswell took a pass from senior Forest Hewitt and beat Rangers senior goalie Sam Reed to make it 1-1.

The Capers went ahead for good with 5:38 left in the opening stanza when Lavallee scored unassisted after a turnover. Cary scored his first goal of the game with 4:35 left in the first, finishing after taking a pass from junior Alex Bornick, who had seven goals in the win over Yarmouth. An unassisted Lavallee goal at the 3:15 mark pushed the lead to 4-1 and forced Greely first-year coach Mike Storey to call timeout.

That didn't slow the hosts as Cary (from Lavallee) scored at 2:10 and Cary once more from Lavallee, after a turnover, tickled the twine at the 58 second mark to make it 6-1 Cape Elizabeth after one.

"In the first quarter, I thought our offense was the best it was all day," said Cape Elizabeth coach Ben Raymond. "We stayed patient and kept moving the ball."

The Rangers ended the run when sophomore Matt Crowley scored unassisted with 9:06 to go in the first half, but senior Brian Brett scored an unassisted goal at 7:10 and with 5:54 to go before halftime, Cary scored from Lavallee to make it 8-2.

Greely got its third goal with 3:27 left in the half, as junior Fred Bower scored from Crowley, but Cary (from Brett) scored with 1:27 remaining to give the Capers a commanding 9-3 advantage at the break.

Any comeback hopes the Rangers might have entertained were dashed when senior Ian McInerney (from classmate Thomas Bottomley at 8:57), Lavallee (unassisted at 4:56) and Bornick (from Hewitt at 1:38) scored to push the Cape Elizabeth lead to nine.

In the waning seconds of the third period, Witte scored an unassisted goal to pull Greely within 12-4.

In the fourth period, Bottomley (from Brett at 7:18) made it 13-4. After Witte set up junior Brendan Trelegan for a goal with 3:19 remaining, Lavallee completed the scoring with 23.9 seconds to go, taking a pass from McInerney and finishing to account for the 14-5 final.

Cape Elizabeth was paced by Cary's five goals.

"Justin did a great job moving to the ball and he finished," said Raymond. "He did a good job getting open. At one point, they were sliding from him. It made the look a little easier."

Cape Elizabeth's unrivaled balance certainly helped Cary's cause.

"It's great to have Timmy and Bornick on attack," Cary said. "They give the assists like no one else. They're great to work with. Defenses definitely focus on Timmy. Alex and I switch off. Having Timmy covered by the best man definitely helps. We've got Tom Bottomley, Forest Hewitt, Brian Brett, even Griffin (Thoreck), who's a freshman. They can all finish."

Lavallee finished with four goals, while Bornick, Bottomley, Brett, Caswell and McInerney all scored once. Lavallee added three assists. Brett and Hewitt each had two, while Bornick and Bottomley both added one. Senior goalie Will Goduti made six saves.

The Capers had a slight 59-55 advantage in ground balls. Bornick and Lavallee both collected seven. Bottomley, senior Sammy Donnelly and junior Brandon Neagle all had six. With junior faceoff specialist Adam Haversat sidelined with a thumb injury, Bottomley won 10 of 20 opportunities in the circle, while Thoreck went 1 of 3.

Cape Elizabeth committed 21 turnovers, but had a 43-28 edge in shots on goal (30-11 on cage).

"Our offensive players don't necessarily have that slowdown gene," said Raymond. "If they see a good matchup, they go right away. Sometimes it works with a goal, but sometimes it doesn't and we turn it over. We try to slow things down from time to time. We want to push in transition, but once it becomes a settled situation, we want to make sure we get the right personnel on and make good decisions. It could have been a higher score, but their goalie played well.

"Our defenders played well. We're still experimenting with some different things. We had guys step in and do a good job. If we can play a game where we only give up three settled goals, that's pretty good."

For Greely, Witte scored twice, Bower, Crowley and Trelegan once each. Allen, Crowley and Witte all had assists. Reed made 16 saves.  The Rangers won 12 of 23 faceoffs, with Bower going 11 of 15 and freshman Gabe Belisle 1 of 8. Allen and Crowley both had eight ground balls, senior Colby Allred six. The Rangers committed 29 turnovers.

"Cape's a really great transition team," said Storey. "I knew we'd be in trouble if we allowed them to be in transition. We made bad decisions on our clears. Positively, I think the team is really coming together and really growing. There are a few areas we obviously have to strengthen up to be more competitive with top teams like Cape and Falmouth. It comes down to decision making, knowing the game. That seems to be the real gap. Teams like Falmouth and Cape capitalize on mistakes."

Greely (third in the Western Class B Heal Points standings) is back in action with a makeup game Thursday at York. The Rangers host Kennebunk Friday. Games at Freeport and Deering and home tilts versus Waynflete and York also remain.

"This team gets better every day," said Storey. "We'll continue improving. Every day is working toward our ultimate goal."

Cape Elizabeth (back on top in the Heals) plays host to Cheverus Friday night,

"Cheverus sticks out quite a bit because they're worth a ton of points," said Raymond. "That's a difference in ours and Famouth's schedule. We have Cheverus and Kennebunk and they have Portland and Deering. If we can get the points off Cheverus, that will go a long way."

The Capers then go to Falmouth for a critical showdown next Wednesday, which will go a long way toward determining who has homefield advantage for the postseason.

"Each game we play like it's Falmouth," said Cary. "It's definitely a big game. No doubt about it."

Games at Kennebunk and NYA, along with home tests versus Fryeburg and Yarmouth also loom.

To the finish

Cape Elizabeth's girls made it to the regional final a year ago and have even higher aspirations this spring under new coach Jeff Perkins (who was previously the program's assistant).

The Capers had been dominant in the first half of the 2012 campaign, opening with a 19-8 home win over Greely, then downing host Freeport (15-7), visiting Gorham (16-8), host York (16-8) and visiting Yarmouth (14-6).

Greely, which nearly upset Waynflete in last year's semifinals before losing, 12-11, to cap a bounce-back season, also entered 2012 with optimism, but after falling at Cape Elizabeth in the opener and edging visiting York, 11-9, fell at Massabesic (9-5) and couldn't hold a 10-3 lead in suffering a painful 12-11 home loss to Freeport last Tuesday.

Last year, Cape Elizabeth edged the Rangers at home, 9-7. The win back in April stretched the Capers' win streak to five over Greely, dating back to a 12-9 home win for the Rangers on April 30, 2008.

Monday's game appeared destined for another lopsided score, but this time, Greely put a mighty scare into Cape Elizabeth before the Capers escaped in a game originally scheduled to be played in Cumberland, but moved to Hannaford Field turf due to the poor weather conditions.

It took just 1 minute, 47 seconds for Cape Elizabeth junior standout Talley Perkins to put the hosts ahead to stay with an unassisted goal. Junior star Lauren Steidl then scored three straight unassisted goals, at 20:57, 18:30 and 15:07, to give the Capers a 4-0 advantage.

The Rangers got on the board with 14:37 to go in the first half when sophomore Cameron Keefe took a pass from junior Julia Mitiguy and beat Cape Elizabeth junior goalie Elin Sonesson to make it 4-1.

Unassisted goals from sophomore Hannah Newhall, sophomore Liz Robinson and Perkins pushed the Capers lead to 7-1 before Mitiguy scored on a free position with 6:13 left in the half.

With 5:23 remaining, Newhall scored unassisted, making it 8-2.

No one on hand could have guessed that Cape Elizabeth wouldn't score again.

With 2:13 to go before halftime, Mitiguy scored again (from senior Meaghan Labbe) pulling Greely within 8-3 at the break.

The Rangers came out a different team in the second half and quickly chipped away at the deficit.

Just 33 seconds in, junior Paige Tuller, who was very effective in the draw circle, scored unassisted and it was 8-4.

With 22:48 to go in regulation, senior Audrey Parolin scored an unassisted goal to cut the Capers' lead to 8-5.

With 12:23 showing, Tuller set up sophomore Teal Otley for a goal and suddenly it was 8-6, forcing Perkins to call timeout.

It didn't spur the offense, which either couldn't get possession or was denied by Greely freshman goalie Mary Morrison.

With 8:49 remaining, the Rangers made things very interesting as Keefe set up Labbe for a goal.

Both teams would have chances to change the score, but couldn't do so.

With 2:40 to play, Newhall earned a free position which could have given Cape Elizabeth some breathing room, but Moorison made the save.

"Our goalie had a stellar performance," said Rangers second-year coach Sara Dimick. "That was the backbone to our second half."

After the teams traded turnovers, Tuller had a good look with 41.4 seconds to play, but shot wide.

Then, with 10 seconds remaining, Mitiguy earned a free position, but was fouled, giving her another chance.

Mitiguy set up with 7.1 seconds to play and it was clear the game would come down to Mitiguy versus Sonesson.

Mitiguy raced in, shot and Sonesson stood tall, making the save.

Time ran out and the Capers finally exhaled as they celebrated their 8-7 win.

"We haven't a game this close yet this season," said Sonesson. "It was a lot more stressful than the last few games have been. I try to not think about the score. I try to forget about the goals I let in. I just try to focus on the ball. We kind of fell apart. We played a lot better in the first half. We beat them by a lot the first game. I think we thought it was in the bag. We had a lot of close games last year, but we're not used to it this year."

"I'm about 10 years older, I think, after that," Perkins said. "I think my eyes were closed. I saw the ball go up in the air and asked my assistant, 'Did she make the stop?' And she said, 'Yeah.' It was just phenomenal. She stepped up at the best time. It's a tribute to Greely. I told Sara, 'That's the best comeback I've seen in my five years coaching around here.' I think we were cruising a little bit. They came out and played a great second half. Truthfully, we didn't deserve to win that game. I love my girls, they played a great first half, but they didn't answer the bell in the second half."

Steidl led all scorers with three goals. Newhall and Perkins each added two and Robinson had one. All eight Cape Elizabeth goals were unassisted.

The big story for the Capers was Sonesson, who made 10 saves, none bigger than her last. Steidl went 6 of 13 on draws, while Perkins wound up 1 of 4. Perkins and junior Jane Coffrin led the team with four ground balls. Cape Elizabeth turned the ball over 15 times, an impressive stat, considering the conditions. The Capers outshot the Rangers, 24-18 (21-17 on cage).

For Greely, Mitiguy had two goals, Keefe, Labbe, Otley, Parolin and Tuller one apiece. Keefe, Labbe, Mitiguy and Tuller also had assists. Morrison sparkled with 13 saves. Tuller won 10 of her 17 draws.

The Rangers had a commanding 42-26 advantage in ground balls. Tuller led the way with eight. Parolin grabbed five. Greely committed 20 turnovers.

"It was very exciting," said Dimick. "We ran out of time. We had opportunities at the end, but it didn't go our way. It was a huge stepping stone for my girls. They've worked so hard this season, trying to figure out how to make it work. Continuing to lean on each other and support each other. Communication was there today. The heart and hustle we've been looking for was there. They brought it today. I'm really proud of them. I think the defense was sliding better in the second half. Cape's a tough team. We played much better than the first game."

Both teams have a long way to go this spring.

Greely (sixth in the Western B Heals) has a makeup game at York Wednesday, visits Waynflete in a playoff rematch Thursday and plays host to Windham Friday. The Rangers also host Wells and NYA and play at Fryeburg and Freeport. Greely needs some wins to make the playoffs, where it could be quite dangerous.

"I think it'll be a different story the rest of the way," said Dimick. "This is something we can build on. We want to get some wins and get in the playoffs."

Cape Elizabeth (second to Waynflete in the standings) is battling Falmouth and the undefeated Flyers for top honors in Western B. The Capers have a Heal Points-rich showdown at two-time defending Class A champion Scarborough Saturday. Cape Elizabeth still has home games remaining against Freeport, Wells and York and goes to Fryeburg and Falmouth.

"We have to work hard in practice and take it one game at a time," said Sonesson.

"We have a big game against Scarborough Saturday," Perkins said. "It's all about getting homefield if you can. I want to get a home game. We're certainly playing hte Heal Point game. We got some Heal Points beating Gorham. Now we have to go out and really prove how good we are playing against the best team in Class A, which is Scarborough. We just need to keep working. We've tried to keep it real basic and try to be great at a few things instead of good at a lot things. It's worked for us in the first five games. It's evident with a team who's seen us what those were. Maybe I need to come up with a few more tricks we haven't used. I had some experience on the sideline. It's a lot different running the show. This gives us something to work on. They all realize they got away with one. We'll learn from it and try to be better. We have big games coming up and now we know we can play in a close game."

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