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Capers rally for OT win at Greely

Sports

Capers rally for OT win at Greely

CUMBERLAND—Cape Elizabeth's field hockey team flipped the switch just in time Tuesday afternoon.

Playing at Greely in an early-season rivalry contest, the Capers started fast and took a 1-0 lead just 4 minutes, 9 seconds into the contest when senior Abby McInerney scored, but the Rangers roared back and controlled play for most of the rest of the game.

Greely tied the score with 9:36 left before halftime, when senior Anna Fitch rattled the cage.

Then, with 8:35 remaining in regulation, Fitch set up junior Sophie McMonagle for a goal and the Rangers appeared on their way to a season-changing triumph.

Instead, Cape Elizabeth reawakened and with 3:55 to go, senior Sammi Altznauer backhanded home a shot which tied the score and ultimately forced overtime.

There, midway through the first session, the Capers got a goal from senior Hailey Petsinger and escaped with a 3-2 victory, improving to 4-1, while dropping the Rangers to 1-3.

"It took a lot for our team to win, but when we got momentum, it was a lot easier," said Petsinger. "We were all hoping after the tying goal, then we got the last one. I'm glad we did."

Two playoff hopefuls

Cape Elizabeth opened with a 2-1 win at Gray-New Gloucester, then dropped an agonizing 1-0 double overtime home decision to Falmouth, before defeating host Poland (3-0) and visiting Fryeburg (2-0).

Greely opened with a 5-0 home loss to Lake Region, downed visiting Poland, 5-0, then lost in a weather shortened game at Falmouth, 1-0.

The Rangers have dominated the rivalry for years, winning 17 times and tying once in a 20-game span between 2003 and 2011 (please see below), but last fall, for the first time this century, the Capers swept Greely, winning 5-4 in Cumberland and 2-0 at home.

Tuesday, Cape Elizabeth made it three in a row, but it was a struggle.

After the Rangers pressured in the first minute, but couldn't finish, the Capers transitioned to offense and after a shot from Altznauer went wide, they broke through.

Just 4:09 in, off its initial penalty corner opporunity, Cape Elizabeth went up, 1-0, as McInerney took a pass from junior Caroline Garfield and sent a shot past Greely sophomore goalie Sabrina Thompson.

The Capers almost went up by two later in the half, but Thompson made a nice kick save on a blast from junior Taylor Herrera off a corner.

With 13:50 left before halftime, Greely coach Kristina Lane Prescott (who returned to the sidelines after missing one game after the birth of her daughter, Audrey) called timeout.

"(We're) always a second half team," Prescott said. "I usually take the first seven minutes and wash my hands of it because we have to get our nerves out. I try every year to work on that."

Her team responded as the tide turned.

After a long hit by senior Kristin Dugas was saved by Cape Elizabeth junior goalie Mary DiPietro, the Rangers stayed on the attack and Dugas crossed the ball in front of the goal where Fitch swatted it into the cage to make it 1-1.

Both teams had chances to break the tie before halftime, but a feed from Petsinger was kicked away by Thompson, Greely's first corner wasn't converted, a shot from senior Mimi Lyon-Edmonson was saved by DiPietro and in the final minute, a shot from senior Cassie Demick was denied by DiPietro.

The Rangers had a 6-3 advantage in shots in the first 30 minutes.

Early in the second half, a McInerney blast went just wide and McInerney tried to feed senior Hannah Newhall racing in alone, but the pass was just long.

Greely then went on top, 2-1, with 8:35 to play.

The goal was started on a penalty corner, as the ball came to Fitch, who sent the ball to McMonagle, who tipped it past DiPietro to put the hosts on top.

Cape Elizabeth coach Darci Holland called timeout and finally, the Capers came back to life.

Just in time.

With 3:55 left, Garfield crossed the ball, it came to Altznauer on the left side and Altznauer settled the ball and whacked it backhand past Thompson and into the cage to make it 2-2.

"The goalie kicked it out, I got it back, pulled back, swung and did a reverse chip into the goal," said Altznauer. "It felt awesome."

"We've always had a problem with scoring, but this year it's gotten a lot better," Petsinger said. "We just have to keep up the intensity."

"(Sammi's) been working on that shot, which is great," Holland added. "She had one called back at Poland, which was frustrating, but she got one today."

After Cape Elizabeth just missed on a couple late opportunities, the game went to overtime.

In Maine high school field hockey, teams play two eight-minute "sudden victory" sessions and if no one scores, the game goes in the books as a tie.

On this day, only one overtime would be needed.

The winning goal came on the first good chance of the OT.

After a restart, Petsinger hit the ball toward the goal. It was sent back to her and she calmly took her time, then sent a shot on goal. The ball wasn't hit particularly hard, but it found its way through the defense and past Thompson into the goal to give Cape Elizabeth the 3-2 victory.

"I was at the top of the circle and the ball came out after a rebound and I just flicked it in," Petsinger said. "I didn't think it would go in, but we got lucky. It felt amazing. The Falmouth game helped us know we had to keep our heads up the whole time."

"We were getting worried, but our team always manages to pull it through," said Altznauer. "We're a very strong team. We weren't connecting, but at the end, but we got the intensity. Nothing's ever easy in field hockey. It was a big team effort. We had to go into overtime confident, not cocky. We did our hardest and it was great. It's an awesome feeling. It was a hard-earned win. Greely's a great team."

"Hailey is a very versatile player," Holland added. "She keeps asking me to put her at forward because she wants to score. Today I got my point across that midfielders can score too."

"It's a very big win. I'm proud of (the girls) for sticking with it. They were frustrated, but they kept digging deeper. It was not easy. This was not our best play at all. I told the girls we weren't going to the ball, we weren't communicating. We started out strong. That's how we played this season. To see them go into a lull was hard. We picked it up near the end of regulation and in overtime. We need to play the whole game that way. It's a very strong team. In the past, we had a couple really strong players who did all the scoring, but this year, we spread out the wealth. That's a big difference."

Greely finished with a 9-5 edge in shots (DiPietro made seven saves to three for Thompson). Cape Elizabeth had a 4-2 advantage in corners.

The Rangers were disappointed with the loss, but can take some good things from it.

"I take this as a positive," Prescott said. "We got comfortable and it showed. We had some solid goals. I'll take those all day long. We were very strong on defense. We have a lot of speed, which honestly is hard to control at times. Cape's strong. They have really good stick skills. They're exactly what we expected. We have to capitalize more on our possessions. Every game we're getting better and stronger. We graduated 14 girls. It's a brand new team with almost no varsity experience. There was some panic in overtime, but we're improving every single game. We're exceeding my expectations for sure."

Long way to go

Greely is back in action Thursday at Gray-New Gloucester, Next week, the Rangers play at Lake Region, then host Waynflete and Kennebunk. They have another shot at the Capers Oct. 9 in Cape Elizabeth.

Look for Greely to keep improving and be a team no one wants to face in October.

"We're getting there," said Prescott. "We need a win. I hope this gets us going. The girls are working so hard, they just need some wins to show for it."

Cape Elizabeth, meanwhile, hosts Freeport Thursday, plays at Kennebunk Monday, then hosts dangerous Yarmouth Wednesday. The Capers have a shot at a high playoff seed, but still need to get better.

"We have to keep working hard," said Altznauer. "We have to keep building."

"I think we can make it far if we keep up the intensity and go for it," Petsinger said.

"We hope to go places this year," Holland added. "We have to keep communicating and keep the intensity level the whole game. It's consistency."

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

Photo: Brandon McKenney / For The Forecaster

Greely junior Maura Perry prepares to smack the ball. Perry was a thorn in the Capers' side all afternoon.

Photo: Brandon McKenney / For The Forecaster

Cape Elizabeth junior Mikayla Pinette plays the ball upfield while Greely junior Lucy Wetzel gives chase.

Photo: Brandon McKenney / For The Forecaster

Cape Elizabeth senior Hailey Petsinger and Greely senior Kat Bower battle for possession.

Photo: Brandon McKenney / For The Forecaster

Greely senior Anna Fitch tries to steer the ball away from Cape Elizabeth junior Hannah Preble.

Recent Greely-Cape Elizabeth results

2012
Cape Elizabeth 5 @ Greely 4
@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Greely 0

2011
Greely 4 @ Cape Elizabeth 1
@ Greely 2 Cape Elizabeth 0

2010
@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Greely 1
@ Greely 1 Cape Elizabeth
Western B quarterfinals
@ Greely 4 Cape Elizabeth 3

2009
@ Greely 1 Cape Elizabeth 0
Greely 1 @ Cape Elizabeth 0

2008
Greely 1 @ Cape Elizabeth 0 (OT)
@ Greely 2 Cape Elizabeth 0

2007
@ Cape Elizabeth 3 Greely 2
@ Greely 2 Cape Elizabeth 0

2006
Greely 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 1
@ Cape Elizabeth 0 Greely 0 (tie)

2005
@ Greely 4 Cape Elizabeth 0
Greely 4 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
Western B quarterfinals
@ Greely 3 Cape Elizabeth 0

2004
Greely 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Greely 1 Cape Elizabeth 0

2003
@ Greely 6 Cape Elizabeth 2
Greely 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 2 (OT)

2002
Greely 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 1
Cape Elizabeth 3 @ Greely 2
Western B semifinals
@ Greely 6 Cape Elizabeth 0

2001
Cape Elizabeth 3 @ Greely 2
Greely 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 1