Cape gets back on track with interclass win over Scarborough
CAPE ELIZABETH—Coaches generally talk to their team before a big game, putting its importance in perspective and trying to get their players fired up, but it's safe to say that Cape Elizabeth's Jeff Perkins and Scarborough's Marcia Wood didn't have to utter a syllable prior to Friday night's interclass girls' lacrosse showdown at Hannaford Field.
That's because both the Capers and Red Storm were coming off painful home losses less than 24 hours prior and neither team wanted to stumble again.
What transpired was 50 minutes of back-and-forth play between a pair of talented squads, but in the end, the team which started the strongest, finished that way as well.
Cape Elizabeth, which was stunned by visiting Yarmouth Thursday, shot to a quick 4-0 lead behind its explosive offense, but Scarborough, which lost in overtime to Cheverus Thursday, settled down and pulled within 6-4 at halftime.
The Red Storm then scored four straight goals to start the second half and seize an 8-6 lead, but Capers senior Talley Perkins wasn't about to let her team fall short again.
Perkins ended a 17-plus minute drought with a free position goal and after junior teammate Abby McInerney tied the score with 12:20 to play, Perkins gave Cape Elizabeth the lead for good with an unassisted goal with 6:20 remaining.
Scarborough had its chances to pull even, but couldn't do so and with time winding down, Perkins won a ground ball and raced in for the a goal which put the finishing touch on the Capers' 10-8 win.
Perkins led all scorers with four goals, junior Hannah Newhall added three and senior Lauren Steidl scored twice as Cape Elizabeth improved to 5-2 and dropped the Red Storm to 4-3 in the process.
"(Scarborough) sure came back," said Capers coach Jeff Perkins. "We both played tough games last night. Both teams looked like they'd been through a 15-round boxing match. I think we got a little worn down from all the energy we used building our lead and they came back strong. The girls seemed to play the way they wanted to and were supposed to. No one tried to overplay, especially at the end. They did a great job to pull it out."
Focus on today
Scarborough entered the 2013 campaign as the three-time defending Class A state champion, but Wood knew that it wouldn't come as easily this year after graduation claimed a huge chunk of experience.
Regardless, the Red Storm started fast with easy wins at McAuley (17-2) and Bonny Eagle (12-3), then let a five-goal second half lead slip away in a stunning 8-7 home loss to Yarmouth. Scarborough quickly bounced back with a 15-1 home romp over South Portland, then earned it biggest victory to date, 10-6, at Massabesic Tuesday.
Thursday evening, the Red Storm trailed visiting Cheverus, 7-2, at halftime, but roared back to tie the game and force overtime, only to see the Stags score the only two goals of the extra session in a 9-7 loss, which denied Wood her 100th career victory.
Cape Elizabeth, which came oh-so-close to a first-ever state title in the Maine Principals' Association-sanctioned era last year (losing in triple overtime to Waynflete in the regional final), entered the 2013 campaign as a favorite and started out on fire with an 18-5 victory at Falmouth. The Capers then pulled away to beat visiting reigning Eastern B champion Freeport, 13-4 and won a crossover game at Gorham, 13-7. The Waynflete bugaboo returned, however, as Cape Elizabeth was beaten by the Flyers for the 20th straight time, 10-8, at home. The Capers answered with a 17-5 victory at Wells, but Thursday, were stunned by visiting Yarmouth, 8-7.
Despite being neighbors, Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough haven't played much over the years (please see below), meeting just six times between 2002 and last season, when the Capers upset the host Red Storm, 11-5. Scarborough's last win over the Capers came in Cape Elizabeth, 15-12, in 2009.
Friday, was a roller-coaster ride which began under sunny skies, ended in dense fog and wound up with a result that was a happy one for the hosts.
Steidl opened the scoring with an unassisted goal 2 minutes, 18 seconds in, racing around the goal before beating Red Storm senior goalie Meg Kirsch.
Newhall made it 2-0 with 18:10 to go in the half with an unassisted tally.
Steidl scored again, unassisted, two minutes later, as she took on several defenders before finishing and Perkins' first goal, on a free position with 13:59 showing, gave Cape Elizabeth a quick 4-0 lead.
For the second night in a row, Scarborough had dug a steep hole.
"I don't know how to get that fire at the beginning," Wood said. "We were tired, obviously. We had a tough one last night, emotionally."
The Red Storm got its first goal with 11:06 to go before halftime, when one of the state's most dynamic combinations struck, as sophomore Kaitlin Prince fed junior Ainsley Jamieson for a shot which Capers sophomore goalie Kate Bosworth couldn't stop.
An unassisted strike from senior Avery Pietras pulled Scarborough back to 4-2 with 9:58 left in the half, but Newhall scored an unassisted goal a little over a minute later.
Prince against set up Jamieson at 7:27, but Newhall scored her third unassisted goal of the half with 5:42 remaining to make it 6-3.
An unassisted tally from senior Jess Meader brought the Red Storm back within two again, 6-4, at the break.
Scarborough kept the pressure on as the second half began, as Meader managed to bat home a loose ball a minute in to cut the deficit to 6-5.
Then, with 22:56 remaining, Prince scored unassisted to bring the Red Storm even.
A minute later, Scarborough took its first lead, 7-6, when Jamieson scored an unassisted goal and with 14:37 left in regulation, sophomore Bailey Adams grabbed the rebound of a shot Bosworth had saved and tucked it home, seemingly putting the Red Storm in control, 8-6.
The Capers would finally awaken, however.
Perkins took matters into her own hands, earning a free position and beating Kirsch with 13:12 to go to snap a 17 minute, 30 second drought and pull Cape Elizabeth within a goal.
A mere 52 seconds later, McInerney scored unassisted and the game was tied again, 8-8.
After Steidl was robbed by Kirsch and Newhall hit the crossbar, Perkins scored unassisted with 6:20 to go and finally, the Capers were ahead for good.
Not surprisingly, Scarborough would push for the equalizer.
Just 37 seconds after Perkins put Cape Elizabeth ahead, Jamieson earned a free position, but Bosworth made the save.
After Kirsch kept it a one-goal game by turning aside a Perkins free position, Prince earned a free position with 1:59 to go, but her bounce shot went harmlessly over the cage.
The Red Storm would get one more good look as Prince passed the ball to Jamieson in front, who sent it just wide. Scarborough then gave the ball away on a turnover and the Capers transitioned to their offensive end.
With the Red Storm desperately trying to force a turnover as the seconds ticked off, the ball did come loose, but Perkins not only prevented a turnover by coming up with it, she saw a seam in the defense and like she's been schooled, didn't hesitate to race to goal and score with 9.6 seconds showing to ice it.
"Coach always says if I have a chance to take a shot, to take it and that's what I did," Talley Perkins said.
"Talley played big all over the field tonight," Jeff Perkins said. "She got ground balls and worked hard. Those are the small things that make a difference. They don't get in the stats all the time. Everybody sees the goals, but there's more to it. She played a solid all-around game. Those last two goals certainly made it easier."
A Steidl draw win then allowed Cape Elizabeth to run out the clock on its much-needed 10-8 win.
"My stomach was turning," Talley Perkins said. "It was one of those things where the momentum always swings. It didn't swing in our favor, then it swung back. It was kind of like a pendulum. It was scary. I was so upset when we lost to Yarmouth last night. We really needed to win this game."
"We knew every team comes with momentum," Steidl said. "You might lose it and gain it back. We knew we had to keep pushing and playing the whole 50 minutes and not get too high on the highs or too low on the lows."
"We knew that Scarborough wouldn't quit," Jeff Perkins added. "They're a great team and Marcia's a great coach. I told the girls they wouldn't go away. They did a fabulous job getting back in the game. This schedule this year, it just keeps coming. There's no rest at all. Teams know how to play us and are doing some things and that's great, that's what they should be doing. We've had a couple letdowns and we have to make sure that this feeling of how we left tonight is the feeling we have.
"I think tonight was a great example of what we need to do, play like a team and trust everybody. We did that against Falmouth. Other games, we stopped doing that. Everybody wasn't necessarily passing. We were holding the ball a little too long. We have a team full of veteran scorers who want to go and do what needs to be done. Tonight, we made the right pass and made the game easier."
Perkins paced the offense with four goals. Newhall scored three times, Steidl had two goals and McInerney tickled the twine once. Bosworth made six saves.
For Scarborough, Jamieson scored three times, Meader had a pair of goals and Adams, Pietras and Prince each added one. Prince also had two assists. Kirsch made nine saves.
The Red Storm won 11 of 20 draws, while the Capers had an advantage of 19-14 in shots on cage.
Scarborough had come close once again, but left empty-handed.
"Not that we had doubts, but we knew it would be tough tonight," Wood said. "Those first four goals they scored didn't help, but we starting pecking away. We made them make mistakes and we capitalized on them. We got confidence, we caused turnovers and got ground balls and Kaitlin won draws. We did some good things. That's kind of been the theme. We haven't played a full, solid game yet.
"We looked at today as just seeing what happens. There weren't motivational speeches at the beginning. I tell them to give it all they've got and to leave everything on the field and good things will happen. When I say that twice and things don't quite go our way, it's hard to find motivation, but I told them that every game we're getting better."
Being in different classes, the Capers and Red Storm won't see each other again, but both could celebrate on the turf of Fitzpatrick Stadium June 15 if all goes well.
Scarborough will try again to give Wood her 100th win Tuesday, when it hosts Thornton Academy. The Red Storm visits Gorham Thursday, hosts Marshwood and Kennebunk the following week and closes the regular season at Windham May 29.
Scarborough might not earn the top seed or have homefield advantage this time around, but even in defeat, signs of a team capable of winning it all are present.
"We're getting more and more solid," Wood said. "We just have to make it to playoffs and it's a whole new game. We have to get everyone to click."
As for Cape Elizabeth, it will quickly forget this win and train its attention on its biggest rival and nemesis, Waynflete, which it battles Monday in Portland.
"Now we can focus on Waynflete," said Steidl. "We all really want to beat Waynflete. The seniors, everybody."
"I think it's incredibly important to beat (Waynflete)," Jeff Perkins said. "I think the girls need to understand that they can. Part of it's in their head and part of it is Waynflete is a phenomenally coached team. They're not going to make mistakes. We can't make mistakes. We have to play a perfect game to beat them. We've played some perfect games and some not-perfect games. Ultimately, it has to happen in the playoffs, but it would be great for our confidence to know it can be done."
The Capers also welcome Greely and Falmouth and play at Fryeburg and Yarmouth to end the regular season.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.
Recent Cape Elizabeth-Scarborough meetings
Scarborough 15 @ Cape Elizabeth 12
Cape Elizabeth 16 @ Scarborough 8
@ Cape Elizabeth 15 Scarborough 8
Cape Elizabeth 20 @ Scarborough 4
@ Cape Elizabeth 15 Scarborough 4