Capers show balance, depth in 10-4 win at NYA
YARMOUTH—It might take the Cape Elizabeth boys' lacrosse team's offense awhile to get going, but once it does, good luck containing its depth and balance.
The host North Yarmouth Academy Panthers were able to keep the Capers off the scoreboard for over seven minutes Friday afternoon, but that only delayed the inevitable.
Cape Elizabeth got a first goal with 4:47 to go in the first quarter and quickly added a second and a third. By halftime, its lead was up to 6-1 and after three periods, the Capers were firmly in control, up, 10-1.
While NYA made a bit of a push in the fourth, it wasn't nearly enough and Cape Elizabeth went on to its 10th victory in 11 games this spring, 10-4.
The Capers had seven different goal scorers, led by junior Alex Bornick with three, and snapped the Panthers' win streak at four, dropping them to 6-5.
"We had maybe three good quarters today," said Cape Elizabeth coach Ben Raymond. "For parts of three quarters, we played very well. Defensively, we played really well. Offensively. we took advantage of some mismatches early and some transition later."
Too much depth
While Cape Elizabeth has been solid from the get-go this spring, NYA has been up-and-down.
The Panthers opened with a 10-4 victory over Wells, then fell at Yarmouth (11-9), Cape Elizabeth (14-2) and at home to defending Class A champion Scarborough (4-3). After a 17-0 home win over Fryeburg, the Panthers battled visiting Falmouth to the finish before losing, 11-7. The wins then came as NYA triumphed at Gorham (16-3), at home over Yarmouth (8-6), at Thornton Academy (3-1) and at Freeport (12-5).
The Capers opened with a 20-0 win over Lake Region, then enjoyed an 8-6 home victory over Falmouth. Cape Elizabeth followed that up with wins over visiting North Yarmouth Academy (14-2), host Waynflete (15-5), host Yarmouth (12-8), visiting Greely (14-5) and Cheverus (12-2). After a 14-12 loss at Falmouth, the Capers downed host Kennebunk (12-3) and visiting Fryeburg (19-0).
Cape Elizabeth entered Friday's game having beaten NYA in eight straight meetings (please see sidebar), including the home romp April 25.
NYA hoped to administer a defeat to the Capers for the first time since beating them four straight in the 2006 and 2007 seasons, but it wasn't to be.
Panthers sophomore goalie Wesley Nolan made five first quarter saves to fluster Cape Elizabeth, but the visitors finally broke through with 4:47 left in the first period when freshman Griffin Thoreck scored unassisted on a rebound.
Second later, senior Thomas Bottomley hit the pipe, but the Capers would miss their next opportunity.
With 3:01 showing, senior Timmy Lavallee set up Bornick, who beat Nolan to make it 2-0.
Fifty-eight seconds later, Bornick fed Bottomley for a goal and it was 3-0 Cape Elizabeth after one.
The Panthers got on the board with 6:31 to go before halftime when junior T.J. Daigler scored unassisted, but a little over a minute later, Capers senior Brian Brett answered with an unassisted goal, shot through a screen.
With 4:15 to play in the half, senior Forest Hewitt scored unassisted after a 360-degree spin move on a defender and with 2:45 showing on the clock, after Daigler was robbed by Cape Elizabeth senior goalie Will Goduti at the other end, Bornick scored unassisted to make it 6-1 Capers at the break.
Ten saves from Nolan kept the game from getting completely out of hand as Cape Elizabeth enjoyed a 25-9 shots advantage.
Slightly less than five minutes into the third quarter, playing two men-up, Bornick set up Thoreck for a goal and a 7-1 lead.
After a turnover, junior Cam Wilson scored an unassisted goal at 4:01.
Then, in the final minute of the third, sophomore Justin Cary assisted on a Bornick goal and off the ensuing draw win, Brett passed to Cary who finished for a 10-1 lead.
NYA would play much better in the fourth quarter, keeping Cape Elizabeth off the board while scoring three times.
Senior Forrest Milburn (from junior Oliver Silverson) scored at 9:19, then junior Jacob Scammon scored unassisted at 7:47 and again at 4:23 to make the final margin 10-4.
"I think we relaxed a bit up 10-1," Brett said. "We wanted to come out hard today. We had a team talk and decided we wanted to be determined the rest of the season and have a successful playoffs. (NYA's) a good team. They're a lot better. Last time, they were hurt by penalties. We were watching out for them."
Cape Elizabeth got three goals from Bornick, two from Thoreck and one apiece from Bottomley, Brett, Cary, Hewitt and Wilson. Bornick also had two assists, while Brett, Cary and Lavallee each had one. Goduti made seven saves.
"We missed a couple slides, but on the whole, Goduti did an excellent job," Brett said. "We talked about a team effort. We moved the ball around, not having one person dodge, being unselfish. I think we did a good job of that today."
"We moved the ball fairly well," Raymond said. "We did a good job taking what was given to us. We didn't force the issue. We played much more balanced team offense. We had longer possessions. We're really trying to focus on being smarter with the ball and not worrying about how quickly we score and how many we score, as long as we score more than the other team."
The Capers won 8 of 17 faceoffs, as Bottomley split his 16 chances and Thoreck went 0 for 1. Bottomley and Brett led the team with eight ground balls apiece. Bornick and Lavallee each finished with five.
"We had a talk about ground balls being as important as shots because it's possession one way or the other," Brett said. "We keyed in on that."
Cape Elizabeth turned the ball over 20 times, but forced 30 giveaways. The Capers had a 39-24 advantage in shots (25-11 on cage).
For NYA, Scammon scored twice, Daigler and Milburn once each. Silverson had the Panthers' lone assist.
Nolan excelled, making 15 saves.
"We've been leaning on Wes all season," said NYA coach Peter Gerrity. "He did it again today. He made some saves he probably had no business making. It helps to have him in there."
"He made some really good saves," said Raymond. "He probably made four point blank saves. That forced our shooters to get a little jittery and stop shooting as much."
NYA had a 9-8 edge in faceoff wins as junior Austin Kidder went 5 of 8, sophomore Colin Merrill 3 of 5, junior Ben Claytor 1 of 2, Daigler and senior Jarno Mannisto both 0 of 1.
Scammon led the team with eight ground balls. Claytor had five.
The Panthers put forth a gritty effort, but it wasn't enough.
"We were happy with the pace we held them to, but in transition and unsettled, they're not unstoppable, but they're close," said Gerrity. "We finally started clicking the way we wanted to on offense, getting the ball moving fast and keeping it moving around."
One game left
NYA finishes its regular season at Falmouth Wednesday. On May 7, at home, the Panthers gave the Yachtsmen a scare before falling, 11-7.
"Falmouth will be a big one," said Gerrity. "We're pleased with how we played them the first time. We want to go down there and see how we can do the second time."
The Panthers will probably wind up fourth in the Eastern Class B Heal Points standings. If NYA goes in fourth, it will likely host Maranacook/Winthrop a quarterfinal round playoff game June 6.
"The first game will be home unless there's an upset," Gerrity said. "I feel like we're on an upward trajectory. I hope that continues. I hope we can show other teams that we are."
Cape Elizabeth will close at home Wednesday versus Yarmouth. The only way the second-ranked Capers can leapfrog Falmouth and finish first in Western B would be with a victory and a Yachtsmen loss to NYA.
"We'll be conditioning a lot," said Brett. "We have our minds set on a state championship. We know we have to go through good teams. We have to focus on ourselves. We're pretty comfortable with (playing at Falmouth). Their field is similar to ours. We'll have a lot of fans go over there. We'll definitely be ready."
"I don't think there's any way we can move up," Raymond said. "The end of the schedule has been nice. We've had quality games, which is good. Playing these competitive games at the end will definitely help us out."