Painful losses the theme in football, soccer postseason

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Cape Elizabeth’s Prezli Piscopo (10) scores the second of her three goals in Tuesday’s 3-2 win at Greely in a Class B South semifinal. The Capers advanced to face top-ranked, undefeated, defending state champion Yarmouth in Thursday’s regional final.

(Ed. Note: For the complete Cape Elizabeth-Oak Hill and Cape Elizabeth-Greely girls’ soccer game stories, see theforecaster.net)

While a few teams remain, the football and soccer playoffs have brought no shortage of agony to local squads.

Here’s a look at all the recent postseason action:

Girls’ soccer

Cape Elizabeth’s girls’ soccer team has faced its share of weather and travel-related challenges, but as of press time, along with Scarborough, was still standing in the chase for a Gold Ball.

The Capers, ranked seventh in Class B South, ousted No. 10 Gray-New Gloucester, 3-1, in the preliminary round, then had to wait through three days of rainouts (including one when they had already traveled to Wales) to face No. 2 Oak Hill in the quarterfinals last Friday. It proved to be worth the wait for Cape Elizabeth, as Riley Dall scored early.

“That first goal meant a lot,” Dall said. “Scoring first was a key factor.”

Karli Chapin, Prezli Piscopo, Tory McGrath and Liv Cochran added tallies for a 5-0 halftime lead. Sarah Knupp added a goal in the second half and the Capers rolled, 6-0.

“We didn’t know much about Oak Hill coming in,” Chapin said. “We knew they’d be good, so we came out strong.”

“The girls were hungry to play and they never let up,” said Capers coach Craig Fannan. “It was an absolutely fantastic start.”

Cape Elizabeth was scheduled to play at No. 3 Greely in the semifinals Monday, but bad weather and the lack of power in Cumberland pushed the game back to Tuesday afternoon, where in the 19th all-time postseason meeting between the rivals, the teams put on a show.

The Capers fell behind early when they hit the crossbar at one end and the Rangers transitioned for a goal in the eighth minute. Piscopo tied the contest by burying a free kick in the 14th minute and scored on a rebound for a 2-1 lead with a little over 10 minutes remaining in the first half. Greely tied the game on a penalty kick with 25 minutes left in regulation, but with 8:40 to go, Piscopo took a corner kick and somehow sent it in the side netting, just inside the far post, to give Cape Elizabeth a stirring 3-2 victory.

“I feel like it’s always a hard game against Greely,” said Piscopo. “They came out as strong as we did. We needed to show what we had and we did.”

“Prezli is incredible,” Fannan said. “When she shows up and wants to play, there’s no one who can keep up with her.”

Cape Elizabeth (11-6) lost twice to Yarmouth this season, 7-0 on the road and 1-0 at home. The teams split two previous playoff meetings, with the Capers prevailing, 1-0, in the 2014 semifinals and the Clippers winning, 3-1, in last year’s semifinals.

“I feel like it’ll be a really good match this time,” Piscopo said. “We have nothing to lose.”

“We have belief in ourselves and we have all season,” Fannan said. “We’ll have our hands full against Yarmouth. We’ll go in and do what we did last time. We have to play a perfect game.”

If Cape Elizabeth can continue its Cinderella run with an upset, it will meet either Presque Isle (13-3) or Hermon (13-3-1) in the Class B state final Saturday at 5:30 p.m., at Deering High School in Portland. The Capers have never faced either school in the playoffs.

Scarborough, the top seed in Class A South after a 13-0-1 regular season, survived No. 8 Windham’s upset bid in the quarterfinals, 2-1, then outlasted No. 5 Cheverus, 1-0, in Saturday’s semifinal round. Molly Murnane had the winning tally late in regulation. The Red Storm (15-0-1) hosted No. 2 Kennebunk (12-3-1) in the regional final Wednesday. On Sept. 13, Scarborough beat the host Rams, 6-0. The teams had no playoff history.

If the Red Storm advanced to the Class A state final, they would travel to Hampden Academy Saturday at 12:30 p.m. to meet either Camden Hills (15-0-1) or Bangor (12-3-1). Scarborough has no postseason history with either squad. 

Boys’ soccer

No local boys’ soccer teams survived the semifinal round.

Cape Elizabeth advanced the deepest. The third-seeded Capers, avenged last year’s playoff ouster with a 2-1 home victory over rival Greely in the Class B South quarterfinals last Thursday. John O’Connor and Alex Riggle had the goals. Cape Elizabeth then visited second-seeded York in the semifinals Saturday and neither team could score in 80 minutes of regulation or 30 minutes of overtime. The contest would be decided on penalty kicks, where the Wildcats converted four to the Capers’ two, ending Cape Elizabeth’s season at 10-5-1.

South Portland, coming off a program-best 13-0-1 regular season, couldn’t parlay the top seed in Class A South into a long-desired first Gold Ball. In the quarterfinals last Wednesday, the Red Riots met No. 8 Thornton Academy in a game moved to Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland due to poor weather and South Portland’s prolific offense couldn’t produce a goal in 110 minutes of regulation or overtime. In PKs, the Golden Trojans made four to the Red Riots’ one and South Portland’s season ended at 13-1-1.

Scarborough, the No. 5 seed in Class A South, beat No. 12 Kennebunk, 3-0, in the preliminary round, then fell, 1-0, at No. 4 Portland on a late goal in the quarterfinals to wind up 11-5.

Football

Cape Elizabeth was victorious, while South Portland fell short in the quarterfinal round of the football playoffs last Friday night.

The Capers, ranked second in Class C South after a 6-2 regular season, had no trouble with seventh-ranked Lake Region, rolling to a 50-7 victory. Jack Glanville scored on 23- and 19-yard touchdown runs and quarterback Andrew Hartel hit Ethan Convey for a 38-yard score and a 22-0 first quarter lead. After the Lakers got on the board late in the first period, Cape Elizabeth extended its advantage to 43-7 at halftime behind a 6-yard TD run from Ryan Weare and touchdown passes from Hartel to Jacob Brydson of 6-yards and to Glanville from 20 yards out. The Capers completed the scoring on a 1-yard TD run from Jack Tower.

Cape Elizabeth hosts No. 3 Fryeburg Academy (7-2) in the semifinals Friday night. On Oct. 13, the Capers beat the visiting Raiders, 23-7. The teams have no playoff history.

South Portland, the No. 4 seed in Class A South, hosted fifth-ranked Sanford in its quarterfinal. Three weeks after beating the visiting Spartans, 28-6, the Red Riots weren’t as fortunate in the rematch, falling, 21-18, to finish 4-5. South Portland got a 51-yard TD pass from Jake Poole to Zack Johnson, but Sanford answered with a touchdown and a two-point conversion. The Red Riots got a 25-yard field goal from Johnson to lead, 10-8, at the break, but the Spartans got the next 13 points. South Portland rallied, as Poole hit Jimmy DiBiase for a 29-yard touchdown and the Red Riots added the two-point conversion (a pass from Poole to Spencer Houlette). Poole (who had 216 passing yards) then led South Portland into Sanford territory late with a chance to tie or win, but the Red Riots fumbled, ending their season.

“The overriding theme that I have right now is just how proud I am of this group of kids this year,” said South Portland coach Steve Stinson. “Obviously we wanted to be on the other side of the scoreboard but it was very fitting to see us swinging to the very last second in a very good playoff game.”

Scarborough, meanwhile, the top seed in Class A South, will host Sanford (5-4) in the semifinals Friday. The Red Storm handled the visiting Spartans, 49-15, Sept. 8. Scarborough has won all three prior playoff meetings, with a 28-0 victory in the 2015 Class A South quarterfinals the most recent.

Press Herald staff writer Steve Craig contributed to this story.

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

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001.
Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net.
I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.