CAPE ELIZABETH – In the Perkins family, what happens on the lacrosse field stays on it.

Cape Elizabeth girls’ lacrosse coach Jeff Perkins and his daughter, Talley, adopted that rule two years ago when she joined the varsity.

“When Talley reached high school as a freshman, we sat down and really had a long conversation,” said Perkins, who was in his third season as the team’s assistant coach. “I asked her if she still wanted me to coach.”

Perkins, who has guided the unbeaten, top-seeded Capers into today’s Western Class B semifinal against No. 4 Greely in his first season as head coach, was afraid some people might have problems with him coaching his daughter.

“I told her she was going to be a coach’s daughter and some people would wonder if she was getting her position and her playing time because she was the coach’s daughter,” he said. “I said it’s going to be hard, not like being a normal kid, when your father is coaching you.”

But Talley Perkins has no problems. “He coached me in youth soccer and lacrosse, so it wasn’t something new, but we set some rules,” she said.

The number one rule?

“Everything on the field doesn’t come home,” Talley said. “If we didn’t set some rules, then it would be lacrosse all the time and we’d be bickering with each other at home. It wouldn’t help everyone else at home.”

The approach seems to work.

“We’ve had little flare-ups,” Talley said. “(But) we don’t even have to talk about setting the guidelines any more. We know what they are.”

The father-and-daughter juggling act hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“Talley and he do a good job of balancing, working with the coach-player dynamic in practice and then going home like a father and daughter,” said Sasha Lennon, a midfielder who will enroll at Bates College in Lewiston in the fall. “So far there haven’t been any issues with it.”

Lennon said it’s a good lesson in family dynamics.

“I think they’ve set a really good example of working together without getting frustrated or anything with each other,” she said. “I think the girls (on the team) have developed a lot of respect for the way he coaches and is able to separate his being a dad from being a coach.”

Sometimes that isn’t easy.

“My biggest challenge is when I’m coaching the team there are times I find myself watching her as her dad,” he said. “I have to kind of shake myself loose and remember I have to coach the whole team, not just my daughter. Luckily that hasn’t happened too many times.”

But the gag rule doesn’t mean Perkins doesn’t ever get a chance to play throw and catch with his daughter.

“Now and again, we do,” said Talley, who has verbally committed to Boston University for lacrosse. “If I get a new stick, he’ll help me break it in. Sometimes in the offseason or before the season, we go out to the backyard and shoot around and he’ll show me something I can try and work on. It’s really nice.”

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

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