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Falmouth and Cape battle to scoreless tie

Sports

Falmouth and Cape battle to scoreless tie

FALMOUTH—The Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth boys' soccer teams would have liked to come away from Wednesday evening's showdown with a victory, but considering the quality of the Western Maine Conference this fall, even a tie is an acceptable result.

And that's exactly what happened when the ancient rivals squared off for the first of two meetings this fall, this one on Falmouth's turf.

Despite carrying play much of the first half, the hosts couldn't score and the game went to the half scoreless. The second half was more even, but again, neither squad could tickle the twine. The game went to overtime and even 10 extra minutes couldn't solve anything and the Capers and Yachtsmen wound up splitting valuable Heal Points with a 0-0 deadlock.

"It's like kissing my sister," said longtime Falmouth coach Dave Halligan. "We had chances. We're not satisfied with the tie, but we'll build on it. I saw the sparks there. It's just a matter of putting it together."

"It's not a loss," Cape Elizabeth coach Ben Raymond said. "It's going to be worth a bunch of points in the long run. Our goal is to keep accumulating points. It's not as many as a win, but it's a lot more than a loss. We'll play them again and see what happens."

Longtime acquaintances

Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth have been doing battle, in hotly contested fashion, for decades. While the teams don't meet in the postseason, the two annual showdowns are always intense.

The Yachtsmen entered the game having won three of the past four meetings (tying the other), including a pair of 1-0 triumphs a year ago. Overall, since 2001, Falmouth held a 14-7-3 edge entering Wednesday's contest (please see below).

The Yachtsmen, who repeated as Class B champions in 2012 and will now compete in Class A for the playoffs, opened with victories over host Gray-New Gloucester (4-0) and visiting Kennebunk (2-1, on junior Luke Velas' goal with seconds remaining in the second overtime).

The Capers, a longtime Class A postseason stalwart, now in Class B for the playoffs, battled host York to a scoreless tie in the opener, then handled visiting Poland, 4-0.

Wednesday night, despite some breathtaking moments, a goal never came.

Falmouth had the better of the chances in the first half.

Less than a minute in, the Yachtsmen earned their first corner kick and sophomore Nigel Dunn's serve forced Cape Elizabeth senior goalkeeper Austin Andrews to come out and cradle the ball out of harm's way.

A minute later, the Capers got a look and junior free kick specialist extraordinaire Griffin Thoreck sent a bid in from the side that Falmouth senior goalkeeper Will D'Agostino had to punch away.

In the ninth minute, the dangerous Velas had a good chance, but Cape Elizabeth senior Danny Brett, who shadowed him all night, broke up the play.

Velas fired a low shot on goal in the 11th minute, but Andrews sprawled to make the save.

Midway through the first half, Capers junior Noah Haversat had a couple looks, but his first bid was sent high and wide and his second was saved by D'Agostino.

With 20:49 to go before halftime, Cape Elizabeth junior Eddie Galvin had a look from the top of the box, but shot just wide.

Late in the half, Thoreck fired a low free kick that D'Agostino had to knock away and in the final seconds, Dunn sent a long pass ahead to Velas, who appeared to breaking in free, but Andrews came out and broke up the play, keeping the game scoreless after 40 minutes.

In the first half, Falmouth managed five corner kicks, while Cape Elizabeth earned three.

"We got to their corner kicks first each and every time, which is a really good feat for us," Raymond said.

Chances weren't quite as frequent in the second half, but both teams did have opportunities to break the ice.

With 35:07 left in regulation, Yachtsmen junior Ben Lydick set up Velas for a good look, but Velas couldn't make solid contact.

After Thoreck boomed a shot high and wide, Velas set up sophomore Jack Engelberger, but Andrews got to the ball a split second before Engelberger could finish. Velas kept pressuring, but couldn't finish and with 15:10 remaining, Dunn threw the ball in from the side and it landed in the box where Lydick got his head on it, but Andrews was able to make the save.

In the 67th minute, Thoreck showed off his leg with a 50-yard free kick blast that D'Agostino caught.

Neither team had a great opportunity from there and it was on to overtime.

In Maine high school soccer, teams play two five-minute "sudden victory" overtimes with the game going in the books as a tie if no one scores.

That's how it would play out.

Falmouth earned a corner just 30 seconds into the first OT, but junior Jake Grade's serve went to Andrews, who leaped, bobbled the ball, then corralled it for the save.

Later in the session, Yachtsmen senior Dane Paul fired a long shot, but Andrews made the save.

In the second OT, Falmouth had the lone chance, but Dunn's free kick was cleared.

Time then ran out on the 0-0 deadlock.

Cape Elizabeth couldn't find much fault in the tie.

"We really would have liked to put one in the net, but it's a good result," said Andrews. "It will be worth a lot of points at the end of the season. The defense did a great job. Winning balls in the air was a big part of it. (Danny Brett) was marking Luke the whole game. He did a great job. It's nervewracking when (Velas) has the ball. I tried my best to limit their chances."

"We didn't create a ton of scoring chances, but we possessed the ball and had opportunities with the ball in dangerous spots," said Raymond. "(Falmouth) tried to get the ball to one dangerous player and we tried to get the ball in the box to a bunch of dangerous players. I'd be more concerned if we weren't getting many chances. We're getting some chances. This is just our third game and we have kids playing positions they haven't played before and getting used to each other. I thought (senior) Eli (Breed) had a number of good opportunities. Noah's got to take charge more and shoot more when he gets opportunities. It's something we can continue to work on. (The defense would) love to not give up a goal all season long. If they continue to win balls in the box, we won't give up many. We're solid in the back. We have strong kids who go hard to balls. We don't let balls bounce."

Falmouth had its regrets.

"It was pretty frustrating," said Velas. "We had a lot of chances. Not being able to put one away is tough. They're a strong team. Their back line is really strong. They did a great job. That's what I expected. I think we're starting to build and get stronger. We just need to play together. If we get the extra pass or the extra hard run, we'll be fine. Will did a great job and our back line was really strong."

"(Luke) can't expect to do it himself," Halligan said. "We have to get some guys to play with him. We've always had that second scorer and that hasn't developed yet. This time of year, you play more defensively. We have nine starters gone. People are playing new positions. It's a process."

Both goalies were impressive, even if they didn't have to face a lot of shots.

"If there was only one player we could have back this year, it's (Will)," Halligan said.

"Austin did a great job tonight," Raymond said. "He brings a lot of confidence to that position. He had a lot of experience last year. His defenders listen to him quite a bit. They're confident with him behind them. That makes them play better. We have two freshmen at outside back, so their confidence in Austin helps them settle down. He takes command of the box. He comes out and gets a lot of balls that a lot of goalies don't get."

Every night's a battle

The teams will meet again Oct. 2 in Cape Elizabeth, but both squads have several stern tests in the meantime.

The Capers are back home Saturday to welcome Greely. After a home game versus Lake Region Tuesday, Cape Elizabeth plays at Yarmouth and Kennebunk.

"I feel we stack up well (with the league)," Andrews said. "If we get more creativity in the final third, we can definitely get more wins on the board. I know we have an immense amount of talent and that we can compete with every team in the state."

"The best thing about our schedule is that we'll have so many competitive games," Raymond said. "With Kennebunk joining the conference, that makes our schedule really, really strong. The kids would much rather play a competitive 0-0 game, than beat somebody, 5-0. In the long run, these games will make us better. We've had three games and already had two overtimes. Getting that experience early with a young team really helps. The schedule continues to be tough. The different thing this year is that we don't have to worry as much about Heal Points to jump over Class A teams. We're on more even ground."

The Yachtsmen make the trip to York Friday, host Poland Tuesday, then welcome Greely and have their first showdown with Yarmouth.

"The schedule is fun," said Velas. "Everyone's kind of neck-and-neck. We're trying to focus on every game, game by game. We'll see how it goes from there."

"I'm optimistic about the future," Halligan said. "We just want to make the tournament, we don't care what place we're in. We don't care if we're in A, or B, or C, we just want to be the best team we can be. We have 10 games with (Cape, Greely, Kennebunk, Yarmouth and York) and the other games are teams like Waynflete, Gray and Freeport. The kids will have to come of age. We won't have two practices in a row for a long time. For a young team that's tough, but we'll weather it."

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

Photo: Mike Strout / For The Forecaster

Cape Elizabeth senior Danny Brett hounds Falmouth junior Luke Velas and forces the Yachtsmen's scoring threat to shoot wide.

Photo: Mike Strout / For The Forecaster

Cape Elizabeth freshman Connor Thoreck and Falmouth sophomore Nigel Dunn fight for a loose ball.

Photo: Mike Strout / For The Forecaster

Cape Elizabeth senior Eli Breed heads the ball away from Falmouth junior Gabe Mahoney.

Photo: Mike Strout / For The Forecaster

Cape Elizabeth freshman Owen Thoreck appears to get the better of this collision with  the ball and Falmouth junior Ben Lydick.

Photo: Mike Strout / For The Forecaster

Cape Elizabeth senior goalkeeper Austin Andrews races out to kick the ball away from Falmouth sophomore Jesse Melchiskey.

Photo: Mike Strout / For The Forecaster

Falmouth senior goalkeeper Will D'Agostino dives to knock a shot away from the goal.

Recent Falmouth-Cape Elizabeth results

2012
@ Falmouth 1 Cape Elizabeth 0
Falmouth 1 @ Cape Elizabeth 0

2011
Falmouth 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 1
@ Falmouth 2 Cape Elizabeth 2 (tie)

2010
@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Falmouth 0
Cape Elizabeth 2 @ Falmouth 1

2009
@ Falmouth 3 Cape Elizabeth 1
Falmouth 4 @ Cape Elizabeth 0

2008
Falmouth 1 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Falmouth 1 Cape Elizabeth 1 (tie)

2007
Cape Elizabeth 1 @ Falmouth 0
@ Cape Elizabeth 2 @ Falmouth 0

2006
Falmouth 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Falmouth 2 Cape Elizabeth 1

2005
@ Falmouth 1 Cape Elizabeth 1 (tie)
Falmouth 1 @ Cape Elizabeth 0

2004
@ Cape Elizabeth 1 Falmouth 0
@ Falmouth 1 Cape Elizabeth 0

2003
Falmouth 1 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Falmouth 5 Cape Elizabeth 2

2002
Falmouth 1 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
Cape Elizabeth 3 @ Falmouth 1

2001
@ Cape Elizabeth 1 Falmouth 0
@ Falmouth 5 Cape Elizabeth 2