CAPE ELIZABETH – The Capers want to make sure they are playing at home when the Western Class B field hockey playoffs begin.
And Cape Elizabeth High took a step toward that goal Tuesday night, beating Kennebunk — a potential challenger for a top-four spot — 1-0 on the artificial surface at Hannaford Field.
“We were thinking about home-field advantage. We really want to get that because we’re a turf team,” Cape midfielder Abby McInerney said. “We’re hoping just to get as many points as possible just to secure that advantage.”
Cape entered the game ranked third in the Heal point standings and improved to 8-2. A key game at Falmouth looms on Thursday. Kennebunk (5-4-1) was ranked No. 6 in Class B.
Earlier this season, Kennebunk beat Cape on its natural grass field, also by a 1-0 score.
McInerney helped create the game’s only goal when she took a penalty corner insert from Hailey Petsinger and then deftly played the ball between her legs to Samantha Altznauer, who was standing behind her.
Altznauer’s drive went off the left post, Taylor Herrera got to the rebound and her shot went past goalie Liv Kudas with 14:31 left in the first half.
Herrera also scored the winners in a pair of one-goal wins last week.
“She’s got a good little stick. She knows where to be at the right time. Yeah, it was a great little tip,” Cape Coach Darci Holland said.
In the second half, Kennebunk controlled most of the first 20 minutes by keeping the ball hugging the right sideline.
Meg Cadigan was the primary person moving the ball gradually through the midfield, working it off Cape’s sticks or pushing it past them for quicker advances.
“That’s our strong side of the field so it’s easier to take it up their weak side,” Cadigan said. “That’s what we try to do, take it up the right side and cross it into the circle.”
The Rams were effective with the first half of the plan but only turned it into two shots on goal, both stopped by Mary DiPietro (3 saves).
“It’s kind of been the most successful way for us to get the ball in the cage the last couple games,” Kennebunk Coach Kayla Billings said.
“It was just getting the shots off on goal and that’s what we were having a difficult time doing through their defense.”
For the Rams, another benefit of keeping the ball along the sideline was that it took McInerney out of the play for a good chunk of the second half.
McInerney possesses above-average stick skills combined with the knowledge of the game to turn a foul call or a small defensive breakdown into a big advantage.
Cadigan and teammates like Tiffany Weeks, Jackie Murphy and Tricia Doody did a good job of containing the Cape offensive thrusts.
“They did an amazing job of controlling the ball and keeping it out of (Cape’s) sticks,” Billings said. “The only difference from the last time we saw them was they scored a goal and last time we scored a goal.”
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at: