The Cape Elizabeth girls’ soccer team didn’t simply open the season with a 5-0 victory at Freeport on Saturday. They started Year 3 of a three-year plan to re-establish the Cape program as one of the best in the state.
In 2011, Luke Krawczyk led the Capers (12-2-2) to the Western Class A semifinals, where they fell to Scarborough 2-1 in double overtime. Last year, the Capers (15-2-1) reached the regional final, where they lost 1-0 to eventual state champion Scarborough.
Progress might have been derailed this summer when Krawczyk left for a job coaching premier soccer in South Carolina. But Cape hired Craig Fannan, Krawczyk’s friend and colleague on the premier scene. About the only thing that’s changed is Cape’s move from Class A to Class B.
“We’re just trying to continue with the plan,” Fannan said. “We want to become hard to beat, come out strong but have bodies behind the ball. We want to pass it, possess it, find our forwards’ feet, then it’s a go to the goal. We hope to get better as the season progresses.”
The Capers are buying in.
“Craig’s adding to what Luke started,” said senior back Phoebe Shields. “There’s definitely pressure, expectations to get the program back to the (championship) level of the 1990s for this year and the years to come.”
Saturday was a good first step.
“We had some chances we didn’t finish,” junior forward Kathryn Clark said. “But 5-0 with five girls scoring in the opener, I’m content. This is a good start.”
The Capers host York on Tuesday.
FREEPORT, MEANWHILE has expectations of its own after a run last season into the Western Class B playoffs, where the Falcons led their quarterfinal against Morse 2-0 at halftime before falling 3-2.
Coach Elayna Girardin said the Falcons are feeling the loss of center midfielder Jocelyn Davee, who graduated.
“That’s caused us to shift some players around, and we’re still looking (for an anchor),” she said. “This was a tough game to start that (process) with.”
The Falcons play the second of three straight home games on Tuesday when Sacopee Valley comes to town. They host Wells on Friday.
SANFORD’S OFFENSE no longer has the explosive Alex Shain to take handoffs. But the Spartans are managing, to the tune of 200 rushing yards in their 21-6 win over Scarborough on Friday night.
“Our kids have a little chip on their shoulder,” Coach Mike Fallon said. “People think because Alex is not here, we can’t perform. The kids have something to prove.”
Josh Schroder was the designated workhorse (29 carries for 123 yards) against Scarborough, but Colby Perigo and Edward Michetti contributed some nice runs.
“The strategy all week was just to pound the football,” Schroder said. “Our O-line is our main weapon.”
That offensive line consists of center Dan Anatra, guards Chase Smith-Roberts and Ryan Tapscott, tackles Jed Scott and Dakota Chapman, and tight ends Nick Veino and Nick Love.
SCARBOROUGH’S FIRST play against Sanford was an attempted deep pass from Ben Greenberg to Chris Cyr. The pass was on target but tipped away by the Spartans.
“We were very concerned about their skill kids,” Fallon said.
But that first play was indicative of the Red Storm’s night. There was always something holding Scarborough back, whether it be a strong defensive play, dropped pass, fumbled snap, misplaced pass or penalty.
“Our offense was very inconsistent,” Scarborough Coach Lance Johnson said.
The Red Storm have a few days to work out the kinks before hosting Bangor on Friday.
OLD ORCHARD BEACH scored the final 34 points in its season-opening 34-13 win against Traip.
The Rangers obviously focused on stopping elusive back Joe Gildard and did a good job of it on his first nine rushing attempts (21 yards) until he broke off a 33-yard score early in the fourth quarter.
OOB has options, though. Quarterback Bryan Roberts gained 43 yards rushing and also threw scoring passes to Joe Gildard and Tyler Scott. Hunter Boutot gashed Traip up the middle for 62 yards on 13 carries. Scott was able to consistently get behind the Traip defense.
“I think that’s going to make us kind of a difficult scout,” Coach Dean Plante said. “You’re going to have to cover sideline to sideline. If you don’t, we’ll find it.”
Defensively, OOB looked porous at the start of the game as Traip’s Matt Graham rushed for 99 yards and two long scores on four carries. After that, the Seagulls settled down, got penetration at the line, and players such as Boutot, Roberts and Connor Leask pursued well to the ball, holding Traip to 77 yards on its final 41 plays.
TRAIP’S 20-MAN roster includes eight freshmen. Six started.
Coach Ron Ross and his assistants were consciously emphasizing the positives during and after the game.
“When you’re starting six freshmen you can’t get on them. You’ve got to let them learn,” Ross said. “That’s what we’re doing, we’re letting them learn. I thought they played well tonight.”
MASSABESIC was sky high entering Saturday night’s game at reigning Western Class A champion Scarborough. In the preseason, several Class A coaches tabbed the Mustangs as the favorites in the SMAA.
The emotions took a decided turn when senior midfielder Alex Staples, a starter since her freshman season, fell on the Scarborough turf, suffering what Coach Michelle Martin-Moore termed “a mild concussion.”
Staples, an all-state player as a junior, is arguably Massabesic’s best player. She’s definitely the most important based on her position as the conduit between offense and defense.
“We had not played Scarborough the past two years. They weren’t on our schedule. We were all ready to go and then when Alex went down, it was like, ‘there’s our game plan,'” Martin-Moore said.
Senior midfielder Bailey Ohman also didn’t play in the second half because of a recurring back injury.
Scarborough went on to win easily, 5-1, scoring four times in the final 14:22 of the first half to take a 4-1 lead.
Scarborough led 2-0 when Massabesic got on the board. Then for the second straight game, the Red Storm responded to an opponent’s goal with two of their own in quick fashion.
“It’s one loss and that’s what I told the girls. One loss this early doesn’t determine our season. How we react could affect our season,” Martin-Moore said. “In the second half to hold them to 1-0 without two of my best players, I’ll take that.”
— Correspondent Greg Reid and Staff Writers Kevin Thomas and Steve Craig contributed to this report.