Cape Elizabeth sophomore Liv Cochran gets a step on Oak Hill junior Jade Sturtevant during the teams’ Class B South quarterfinal Friday afternoon. The Capers advanced with a decisive 6-0 victory.
Cape Elizabeth junior Tory McGrath and Oak Hill senior Lydia Therrien fight for the ball.
WALES—Cape Elizabeth’s girls’ soccer team was chomping at the bit and the Oak Hill Raiders paid the price in the teams’ finally-completed Class B South quarterfinal Friday afternoon.
After the game was postponed three different times and every other team in the region got to complete their quarterfinal, the Capers finally got to take the field and it didn’t take long for them to suggest that they’re going to be a very difficult out in this postseason.
Seventh-ranked Cape Elizabeth got the only goal it would need in the seventh minute when sophomore Karli Chapin set up junior Riley Dall to put the second-seeded Raiders in a hole.
Chapin then added to the lead with an unassisted goal in the 18th minute and a mere 23 seconds later, Chapin set up sophomore Prezli Piscopo to make it 3-0.
Later in the half, the Capers got tallies from junior Tory McGrath and sophomore Liv Cochran for a commanding 5-0 advantage at the break.
In the second half, Cape Elizabeth’s chances largely resulted in frustration, but with 31:39 left, senior Sarah Knupp finished and the Capers went on to a decisive and impressive 6-0 victory.
Six different players scored as Cape Elizabeth improved to 10-6, ended Oak Hill’s season at 13-2 and advanced to meet third-ranked, ancient rival Greely (12-3) in the semifinals Monday at 6 p.m. in Cumberland.
“The girls were hungry to play and they never let up,” said Capers coach Craig Fannan. “It was an absolutely fantastic start.”
Friday’s contest was supposed to be played Tuesday afternoon, but when Cape Elizabeth’s bus arrived, rain began to fall and the game was postponed. Steady rain Wednesday and Thursday prevented it from being made up then and when the sun finally broke out Friday, Oak Hill determined its field was playable (the contest would have been played on the turf at Morse High School otherwise) and it was game-on.
“We were really ready to play,” Chapin said. “We were upset when it got canceled (Tuesday), but we stayed relaxed and got practice in.”
“It was quite a wait,” Fannan said. “We drove up here and it got called off. Everyone else played and we wanted to play. We couldn’t train Wednesday. We hoped to play yesterday, but we had a practice instead. It was a challenge for the girls.”
Cape Elizabeth had an up-and-down regular season against a very challenging schedule and its 8-6 record gave it the No. 7 seed in Class B South. Saturday, the Capers eliminated No. 10 Gray-New Gloucester, 3-1, in the preliminary round.
Oak Hill, meanwhile, lost just once in the regular season, a 2-0 setback to Madison in the 13th contest, but won every other game to earn the No. 2 seed in the region.
Entering play Friday, the teams had no postseason history, but in the first meeting, it didn’t take long for Cape Elizabeth to take care of business.
The Capers got their first corner kick a minute in, but couldn’t finish.
In the second minute, Cochran was just high with a shot.
The Raiders then earned the first shot on frame in the fourth minute, but senior Sydney Drew was denied by Cape Elizabeth sophomore goalkeeper Lilia Membrino.
Then, with 33:51 on the first half clock, the Capers got the jump.
Chapin would set it up as she won the ball and passed to Dall on the left flank. Dall then chipped a shot from about 20-yards out and it got over the head and deflected off the fingertips of Oak Hill senior goalkeeper Anna Dodge and went into the net for a 1-0 lead.
“That first goal meant a lot,” Dall said. “Scoring first was a key factor. I just got the ball and dipped it over her head.”
Cape Elizabeth kept the pressure on, but was frustrated, as Piscopo had a low shot saved, Knupp missed just wide and Piscopo was denied by Dodge.
Then, with 22:44 left in the half, Chapin took care of business herself, eluding three defenders before beating Dodge with a low shot for a 2-0 lead.
“I practice those kinds of plays,” said Chapin. “I try to take on other players. We didn’t know much about Oak Hill coming in. We knew they’d be good, so we came out strong.”
Before the Raiders could absorb that goal, they were shocked by another, as Chapin passed to Piscopo for an easy finish and a 3-0 lead with 22:21 remaining in the half.
The Capers weren’t close to finished, as with 16:04 left, Piscopo set up McGrath for a gorgeous finish on a low rocket just inside the far post for a 4-0 lead.
After Dodge made a nice save on a Chapin header off a corner kick, Cochran missed wide.
She wouldn’t miss on her next chance, as with 5:21 remaining in the half, Chapin had a shot saved off a corner kick, but Cochran banged it home for a 5-0 advantage.
Cape Elizabeth nearly got a sixth goal as time expired in the half, but an apparent score off a corner kick was ruled to have come just after the horn.
Regardless, the Capers had a 10-1 edge in shots in the first half and had a 6-0 advantage in corners. Dodge did make five saves for the hosts.
Early in the second half, Cape Elizabeth got bids from Piscopo (which was saved by Dodge) and Cochran (a shot off a corner which was saved by Dodge).
Then, with 31:39 remaining, a Piscopo shot was saved by a diving Dodge, but Dall collected the loose ball and set up Knupp for a 6-0 lead.
The Raiders did have a couple chances to answer, but Membrino denied Drew and after Membrino was replaced in goal late by senior Emily Healy, junior Eliza Whisenant had a shot saved by Healy.
The Capers ran out the clock from there and after a last-second goal by Oak Hill junior Aubriana Deslaurieres was waved off for being off side, the visitors prevailed, 6-0.
“Practicing on grass definitely impacted our play here today,” Dall said. “The idea was to keep taking shots. If we missed, we’d keep shooting.”
“We didn’t know anything about Oak Hill, other than their record, so this was difficult to prepare for,” Fannan said. “We’ve been good all season, but our record hasn’t told the story. The girls were ruthless today. The build up of play was excellent. We wanted to shoot from anywhere. That set the tempo. We hoped for this at the start of the season. Last year was a transition year for us. We thought we’d be stronger this year with a lot of experience. Hopefully we’ll keep it going.”
Cape Elizabeth had a 17-3 advantage in shots on frame, a 9-0 edge in corner kicks and got two saves from Membrino and another from Healy.
Dodge stopped 11 shots for the Raiders.
Monday, for the 19th time since 1985, Cape Elizabeth will battle Greely in the crucible of the postseason. The Rangers have won 10 of the previous 18 meetings, but the last three have gone to the Capers, including a 2-1 (4-2 on penalty kicks) decision in the 2014 Western Class B Final.
The teams met twice this fall and each won on the other’s field, as Cape Elizabeth prevailed in Cumberland, 3-2, and Greely returned the favor at Hannaford Field, 4-3.
“We have to keep working hard,” Chapin said. “It’s fun to play Greely.”
“We’ll practice on grass again and we’ll keep our spirits high,” said Dall. “This will help us going into our next game. We’re excited to go there and try to beat them on their home field.”
“It’s always fun to play Greely,” Fannan added. “I’m sure it’ll be one goal and hopefully we fall on the right side of it. They’re playing well. It’s Greely, Cape, Yarmouth and York, the big four powerhouses. It’ll come down to who has the better quality. We’ll have fun doing it.”