Yarmouth boys bounce back with impressive win at Cape

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CAPE ELIZABETH—Four days after tasting adversity for the first time, Yarmouth’s boys’ soccer team responded like the champions they are and hope to soon be again.

The Clippers, who hadn’t even surrendered a goal before giving up a pair in a 2-1 loss at Waynflete Friday, returned to the pitch Tuesday evening at Hannaford Field and restored order with an impressive victory over dangerous Cape Elizabeth.

Yarmouth demonstrated its ability to score goals in bunches, as junior Henry Coolidge tickled the twine twice in a 42-second span of the first half for a quick 2-0 lead. The Capers answered, however, as junior Connor Thoreck buried a free kick to cut the deficit in half heading to the break.

The Clippers still clung to a one-goal lead with 20 minutes to go, then put it away with a flurry.

Junior Matt Dostie finished sophomore Luke Groothoff’s feed with 19:36 remaining for a little breathing room and 3 minutes, 18 seconds later, a rebound goal from junior Gibson Harnett ended all doubt. If that wasn’t enough, freshman Eric LaBrie converted a penalty kick with 4:11 to go and Yarmouth went on to a 5-1 victory.

The Clippers had four different goal scorers, produced another solid defensive effort and improved to 7-1, dropping Cape Elizabeth to 3-4 in the process.

“As good as our offense was tonight, I thought our defenders and how they played, especially in the second half, was key,” said Yarmouth coach Mike Hagerty. “Cape’s a tough team to play because they come right at you. Our scores have been misleading this year. There have been games that have been close for a long time. This game was close.”

Many weapons

Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth are ancient rivals and perennial contenders.

After winning the Class B title a year ago, the Clippers opened the 2015 season with a 9-0 home win over visiting Poland, then enjoyed a 2-0 victory at Greely. After a 4-0 home win over Cape Elizabeth, Yarmouth won at Freeport, 5-0, blanked visiting York, 3-0, and dominated visiting Kennebunk, 8-0. Friday, the Clippers finally met their match, losing, 2-1, at Waynflete.

The Capers, semifinalists in 2014, opened with home wins over Freeport (5-0) and York (1-0), then lost at Yarmouth, 4-0. A 7-1 victory at Poland was followed by a 4-0 setback at Falmouth and an agonizing 5-4 overtime defeat to visiting Greely, with the winning goal coming on a penalty kick.

Yarmouth has had the edge in the rivalry the past several seasons, going 8-0-1 in the last nine meetings (see sidebar, below). Last year, the Clippers won 5-3 at home and 2-1 at Cape Elizabeth and on Sept. 12, Yarmouth beat the visiting Capers again.

Tuesday, in the rain, Cape Elizabeth sought its first win over the Clippers since Sept. 2, 2011 (1-0 in Yarmouth), but the defending champions again left the Capers frustrated.

The Clippers squandered a couple chances early, as senior Patrick Grant headed Groothoff’s cross high and a one-timer from senior Chris Pidden was saved by Cape Elizabeth junior goalkeeper Marshal Peterson.

Then, in the 12th minute, Coolidge put on a show.

First, with 28:54 to play in the first half, on a corner kick, Coolidge pounced on Groothoff’s serve and beat Peterson with a one-timer for a 1-0 lead.

Then, 42 seconds later, he struck again. Again, Groothoff set up the goal, feeding Coolidge in front, who settled the ball, then ripped it past Peterson to make it 2-0.

“My teammates really helped me,” Coolidge said. “I couldn’t have done that on my own. I was just the final piece. They did all the buildup.”

“That was a great minute,” Hagerty said. “(Henry’s) really embraced that holding midfield position. It’s ironic he’s getting more offensive opportunities from a defensive midfield position. Eoin Lynch, our assistant coach (and former Yarmouth standout), is talking to him about where he is on the field and when and making sure his movement has purpose. Henry had two terrific chances today and made the most of them. I think it’s all the work he did without the ball.”

In the 13th minute, Yarmouth almost scored again, but senior Nick Kamra’s low shot was denied by Peterson in sprawling fashion. 

Cape Elizabeth got back in the game with 15:55 to go in the half.

After a Clippers’ foul set up a free kick, Thoreck fired a shot through the Yarmouth wall and past diving Clippers sophomore goalkeeper Cal Owen, who got a fingertip on the ball but couldn’t stop it from rolling into the net to cut the deficit to 2-1.

“We got those two early terrific goals, but we have to be smarter about when we tackle and where. All three goals we’ve given up this year were preventable errors. That goal went through the wall. That wall shouldn’t split like that.”

Late in the half, Dostie had a shot saved by Peterson, Peterson denied a low bid by Pidden, Thoreck sent a free kick from just outside the box just high, Pidden headed a corner kick wide and Owen had to sprawl to deny a shot by Capers junior Wes Parker.

Yarmouth carried play in the second half, but took awhile to add to its lead.

After senior Jon Groothoff sent a shot wide, Pidden was robbed on a rush and senior Andrew Beatty hit the post on a free kick, the Clippers finally managed to get some breathing room.

With 19:36 to go, on a corner, Luke Groothoff’s cross found Dostie and Dostie did the rest, finishing for a 3-1 advantage.

“It was a beautiful cross by Luke,” said Dostie. “I was just on the receiving end of it.”

“(Matt’s) scored some terrific goals,” Hagerty said. “That was an IQ goal. We’ve talked about quality serves and finishing runs. That was a back post goal. He was in the right spot. He waited and knew where he was supposed to be. He’s had a terrific year offensively and he’s played most of the year at outside-back. What a great weapon to have. He’s so goal-hungry.”

With 16:18 left, Harnett scored on a rebound with Pidden getting an assist, putting the game out of reach.

“Gibson went in and scored a goal,”  Hagerty said. “Again, right place, right time. He was the beneficiary of Chris Pidden’s work ethic in creating the chance.”

Late in regulation, after Yarmouth substituted liberally, a freshman with a familiar last name added one final goal.

With 4:11 remaining, LaBrie, whose older brother, Adam, led last year’s team to the championship, was taken down in the box and earned a penalty kick which he promptly buried to Peterson’s right.

The Clippers went on to a 5-1 victory, relegating their loss to Waynflete to a minor footnote.

“I expected us to bounce back,” Coolidge said. “The loss was brutal for us. We had a hard time with it, but we pulled together as one. We’ve got to keep playing our game. We can’t get sucked into games other teams play. There’s tough competition out there, but I know if we play our game, we can persevere.”

“The loss to Waynflete was a shock, but it’s great to bounce back,” Dostie said. 

“We talked about responding to adversity,” Hagerty added. “I’m really pleased. Given the character of the kids, I’m not surprised. This team’s been so much fun to coach and I wasn’t expecting anything less.”

Yarmouth finished with a 15-3 shots advantage and a 9-1 edge in corner kicks. Owen made two saves.

The Clippers’ defensive effort was once again superb.

“I’m confident in our back four,” Dostie said. “We win a lot of balls in the air. (Seniors) Nico (Whitlock), Andrew (Beatty) and Conor (O’Donnell) all win tons of balls. We play great to feet. We have really good chemistry.”

“Dostie, outside left, Kamra, outside right, Nico Whitlock and Andrew Beatty, stepping inside and playing in the middle and doing a terrific job next to Conor, you look at those five guys who rotated back, it’s really encouraging we can ask kids to do a job they’re not accustomed to, but they just do it,” Hagerty said.

Cape Elizabeth got seven saves from Peterson, but fell short.

“I think we did a lot of things we wanted to do, but we had a difficult time on set pieces,” said Capers coach Ben Raymond. “We had some marking issues. It’s not necessarily a skill or effort thing. It’s a lack of experience thing that we’re continuing to try to work out. Scheme-wise, I think we made things difficult for them for awhile. We’re dangerous up top. We just didn’t have enough chances. We were better than we were the last time. The score’s the score. The focus isn’t on that right now. It’s on getting better every day. We have a lot of seasonal soccer players who are working at it. They’re getting more into their rhythm. We get better every day.” 

See you in the playoffs?

Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth could square off again late next month in the postseason, but both squads have several huge tests looming in the interim.

The Capers (12th in the Class B South Heal Points standings at press time) hope to bounce back Thursday when Lake Region pays a visit. Saturday, Cape Elizabeth is at Gray-New Gloucester. Next week, the Capers host Falmouth and go to Greely. After playing at Fryeburg Academy and York, Cape Elizabeth finishes up at home against Kennebunk.

“We’re just focusing on making playoffs,” said Raymond. “It doesn’t matter where your seed is, you just have to get in. We practice on grass and turf. If we’re home, great, if we’re away, great. It’s just getting in and continuing to get better.”

The Clippers’ brutal stretch continues Saturday when they host ancient rival Falmouth (6-1 and third in Class A South)

“We’ll be working hard in practice and in the game,” Dostie said. “It’ll be a battle. They’re a great opponent.”

“(The Yarmouth-Falmouth rivalry) hasn’t lost any luster,” Coolidge said. “It’s our Homecoming Game too. We won’t have any trouble getting up for it.”

“Both teams were so close to coming in undefeated,” Hagerty added. “Falmouth’s good. They’re fast. They counterattack with so much speed. They’re technically talented and they’re physically fast. I think it will be our hardest game of the year to date. We’re looking forward to it.”

After going to York and Kennebunk next week, Yarmouth (which is now second to Maranacook in the standings) hosts Gray-New Gloucester and Greely, then closes at Falmouth.

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

Yarmouth junior Henry Coolidge (center) is congratulated by junior Matt Dostie (11) and senior Patrick Grant after scoring one of his two goals in a 42-second span during the Clippers’ 5-1 win at Cape Elizabeth Tuesday night.

Mike Strout photos.

Yarmouth senior Nate Gallagher heads the ball.

Yarmouth senior Patrick Grant tries to get around Cape Elizabeth sophomore Matt Concannon.

Yarmouth senior Chris Pidden tries to hold Cape Elizabeth senior Owen Thoreck at bay.

Cape Elizabeth junior Wes Parker plays the ball as Yarmouth senior Jon Groothoff gives chase.

Yarmouth senior Nick Kamra and Cape Elizabeth junior Connor Thoreck fight for possession.

Yarmouth junior Henry Coolidge possesses the ball as Cape Elizabeth junior Nicolai Sabatini looks on.

Recent Cape Elizabeth-Yarmouth results


@ Yarmouth 4 Cape Elizabeth 0


@ Yarmouth 5 Cape Elizabeth 3
Yarmouth 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 1 


Yarmouth 1 @ Cape Elizabeth 0 (OT)
@ Yarmouth 3 Cape Elizabeth 3 (tie)
Western B semifinals
@ Yarmouth 5 Cape Elizabeth 0


@ Yarmouth 4 Cape Elizabeth 1
Yarmouth 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 1


Cape Elizabeth 2 @ Yarmouth 1
Yarmouth 1 @ Cape Elizabeth 0


 Cape Elizabeth 1 Yarmouth 1 (tie)
@ Yarmouth 3 Cape Elizabeth 1


@ Yarmouth 2 Cape Elizabeth 1
@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Yarmouth 2 (tie)


@ Yarmouth 0 Cape Elizabeth 0 (tie)
@ Cape Elizabeth 3 Yarmouth 1


@ Yarmouth 1 Cape Elizabeth 1 (tie)
@ Cape Elizabeth 3 Yarmouth 1


@ Yarmouth 2 Cape Elizabeth 0
Yarmouth 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 0


Yarmouth 1 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Yarmouth 0 Cape Elizabeth 0 (tie)


Yarmouth 1 @ Cape Elizabeth 0


Cape Elizabeth 1 @ Yarmouth 0


@ Cape Elizabeth 0 Yarmouth 0 (tie)


@ Yarmouth 1 Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Yarmouth 1

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