Yarmouth's offense erupts to beat Cape
YARMOUTH—The 2012 Yarmouth boys' soccer team doesn't boast a prolific scorer, but the Clippers sure have a lot of players who can step up in key situations.
Saturday evening, in a windy revival of a decades-old rivalry, Yarmouth got the jump on visiting Cape Elizabeth on junior David Murphy's early goal. Then, just over a minute after the Capers had pulled even, sophomore Adam LaBrie finished to put the Clippers on top to stay.
LaBrie scored again in the second half and senior captain Thomas Sullivan ended all doubt with another tally and Yarmouth went on to a 4-1 victory, improving to 2-0-1, while dropping Cape Elizabeth to 1-2.
"I was happy with the intensity and effort," said Clippers coach Mike Hagerty. "It was a great game. How you respond is important. Communication is so big in this sport. When these kids talk, they're really good. When we don't, we're not good. I thought we talked really well. Our effort was terrific. I think we went 15, 16 deep and it didn't feel like there was a dropoff."
Yarmouth is hoping to bounce back after last year's disappointing playoff ouster. The Clippers had to rally from a 2-0 deficit in its opener at North Yarmouth Academy and forced a 2-2 draw. Yarmouth then got in the win column Wednesday, 4-0, over visiting Lake Region.
Cape Elizabeth fell, 1-0, at defending Class B champion Falmouth in its first contest. The Capers got in the win column with a 1-0 home triumph over Fryeburg Tuesday.
Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth are perennial powerhouses in boys' soccer, squaring off twice a year as part of the quest for the Brady Cup.
Prior to Saturday, since 2001, the teams had met 19 times with six games resulting in ties. Yarmouth held an 8-5 edge in games that were decided (please see sidebar).
Last season, the Capers won at Yarmouth, 2-1, while the Clippers turned the tables at Cape Elizabeth (1-0).
Saturday, Yarmouth managed to score more goals against the Capers than in any previous meeting this century.
It didn't take long for the Clippers to break the ice. Just 4 minutes, 2 seconds in, Yarmouth earned a corner kick and instead of lofting a shot in front of the goal, junior captain Ben Decker played the ball short to Murphy, who was all by himself. Murphy took a couple touches, then unleashed a blast that Cape Elizabeth senior goalkeeper Brett Parker couldn't stop, putting the Clippers ahead, 1-0.
Three minutes later, Yarmouth threatened to double its lead, but Decker's high shot after a throw-in was denied by Parker.
After Clippers senior goalkeeper Andrew Fochler came way out to break up a long lead pass intended for dangerous Capers junior Omar Khalidi and Fochler managed to run down a ball he'd mishandled before it went into the net, the visitors got on the board.
With 7:53 to go before halftime, the Yarmouth defense wasn't able to clear the ball, it took a bad bounce and Cape Elizabeth junior Florian Krause pounced, settling the ball before pounding it into the net to tie the score.
The Clippers could have been demoralized by the turn of events, but immediately counterattacked and with 6:31 left in the half, just 82 seconds after the Capers' goal, went on top to stay when sophomore Connor Lainey set up LaBrie, who blasted a low shot that Parker couldn't stop.
"I knew we had to respond quickly," said LaBrie. "That's all I had in my head."
"That was a turning point in the game for us," said Sullivan. "We always say it's how you respond. We responded well."
"It was a little deflating," said Cape Elizabeth coach Ben Raymond. "I think we tied it up and relaxed a little bit."
Yarmouth carried a 2-1 lead into the second half and it didn't take long to extend it.
With 31:35 remaining in regulation, junior Max Watson sent a long lead pass that Sullivan got to. With Parker coming out to challenge, Sullivan sent the ball toward the goal where LaBrie was waiting all alone. LaBrie had all the time in the world to tap it home, pushing the advantage to two goals.
"We wanted to put them away," said LaBrie. "I was able to finish it."
"I saw (Adam) out of the corner of my eye," said Sullivan. "I tried to get the ball to him on the ground. I knew he'd finish it."
In the 63rd minute, the visitors had a chance to creep closer, but a shot by sophomore Noah Haversat went just high.
Then, with 16:20 to go, Sullivan ended all doubt. Yarmouth played the ball upfield and it appeared Parker would get to it first, but Sullivan turned on the jets and reached the ball before the goalie. He flicked the ball on net and it tickled the twine to account for the 4-1 final score.
"It all started with Ben Decker," said Sullivan, of his goal. "Then I got a long ball sent to me and I finished it.
"It all started in the midfield tonight with really good passing. We kept the ball on the floor, then we found lanes in the defense. We expect a lot of different guys to score."
"We had really good ball movement," added Hagerty. "The great play of the game wasn't just Tommy's goal at the end. It was that Ben didn't overcommit to a tackle, funneled it to his help, got a turnover, we switched fields with two short passes, then there was a long one. That's how we want to play. Pressure the ball the right way. We can build off of that."
Yarmouth's potential offensive balance was on display for all to see.
"I'm not sure we'll have anyone with double digit goals," said Hagerty. "We didn't expect to score four goals tonight. We got a couple interesting bounces to go our way. You can't teach speed and Tommy Sullivan got to the ball. Adam LaBrie's finishes were terrific. David Murphy had a great left-footed goal. We let one slip away against NYA. We were frustrated by that. Tonight was more reflective of how we can play when we're on the same page."
Yarmouth outshot Cape Elizabeth, 10-4 (7-3 on frame). The Clippers had four corner kicks to three for the Capers. Parker made three saves, Fochler a pair.
Cape Elizabeth knew it simply gave up too many good opportunities to a good team.
"We had mistakes and they capitalized," said Raymond. "They did a great job. Sometimes mistakes don't cost you and sometimes they do. We weren't aggressive enough. They picked up on our mistakes tonight.
"We're working things out. Getting people in the right spots. We start five sophomores. It's a young group. Finishing has been a problem for us. Absolutely. In the first two games, we did a great job possessing the ball. Tonight not as much. We're just not very dangerous. We put some balls in dangerous spots tonight, but not as much as we hoped. Each game we've played well at times, but each game, we've made mistakes."
Just getting started
The Capers are back in action Tuesday when they host York. They'll get another crack at Yarmouth Saturday, this time in Cape Elizabeth.
"I hope we don't give up four goals next time," Raymond said. "I think the guys will be fired up to play."
The Clippers return to the pitch Thursday at York, then visit the Capers. They hope to build on the victory.
"I think we can be a lot better," said LaBrie. "We have to keep going. This shows what we can do. There's a lot we can do better. It will probably be a different game over there."
"We're a young team that will get better as the season goes along," said Sullivan. "We had a slow start, but we play with a chip on our shoulders."
"We won't score four goals against them again," Hagerty added. "It'll be a different game in a week. We'll expect a one-goal game either way. They play hard and they're well coached."