Waynflete holds on, frustrates Cape again
CAPE ELIZABETH—Waynflete did it again.
And Cape Elizabeth was left to wonder how, if and when it will ever find a way to beat the Flyers.
Wednesday evening at Hannaford Field, 10-and-a-half months after its epic victory in the Western Class B Final on the same turf, Waynflete beat the Capers for the 20th straight time, building an early lead before holding on for dear life down the stretch.
The Flyers jumped out 4-0 behind the pinpoint passing of senior Sadie Cole, but Cape Elizabeth appeared to earn some momentum late in the first half when it drew within two goals, 5-3.
No one finishes halves like Waynflete, however, and with time about to expire, Cole assisted on yet another goal, to junior Walker Foehl, last year's hero, for a three-goal halftime advantage.
When the Flyers made it 9-4 on a Cole unassisted goal with 14:33 to play, the game appeared as good as over, but showing just how amazingly potent their offense can be, the Capers roared back, scoring four times in slightly over three minutes, capped by senior standout Talley Perkins' strike with 8:27 showing, making the score 9-8.
Cape Elizabeth wouldn't be able to complete the stunning comeback, however, and suffered an all-too-familiar result as it didn't score again, Waynflete managed to milk time off the clock and Foehl scored an insurance goal that led the way to a 10-8 Flyers' triumph.
Foehl led all scorers with four goals, Cole had four assists, Waynflete's unrivaled zone defense carried the night and senior goalie Katherine Torrey stood tall when she had to as the Flyers improved to 5-0 and handed the Capers their first setback in four outings.
"Everyone knew coming in it would be close," Cole said. "We knew we had to play every single minute. We knew it would be close until the very end. I think it was really important to come in and prove ourselves. I think we're even better than last year."
Last year's regional final was a game for the ages. The undefeated Capers shot to a 6-2 lead and were still up by three, 8-5, with less than five minutes to go, but the Flyers rallied, tied the game and forced overtime on then junior Martha Veroneau's jawdropping unassisted tally with 1:59 to go. After each team scored twice in overtime, it was on to "sudden victory" and there, Foehl won it, 11-10.
Waynflete went on to handle Freeport in the state game, 16-5, to win the crown for the ninth time since the Maine Principals' Association began sponsoring the sport in 1998.
This spring, the Flyers returned just about everyone, making them the favorite in the eyes of many.
That group doesn't include Cape Elizabeth, which feels it's the team to beat with a pair of Division I-bound standouts: Lauren Steidl (Princeton) and Perkins (Boston University).
Both teams made the April portion of their schedule their personal romping grounds.
The Capers opened with an 18-5 victory at Falmouth, pulled away to beat visiting reigning Eastern B champion Freeport, 13-4, then won a crossover game at Gorham, 13-7.
The Flyers dominated visiting Wells, 14-2, host Yarmouth, 17-5, visiting Kennebunk, 15-1, and host Fryeburg, 15-3, to start the year.
Entering Wednesday's contest, Waynflete had beaten the Capers 19 straight times (please see sidebar, below), dating back to Cape Elizabeth's 10-9 win at Waynflete, way back on May 4, 2002, less than eight months after 9/11 and a mere three months after Tom Brady and the New England Patriots won their first Super Bowl title.
Whether the games were played in Cape Elizabeth or in Portland, whether they were in the regular or postseason and whether the Capers were coached by Stephanie McLarty, Sarah Kinsella, Kurt Chapin or Jeff Perkins, the result was always the same, a Flyers' triumph.
Wednesday, the Capers hoped to end that nearly 11-year drought, but the poised and talented Flyers proved to be too much to overcome once more.
Unlike last year, when it played from behind virtually the whole game, Waynflete got the jump.
After Cole won the opening draw, the Flyers settled their offense and went on top, 1-0, when, in a sign of things to come the whole first half, Cole passed to Foehl for a goal just 1 minute, 15 seconds in.
The hosts looked to answer a minute later, but a free position bid from junior Abby McInerney was turned aside by Torrey, now in her fourth year as a starter who always plays her best in the biggest games.
Cape Elizabeth sophomore goalie Kate Bosworth made a big save on a Veroneau shot at the other end to keep it a one-goal game, but with 16:36 to go in the first half, the Cole-to-Foehl combination bore fruit again and the lead was 2-0.
"I think I just had a lot of trust going into the game," said Cole, who will be following in the footsteps of her older sister, Ellie, and will play at Colorado College next year. "I'd rather assist than score, honestly. It's more fun to have a play with a teammate than to score by myself. My teammates got open. The whole attack was there for easy shots."
With 15:45 to go before halftime, Cole registered her third assist, this one to Veroneau.
"I was a little bit nervous last night, remembering how tough last year's game was," said Veroneau. "It was an exhilarating game for sure. I didn't sleep after that game either. We were all a little bit nervous, not knowing what would happen. Cape's a great team. They're coached well. We've been reading about them. We watched them play at Falmouth. We showed up at halftime and they were up by 10. Going up was crucial to prove to ourselves and everybody around us that we could do it."
"We knew we had to get a jump on them," said Waynflete coach Cathie Connors. "We vowed not to fall behind like we did last year. I wanted to get some room because I knew they could catch up. Sadie's assists were huge. It's not who puts it in the net. All the offensive players have a strong presence. They can all shoot. They take turns leading us in different games."
After Bosworth made a save on a Foehl bid, senior Isabel Agnew took a pass from junior Ella Millard and finished to make it 4-0 with 11:18 remaining in the half.
Steidl then took matters into her own hands and awakened the Capers from their slumber, pouncing on junior Hannah Newhall's draw win, racing in and skillfully deking three defenders before beating Torrey to cut the deficit to three.
Waynflete answered with 10:31 showing, when junior Cat Johnson scored on a free position, but a free position goal from Perkins made it a 5-2 game two minutes later.
After each goalie made a big save, Bosworth denying Cole and Torrey turning aside a shot from Newhall, Newhall took a pass from McInerney and scored with 2:20 to go and suddenly, despite being outplayed most of the half, Cape Elizabeth was only down, 5-3, and appeared poised to take the momentum into the second half.
Problem was, there was still time for the Flyers to close with a flourish and that's exactly what they did.
After winning the draw, Waynflete milked over two minutes off the clock before Cole and Foehl combined for another goal.
With time about to expire, Cole passed to Foehl, who scored, as a whistle blew for a cross check on the Capers at the same time.
After several minutes of uncertainty, the officials ruled that the goal came before the whistle and the Flyers were able to take a 6-3 advantage to halftime.
"We really focused on our possession and keeping our composure," said Foehl. "There was a sense of calm all game. Sadie was amazing with her assists. We try to go to our plays, but sometimes we just go with what we feel."
"We waited until the last seconds," said Cole. "This game's all about possession. We played it from behind and Walker was open. I just popped it in and she finished it."
"(The referees) said the shot was off before the cross check whistle," said Cape Elizabeth coach Jeff Perkins. "I don't know if I necessarily agree with that. I thought the whistle was before the shot, but to me, I thought it should have been (no goal and a free position). It was a pretty big play.
"I think it's fantastic they had that meeting together, but it lasted an awful long time if they knew what happened. I was pleased they came over and explained what happened. Usually, they just go to the center of the field and off they go. It's a great officiating crew. When you put two teams like this who go up and down the field, I thought they did a great job."
In the first half, Cape Elizabeth had nine turnovers and only managed five shots.
"We were trying to pass through their sticks and you can't do that," said Perkins. "You can't just pass through the zone. We talked about it all week. Waynflete has a phenomenal zone. You have to use a phenomenal offense to beat a great defense."
The Capers were still very much in the game at the start of the second half, but as they did to start to the game, the Flyers again came out strong and extended their lead even further.
Two minutes, 47 seconds in, Veroneau scored on a free position to make it 7-3.
Torrey kept it that way with a save on a free position shot from Cape Elizabeth senior Emily Spidle and a point blank save on a McInerney shot.
Then, with 19:23 remaining, Waynflete took its biggest lead, 8-3, when Foehl switched roles and set up Millard for the goal. The Flyers had an extra player as Talley Perkins was on the sidelines for two minutes after receiving a yellow card.
Newhall got that goal back three minutes later on a free position, but with 14:33 to play, Cole scored unassisted to make it 9-4 and seemingly put the Capers on the brink.
Instead, Cape Elizabeth roared to life.
The comeback started with 11:29 left, when junior Liz Robinson scored on a free position. Fifty-seven seconds later, McInerney beat Torrey on a free position and the lead was down to three, forcing Connors to call timeout.
It's rare that a Connors timeout doesn't turn the Flyers around, but in this case, it didn't have the desired effect.
Perkins scored unassisted (beating a defender and racing around the cage before shooting past the goalie) with 9:49 remaining and suddenly, the lead was just two.
After Torrey denied Steidl, the Capers stayed on the attack and McInerney passed to Perkins for a goal.
Just like that, Cape Elizabeth had scored three times in a 3:02 span, trailed, 9-8, and 8 minutes and 27 seconds still remained.
Desperate times called for desperate measures and Connors used her second timeout in two minutes, her final one of the game.
"At that point, I reminded them to not play not to lose," Connors said. "When you play like that, you can't fix it. I said, 'Play to win. You're a solid team. Do what you did in the first half and the first half of the second half and trust each other.' I just had to remind them."
The Capers won the draw out of the timeout, but turned the ball over and Waynflete senior Rhiannan Jackson won possession. The Flyers gave it back, but forced yet another turnover and Foehl took control.
With Waynflete trying to stall, McInerney was give a yellow card and when play resumed, Foehl fought her way through the defense, made a spin move while switching the stick from one hand to the other, then shot past Bosworth for an insurance goal with 7:06 to play.
"I was worried, because (Cape's) fastbreak is so good," said Foehl. "I felt we had to win the draw and get our momentum back and I knew we could. I just kind of went in for the shot. At the time, I thought it was a dumb move forcing it in."
"Walker's tremendous," said Veroneau. "We talk about how everybody on the team can step into a leading role, but time after time, it seems to be Walker. We can really rely on her. She did it as a sophomore and does it even more as a junior."
"Walker had some really big goals," added Connors. "She has wheels. She and Ella both work tirelessly."
Waynflete had chances to ice the win, but Bosworth denied Veroneau on a free position and Cole had a shot saved.
With 3:01 to play, Steidl's bid to cut the deficit to one was turned aside by Torrey and seconds later, Robinson got a good look, but again Torrey made the save.
"I'm comfortable," Torrey said. "It's like an out-of-body experience. I know I have to do my job. I try not to think about it, just see where the ball's going and kick it away."
"Katherine Torrey was clutch as always," said Veroneau. "She makes saves in the pressure moments. She made great saves against D1 players. She had a tremendous game."
Cape Elizabeth never got another good look and the Flyers were able to close out the 10-8 victory.
"More important than our fast start was playing to the buzzer," said Cole. "At halftime, we knew from last year's experience how quickly it could turn around. I knew they'd come back. They're an amazingly talented team. I knew they wouldn't leave without a fight. I knew it would be a one-goal game at some point. We couldn't get down on ourselves. We supported each other."
"We came out and played our game and showed what we're made of," Veroneau said. "We knew they could come back from anything. We were a little bit scared, but Cathie called timeout and told us we were better than that and to not play scared. We came back out and pulled out an exhilarating and tough win. For me personally and I think it's true for the rest of the team as well, these are the games we look forward to the most. This is when we test ourselves and see what we're made of."
"It feels amazing," Torrey said. "Cape's a great team. It's always an intense game when we play them. I'm proud of what came out of it. I thought our team did a great job. We didn't get in our own heads. We worked together. It was scary, but I think the passion we put into it, we knew we could get it back."
"We struggled a bit later in the second half when we lost our composure, but we just had to regroup," Connors added. "It's big for us as far as knowing where we stand. It was big for us to see what worked and what didn't."
Foehl led the way with four goals. Veroneau added two, while Agnew, Cole, Johnson and Millard each scored once. Cole had four assists, while Foehl and Millard each finished with one. Veroneau had a team-high six ground balls. Torrey finished with eight saves, several of them pivotal.
Waynflete's zone defense proved to be the difference.
"Our defense just sees the field so well," Torrey said. "Our crash works well. We put all our effort into it. Having (senior) Catherine (Veroneau) back, I'm so proud of her. She's done an excellent job (coming back from missing two seasons with knee injuries). Rhiannan does an excellent job. (Junior) Amelia (Deady) and (senior) Jo (Moore) put everything into it and make us proud."
"We work hard on the zone," said Connors. "The girls all do their job. When they do that, it's phenomenal. Katherine made huge saves. She's gained a lot of confidence. She knows she can do it. She has strong low defenders next to her. Rhiannan and Catherine are solid. They're playing with her."
Cape Elizabeth got three goals from Perkins, two from Newhall and one apiece from McInerney, Robinson and Steidl. McInerney had a pair of assists. Bosworth stopped six shots.
The Capers had a 10-9 edge in draws, sparked by Newhall winning five of seven. They also collected 41 ground balls to 28 for the Flyers, as Perkins grabbed 13 and Robinson seven. Cape Elizabeth overcame a sloppy start to finish with 18 turnovers. The Capers forced 20. Cape Elizabeth finished with a 19-16 shots advantage.
"We had possessions at the end," Perkins said. "I told them afterwards, 'It's about your heart and you showed it tonight.' Most teams would have stayed down. We played and I think it shows a ton about these girls and what they want to do at the end of the season. Would we have liked to win? Absolutely. We talked before the game about not getting too high or getting too low. If we won, it's great for homefield advantage and Heal Points. If we lost, it doesn't mean anything. We can still win the state championship.
"I think the whole night was a great learning experience. The girls just want to play. Sometimes, that adrenaline has to stop for them to get back to doing what's right as opposed to pushing and playing. Trying to get them to settle is like putting a harness on a tiger. It took us a little while to get into it and start playing. It's simple. It's just patience. It's going to take work and coaching to teach them to be patient and just play the game."
See you again
Cape Elizabeth and Waynflete will keep a wary eye on each other leading up to the rematch May 13 at Fore River Fields.
The Capers are back in action Friday at Wells. Next week, they host Yarmouth and three-time Class A champion Scarborough.
The final chapter of this story hasn't been written. Next time, Cape Elizabeth expects a different result.
"When we play them again, hopefully the things we didn't do great tonight, we'll do next time," Perkins said. "Hopefully the score will be different."
The Flyers take the field Friday night with another test at Falmouth.
"Falmouth will be tough," Veroneau said. "They have a lot of good players. We've had close games with them in the past and they beat us last year. We're excited for that game."
Tuesday, Waynflete hosts Freeport in a state game rematch.
As much as the Flyers enjoy winning a rivalry game in May, they're all about the month of June and will continue to improve.
A scary thought indeed, especially for the Capers, the team Waynflete torments the most.
"Winning (tonight) is a great step, but we know we'll see (Cape) again," said Cole. "Every game is a step in the process of getting better. This is another peak. We have to keep working because Cape's going to keep getting better too."
"We always know we'll have a game with Cape," Veroneau said. "We're already looking forward to facing them again."
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.
Recent Waynflete-Cape Elizabeth history
Western B Final
Waynflete 11 @ Cape Elizabeth 10 (sudden victory OT)
Waynflete 13 @ Cape Elizabeth 6
Western B Final
@ Waynflete 8 Cape Elizabeth 7
Waynflete 11 @ Cape Elizabeth 7
Waynflete 11 @ Cape Elizabeth 2
Western B Final
@ Waynflete 9 Cape Elizabeth 5
@ Waynflete 15 Cape Elizabeth 5
Waynflete 16 @ Cape Elizabeth 1
Western B semifinals
@ Waynflete 11 Cape Elizabeth 1
Waynflete 18 @ Cape Elizabeth 7
@ Waynflete 15 Cape Elizabeth 7
Western B quarterfinals
@ Waynflete 13 Cape Elizabeth 3
@ Waynflete 11 Cape Elizabeth 6
Waynflete 7 @ Cape Elizabeth 1
@ Waynflete 11 Cape Elizabeth 6
@ Waynflete 11 Cape Elizabeth 5
Waynflete 9 @ Cape Elizabeth 8 (OT)
Waynflete 8 @ Cape Elizabeth 6
West Region semifinals
@ Waynflete 16 Cape Elizabeth 7
Cape Elizabeth 10 @ Waynflete 9