CAPE ELIZABETH—The Yarmouth girls’ lacrosse team showed up at Hannaford Field in Thursday night looking to prove that it belongs among the elite and did just that, stunning the powerhouse Cape Elizabeth Capers with a thrilling 8-7 win that came right down to the wire.
Senior co-captain Olivia Conrad lead the Clippers (3-3) with two goals and two assists.
“We had nice wins against Scarborough and (NYA), but we really needed this win to keep our confidence up going in to the rest of the season,” Conrad said.
Cape Elizabeth (4-2) struck first in a hard fought contest that saw several lead changes. Junior Abby McInerney opened up the scoring for the Capers just one minute in on a nice assist from fellow junior Liz Robinson.
Less than a minute later, senior co-captain Lauren Steidl put Cape up 2-0 with an unassisted goal, her first of four in the contest.
She gave the Clippers full credit for the win.
“They wanted it,” Steidl said. “That’s what it comes down to. We’re going to see this team again and teams that can play at this level. We have that fire in us. We need to have more fire than them the next time we see them. We have another big game tomorrow (hosting three-time defending Class A state champion Scarborough) and we need to use this loss to add fuel to that fire and come out strong.”
Yarmouth responded with two straight goals to tie it less than a minute-and-a-half in, with Conrad scoring on an assist from senior Julia Kameisha, then assisting on another goal by senior co-captain Ali Merrill just 30 seconds later.
Steidl answered for Cape Elizabeth with an unassisted goal, but Yarmouth bounced back with two consecutive goals. Junior Grace O’Donnell scored on an assist from Merrill two minutes after Steidl’s goal, then sophomore Emma Torres scored unassisted.
Once again, however, Steidl responded for the Capers with an unassisted goal 30 seconds later and senior co-captain Talley Perkins added another unassisted goal to put the Capers up, 5-4, with 4:33 remaining in the half.
Yarmouth countered exactly one minute later with an unassisted goal from O’Donnell, who struck again seconds later for her third goal of the game on a nice pass from Conrad. Merrill then assisted Conrad for her second goal of the game with less than a minute to go in the half, giving the Clippers a 7-5 lead.
Not surprisingly, it was Steidl opening things up for Cape in the second half, scoring unassisted just 50 seconds in. The defenses then took over the next 10 minutes, until McInerney scored on an assist from Robinson with 10:46 to go to tie it, 7-7.
Both teams continued with aggressive defense until Cape Elizabeth goalie Kate Bosworth incurred a penalty with six minutes remaining, setting up an empty net situation for Merrill, who nailed what would prove to be the game winning goal.
Cape Elizabeth coach Jeff Perkins gave Yarmouth all the credit on the defensive end.
“They played great defense,” Perkins said. “That’s the key to the game, in any game, is how well you play defense. They slid well, the helped well. They did it picture perfect. They did it exactly how you’re supposed to do it.”
Yarmouth coach Dorothy Holt, no stranger to big wins, raved about her team’s performance.
“This team has a lot of heart,” Holt said. “We practiced hard all week. These girls have been working really hard. They’re pushing each other. We knew this was going to be a big game coming in. We were definitely nervous. (Cape) has so much talent., but what we have is 12 players on the field and eight on the bench and a team that will not give up. It takes a village to beat Cape and it took every person on this team to win, from every player to every coach.”
The Capers don’t just host Scarborough Friday, they play at nemesis Waynflete Monday.
The Clippers (now 4-3) play host to Gorham Saturday.
The teams meet again in the regular season finale May 30, in Yarmouth.
A third meeting could possibly occur in the Class B state final June 15.