CAPE ELIZABETH — Taylor Herrera scored off a penalty corner with 5:11 remaining to give third-seeded Cape Elizabeth a 1-0 victory against sixth-ranked Kennebunk in a Western Class B field hockey quarterfinal Wednesday night.
The Capers (11-4) will meet second-seeded Spruce Mountain in the semifinals Saturday at Livermore Falls. Spruce Mountain beat seventh-ranked Fryeburg Academy in another quarterfinal.
After a scoreless first half in which both teams had chances, Cape Elizabeth picked up the pace in the second half, keeping the pressure on Kennebunk (8-5-2).
Going in it figured to be another close game between the Western Maine Conference opponents. They each beat the other 1-0 in the regular season.
Herrera tipped in a drive from Samantha Altznauer.
“Each player has a specific play off a penalty corner,” said Altznauer. “Coach called my play. I drove it in and Taylor was in the right place at the right time.”
Herrera positioned herself on the left post. “The ball came my way and I managed to get a stick on it,” she said. “When I’m postioned at the left post, I’m responsible for the area in front.
“We definitely dominated the second half. We kept the ball more on the offensive end than the defensive end.”
Altznauer’s drive deflected off Herrera’s stick into the upper right corner of the cage.
Cape Coach Darci Holland said her team has struggled to score all season and is working to be more consistent on penalty corners.
“The girls find a way,” she said.
Cape increased its chances of scoring by getting the number of penalty corners it did. The Capers had an 8-2 edge in penalty corners.
“That’s the plan,” said Holland.
Minutes before Cape scored, Altznauer had another drive that reached the goal mouth but was turned away.
Prior to the goal, Cape’s best chance came on a shot by Hannah Newhall that hit the left post.
A year ago the Capers lost in the quarterfinals to Fryeburg Academy.
“The fact that we get to continue to play feels awesome,” said Altznauer. “We’re so excited to be in the semifinals.”
Kennebunk Coach Kayla Billings said it was an adjustment for her team on Cape’s turf field.
“The ball moves faster on turf and a few times we didn’t have our sticks down when we should have and that helped Cape draw penalty corners,” she said.
“We’re a grass team and we had one practice on a turf field. Cape has some great individual skills. No one works harder than my players and there’s nothing more I could have asked from my team.”
Now Cape will travel Saturday to Spruce Mountain.
Holland told her team she grew up in that area and has some contacts, which could help Cape prepare for the game.
“I went to Dirigo and I have family in the Jay-Livermore Falls area,” she said.
“I have a good friend who coaches at Hall-Dale and they played Spruce Mountain during the season.”
Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: