CUMBERLAND – Defense was the difference as Cape Elizabeth snapped Greely’s season-opening five-game win streak with an 8-4 victory Tuesday in a game between two of the top boys’ lacrosse teams in Western Class B.
“(Cape’s) got great perimeter pressure and getting our guys adjusting to that pressure was difficult,” Greely Coach Michael Storey said. “I don’t think we matched up against a team yet where the pressure is like that around their perimeter defense, and the guys need to get used to that.”
The teams combined for 78 turnovers, so the Rangers weren’t the only ones with difficulty hanging onto the ball.
“We threw the ball away a lot and they did as well,” Cape Elizabeth Coach Ben Raymond said. “Our kids don’t play as well on the grass any more like we used to. I don’t think that’s an excuse for anything but we just struggled today with some of the fundamental things.”
It was the first game the Capers (5-1) have played on natural turf this season.
“We didn’t clear very well,” Raymond said. “We rode (defensively) pretty well but we didn’t have an awfully lot of possessions until the fourth quarter. We were lucky to get out of here with a win.”
Cape led 4-1 at halftime, limiting Greely to five shots.
“We made a lot of mistakes,” Storey said. “We kind of had a hard time possessing the ball, taking care of the ball, but this was a great learning game for us. Whenever you play such great competition, it’s good for the guys to see that level (of play). That’s what we strive for. That’s what we work for all the time.”
Cam Wilson led Cape with three goals. Max Barber followed with two goals. Tom Feenstra, Griffin Thoreck and Dylan Sullivan each added a goal.
Brendan Trelegan led the Rangers (5-1) with two goals. Fred Bower and Mitchell Mullin each scored a goal.
Gabe McGinn of Cape Elizabeth and Griffin Doree of Greely each made seven saves.
The Capers opened a four-goal lead three minutes into the third quarter when Feenstra bounced a rebound into the left side.
Twice in the second half, Greely, which scored one-goal victories against Waynflete, Massabesic and Wells during their season-opening win streak, managed to close within three goals, but it could get no closer.
“Until we settled into the game, I think a huge part for us was our nerves,” Storey said. “Over half the game, you know, (the players’) nerves were running high. They were having a difficult time settling in.”
The Capers played without Alex Bornick, who totaled 10 goals to help them pull out wins against Falmouth and Yarmouth last week. He was out with a hand injury. “He’s another dodger who takes another long pole (to defend), and he frees up some other players to do things,” Raymond said.
Still, Raymond liked the game’s competitive nature.
“It’s always good to play competitive games,” he said. “We like close games. We like it when we’re in the game and we like it when the other team is in the game. It keeps everybody engaged, puts the pressure on.”
Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at email@example.com