Yarmouth girls jump on Cape early, roll to emphatic victory

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Yarmouth senior Sara D’Appolonia (13) is congratulated by classmate Eva Then after scoring one of her three goals in the Clippers’ decisive 7-0 home win over Cape Elizabeth Friday night. 

Joe Carpine / 365digitalphotography.com photos.

More photos below.

YARMOUTH—Yarmouth’s defending Class B state champion girls’ soccer team was supposed to get its biggest test to date Friday evening when it hosted red-hot Cape Elizabeth.

But if the Capers’ success in trying to slow down the Clippers was any indication, you might as well go ahead and crown them again.

Yarmouth senior standout Sara D’Appolonia, who is in the process of rewriting the record books, produced the only goal her team would need in the 10th minute, when she finished a pretty feed from classmate Hannah Corey.

D’Appolonia struck again in the 18th minute, this time taking a pass from freshman Parker Harnett and finishing.

In the 26th minute, D’Appolonia set up a goal, as her corner kick was headed home by sophomore Ehryn Groothoff.

After D’Appolonia set up Corey for a goal with 6:33 to go in the half, D’Appolonia completed her hat trick with a goal just before halftime, which put the Clippers on top, 5-0.

While Yarmouth substituted liberally in the second half, it still scored twice more, as Groothoff struck with just over 30 minutes to go and senior Ellie Purgavie scored as well with 7:26 on the clock and the Clippers went on to a stunningly-easy 7-0 triumph.

Yarmouth enjoyed its biggest win over Cape Elizabeth this century, improved to 8-0 and dropped the Capers to 5-2 in the process.

“Cape is extremely well-coached, they’re a fantastic group of girls and had won five in a row, so I thought it would be extremely close, but the girls stepped up tonight,” said Clippers first-year coach Chris Coleman. “We were clinical and ruthless. Overall, I’m extremely happy.”

Something special brewing

Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth have combined for three of the past four regional and two of the past four Class B state titles and both had enjoyed success so far in 2017.

The Capers stumbled in their opener, 1-0, at Freeport, but handled every foe since, defeating visiting Gray-New Gloucester (4-0), host Fryeburg Academy (7-0), host York (5-1), visiting Fryeburg Academy (7-0) and host Greely (3-2) Tuesday, in a game which they rallied for two goals late.

The Clippers opened with a 2-0 win at Gray-New Gloucester, then blanked host Greely in a regional final rematch, 3-0. After a 12-1 romp at Fryeburg Academy, Yarmouth blanked visiting Freeport (5-0) and York (3-0), handled visiting Greely (6-1) and won at Poland (9-0).

Last year, the Clippers beat the Capers in all three meetings: 5-1 in Cape Elizabeth and 3-0 at home in the regular season, then 3-1 in the Class B South semifinals en route to their first state championship since 2003.

Entering play Friday, Yarmouth held a 14-11 edge (with seven ties) over Cape Elizabeth since the start of the 2001 season (see sidebar, below, for recent results). The Capers were hoping to end the Clippers’ undefeated run, but instead, Yarmouth made it four in a row in the series with shocking ease.

Corey came out and set the tone, ripping a shot just wide, then, after senior Hannah Merrill had a shot saved by Cape Elizabeth sophomore goalkeeper Lilia Membrino, Corey threaded a gorgeous pass through two defenders on to the feet on the speedy D’Appolonia, who wouldn’t be denied, racing in on Membrino and tickling the twine for a 1-0 lead.

“We were really prepared, starting in the shed with our pregame pump-up,” Corey said. “We were mentally prepared and it showed. We’ve been working on connecting through the final third. That’s been our weakness and that’s what we’ve been working on in practice. I’ve worked with (senior) Sophie (Harpool) on getting high and wide (in our formation). We’ve worked on getting the ball through the defenders so (Sara) can run on to it. Sara’s amazing. You feel so confident knowing she’ll get on the ball.”

“Hannah had a ton of space to work with,” D’Appolonia said. “She utilized it and made plays left and right.”

“Hannah Corey is one of the best forward-backs, if not the best forward-back in Maine,” Coleman added. “It’s hard to describe what she brings to this team on and off the field. The girls love her, she’s a tremendous captain and she continues to develop.”

The Capers were staggered and it would only get worse.

After D’Appolonia shot just high and a D’Appolonia feed to Merrill in the box didn’t result in a shot, Harnett, who like D’Appolonia did three years ago, is making quite an impact as a freshman, set up D’Appolonia in the box and D’Appolonia was able to elude Membrino and finish for a 2-0 lead.

Yarmouth wasn’t content with its advantage and continued to pull away.

After Harnett just missed with the left foot, Merrill had a shot saved by Membrino and D’Appolonia and Merrill shot wide, the Clippers earned a corner kick and with 14:16 remaining in the half, D’Appolonia’s serve in front found the head of Groothoff, who sent the ball into the net for a 3-0 lead.

“Ehryn is a firecracker,” D’Appolonia said. “She’s awesome. I can count on her to put her head on the ball in the box. It’s really fun to play with her.”

“Ehryn has come through and has made herself a critical part of the team,” said Coleman. “She’s a tremendous athlete and soccer player. She’s one of the nicest, down-to-Earth girls you’ll meet. Credit to her for pushing herself.”

After Capers junior Riley Dall had a long blast saved by Yarmouth senior goalkeeper Meredith Lane and sophomore Karli Chapin had a great look, but missed wide, the Clippers went back on the attack.

After D’Appolonia had a shot saved and junior Olivia Feeley’s header off a corner was saved by Membrino, D’Appolonia crossed the ball to Corey in the box and after it took a fortuitous bounce (for the hosts) off an official, Corey collected it and fired it home to make it 4-0 with 6:33 to play in the half.

“It feels nice to score,” Corey said. “Coming out of the back, I don’t usually get to.”

D’Appolonia would complete her hat trick and score her 20th goal of the season with 1:55 remaining in the half, taking a pass fro sophomore Adriana Whitlock and after Membrino came out to cut her off, she dribbled around the keeper and finished with her left foot for a commanding 5-0 advantage.

“I stared (the goalie) down to see what she’d do, then I just had to find the target,” D’Appolonia said.

“Sara is phenomenal,” Coleman said. “It’s a credit to her and her previous coaches and her drive to continue to develop. I’ve talked to her about scoring goals and not how they look. She had three goals and extremely controlled finishes.”

D’Appolonia and Corey didn’t play much in the second half, but the Clippers weren’t done scoring.

With 30:46 to play, Groothoff got her second goal, from Purgavie off a nice combination in the box.

After Cape Elizabeth junior Tory McGrath shot wide and sophomore Darcy Cochran was denied on a corner kick, Yarmouth struck again with 7:26 on the clock, as in transition, sophomore Hannah Dwyer set up Purgavie for the final nail.

The Clippers’ defense slammed the door from there and went on to a 7-0 victory.

“The younger players have stepped up a lot, which is very impressive,” said Corey. “We lost some starters and I’m impressed that we’ve picked up where we left off.”

“Soccer is a funny sport,” said D’Appolonia. “You have to go into every game and play your way. We came into this game thinking it would be tough. We matched up well, but we had the better game. We’ve really jelled. When we practice like we should play it transfers to the game and you saw that tonight. Girls are stepping up and we’re looking good out there.” 

Yarmouth finished with an 11-3 advantage in shots on goal and a 6-2 edge in corner kicks. Lane made three saves.

Cape Elizabeth, which got four saves from Membrino, could only tip its cap.

“It was a tough one today,” Cape Elizabeth coach Craig Fannan said. “We had a nice comeback win at Greely, but we have to take our hats off to Yarmouth tonight. We made some uncharacteristic errors. They didn’t let up. We thought they wouldn’t be as strong this year, but they’ve reloaded and they had young kids who are good. They learned a lot from last year and it’s built chemistry. They’ll be a tough team to beat. Hopefully we can work on our mistakes and make it harder to beat us. We look forward to next year when Sara graduates.”

Nothing is settled

The teams meet again Oct. 14 in Cape Elizabeth.

First, both teams have work to do.

The Capers go to Gray-New Gloucester Tuesday, then have home games with York and Greely. 

“This wasn’t a Cape Elizabeth performance,” Fannan said. “Hopefully it was a one-off and we can give them more of a game next time.”

The Clippers will be tested at York on the Wildcats’ small field Tuesday, then have to go to upset-minded Freeport Friday of next week.  

“We have to keep playing our game,” Corey said. “You can’t think about the opposition too much. We just want to play Yarmouth soccer. It’s so fun. It gets better every game. It’s my last year. It’s awesome that everybody is stepping up and it’s been an awesome season.”

“We have to keep working on connecting the thirds and communication,” said D’Appolonia. “I think if we do that, I don’t think anyone can stop us. Tuesday will definitely be a test. That field always gives us complications.”

“We take each game as it comes,” Coleman added. “The girls want to keep winning. As it gets closer to playoffs, we’ll look at what we need to work on more. The other teams will all show for playoffs. There’s always stuff to improve on. There’s no perfect team. We won’t be complacent. Teams will try to figure us out. They’ll change shape, personnel, playing rotation. We won’t lose focus on the task at hand and right now, that’s York Tuesday. It’s a difficult place to go.”

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

Yarmouth senior captain Hannah Corey, who had a terrific game, defends Cape Elizabeth senior Sarah Knupp.

Yarmouth senior Sara D’Appolonia steers the ball into the net for her third goal of the game as Cape Elizabeth senior Catherine Morrissey looks on helplessly.

Yarmouth senior Eva Then heads the ball away from Cape Elizabeth junior Riley Dall.

Cape Elizabeth sophomore goalkeeper Lilia Membrino boots the ball.

Recent Cape Elizabeth-Yarmouth results

Yarmouth 5 @ Cape Elizabeth 1
@ Yarmouth 3 Cape Elizabeth 0
Class B South semifinal
@ Yarmouth 3 Cape Elizabeth 1

Cape Elizabeth 3 @ Yarmouth 0 
@ Cape Elizabeth 2 Yarmouth 1

@ Yarmouth 2 Cape Elizabeth 1
@ Cape Elizabeth 1 Yarmouth 0
Western B semifinals
Cape Elizabeth 1 @ Yarmouth 0 

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

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

@ Cape Elizabeth 4 Yarmouth 0

Yarmouth 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 1
@ Yarmouth 3 Cape Elizabeth 0

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

Yarmouth 3 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Yarmouth 1 Cape Elizabeth 0

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

@ Yarmouth 2 Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Cape Elizabeth 0 Yarmouth 0 (tie)

Yarmouth 2 @ Cape Elizabeth 0
@ Yarmouth 1 Cape Elizabeth 1 (tie)

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

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

Cape Elizabeth 1 @ Yarmouth 0

Cape Elizabeth 1 @ Yarmouth 0
@ Cape Elizabeth 4 Yarmouth 1

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