CAPE ELIZABETH – Midfielder Caitlin Bucksbaum provided all the offense in the first half and goalie Caroline Lucas anchored the defense in the second half to propel Falmouth to a 2-1 win over Cape Elizabeth in a girls’ soccer season opener Friday afternoon.

Bucksbaum, Maine’s Gatorade Player of the Year last fall when the Yachtsmen captured the Class B state championship for the seventh time in 10 seasons, scored two goals in the first half.

Falmouth held on in the second half, as Lucas came off her goal line to stop breakaways three times.

It was a great matchup for both teams to start the season.

“It showed us our weaknesses,” Falmouth Coach Wally LeBlanc said. “It showed us there’s room for improvement, and we got a win against a quality team.”

Cape Elizabeth Coach Luke Krawczyk wasn’t happy with the outcome, but he did like the possession game the Capers employed.

“We possessed the ball 60-40, at least,” he said. “We kept the ball very well; it was just transitioning the ball into the final third (of the field).”

Both teams had trouble generating scoring chances in the first 25 minutes.

That changed moments after Cape Elizabeth goalie Mary Perkins came off her line to thwart a breakaway by Falmouth freshman forward Tyler Spence.

Bucksbaum opened the scoring in the 27th minute by lifting the ball inside the left post over Perkins’ head from 10 yards out.

Bucksbaum made it 2-0 with less than five minutes left in the half when she volleyed in a right-footed shot from 15 yards. Spence, who had drawn a crowd of defenders along the right end line, set up the goal by chipping a centering pass to Bucksbaum, who was left uncovered in front.

Lucas didn’t have to make a save during the first 40 minutes, but she had a much busier second half as the Capers, who advanced to the Western Class A semifinals last season, continually broke through in the middle of the field.

“I knew (Cape) was going to put pressure on us, and I’m really pleased with our girls adjusting, trying to solve the problem on the field,” LeBlanc said. “We had some nice team defense, but without Caroline the score is not the same.”

Less than 12 minutes into the second half, Tally Perkins made it 2-1 when she sent the ball into the left side of the goal from 10 yards.

About 12 minutes later, Lucas got some help when Angie Mallis headed the ball away from the goal line after Elize Flathers drove a corner kick from the left side over the goalie’s head toward the far post.

The Yachtsmen, who held a 17-7 edge in shots, focused on controlling the ball in the final 15 minutes.

“We were going real hard in the second half trying to get that third goal, then we realized we needed to play back.” Bucksbaum said. “Cape is a great team, and it was good for them to be our first game. It showed us what we need to change and improve on.”

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

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